HO HO HO…I guess…

Ho Ho Ho

Thanksgiving weekend is over…
And on to Christmas…Ho Ho Ho…

And I am wondering…what are the Holidays really for? What do they mean? A time of wonder and delight? Or a time of tripping over each other, pushing to get that last Black Friday deal? A time of writing profound notes in the cards to folks you cherish far away or a time of quickly sticking a photo in an envelope to someone you got a card from that hadn’t been on your list…

A time to wrap the exact perfect gift for that exact perfect person you have found to spend Christmas day with? Or a time to compare Christmases past and worry how he spent them before you and what gifts he bought for others? A time to delight in the joy you got from hand painting your cards? Or to be sad that you don’t have the mantle that you used to decorate with fresh greens and berries? A time when you still believed in magic and family and tradition and when you didn’t get blocked by images of the photos you saw of the mountains of gifts “He” had under the tree that his children decorated when “He” had a different Mrs. Claus? Or a time when you stress out over finding gifts for stepchildren who might possibly wish you weren’t even in the holiday photo card, let alone buying them gifts.

A time to go over the river and through the woods or to struggle to find an airline ticket that you may finally pay off two years from next Friday because fares are so jacked up at this time of year. In fact so pricy that you have to bail on getting a ticket for your son because it costs as much as one months rent…actually more…

For me…it is a time of giving yes. But also a time of an ache so utter and so deep and so visceral that I cant imagine it ever going away. A time of “If only” and “what if” and “What else” and “How come” and “Where did it all go?” “Where did they all go?” Where are my mom and my dad and Grandma Kay and Pop, Aunt Pat and Cousins and company and magic? A time of knowing there is no Santa but knowing there absolutely is. Of hoping beyond hope that He will come and of wishing you had appreciated all the times he came before dressed up as other people who aren’t even on your list this year because they have played out their role in your Christmas story past.

The stockings may be hung, again, but the feelings behind them are conflicted…Hope that they will be filled, but sadness that they were hung on other fireplaces and everyone is grown and tired….especially me.

I am babbling, rambling, but that’s where my thoughts are at, where my heart is on this Christmas that mom will spend in heaven. I feel sad and lonely. I want her to ask me where my list is. I want to pretend not to be spoiled and acknowledge that dad was getting socks and underwear wrapped up as a present because it was all they could afford after taking care of us kids. I want the magic of this Christmas to fill my heart and overcome the heaviness living in there over missing Christmases past.

I want the family Christmas and don’t want to wonder what his Christmases were like before. I don’t want to feel sad that my son has to be torn between his mom’s house and his dad’s …although I am so very proud that he works to figure it out in a loving and graceful way…to accommodate step parents and all that entails…

I don’t know how to describe the sadness that comes over me when I think of sitting around the table at mom and dads before they went to Christmas in heaven and feeling stuffed not only with dessert but with the fullness of family. Family that I took for granted and complained about having to sit in traffic to get to on the drive from Connecticut. But family that I would kill to be able to spend the holiday with today. All of us, together, under one roof, at one table, with wrapping paper getting thrown into the fireplace in shifts- never all at once because there was so much of it –

I don’t want the feeling (totally irrational that it is) that I am the family after the other families’ Christmas that is weighing heavy on my heart. I want tradition but it hurts too much to pull it together here, because of all the other tradition that came before for me…and for him that I imagine… And I really miss my mom. Maybe that’s really what all of this is about. I miss her because She WAS Santa. I miss the way she had us all believing that this holiday actually was magic…

OK Mom, I guess I better turn off the computer and go make a list and get into some kind of spirit, because as I am typing I know that you, my Santa, Our Santa, would tell me to and that even if noone else ever sees that list, you somehow will.

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