Monday, December 27, 2010

Dear a-Men:

I read your latest letter to Penelope with, per usual, an absolute sense of likewiseness. Of the sense that tradition clearly stems from the past, is carried into the present and seems rather moot in the face of a faceless future. How (and who - which I must point out is an anagram of "how" -) will it be toted forward if there are no small hands to reach for it? And not even one hand to reach for yours to make new tradition?

Christmas Eve started well enough with coffee with an old friend. But then, it was on to some rather joyless cooking. The chopping and stirring and measuring all seemed rather like a chore than a shared experience. Though we tried to laugh and infuse the egg peeling and pretzel smashing and vegetable boiling with yuletide brightness, it simply felt tired and dim.

We watched the Christmas Eve service on the internet rather than going because I just couldn't muster the energy to push everyone to go. And then we watched Prep & Landing, and it was lovely, but the theme of dissatisfaction and finding fulfillment just made me cry.

And then my brother called and wanted us to come down to his house before Santa's arrival on Christmas morning. But his in-laws were there, and the house doesn't really offer the room for four more adults to be added to the festivities and plus we don't open presents on Christmas day anymore because the in-laws are there and so we postpone until the New Year's weekend. This all led to serious Nana-guilt for my mother and envy-guilt for my sister and me who were having a hard enough time with this holiday season.

The call was a reminder of all the tradition lost and the way our Christmas has become this slippery ephemeral thing to be moved around on the calendar to accommodate everyone's schedule. It all leads to a half-hearted Christmas on both ends of the week - a Christmess if you will. And not only that but there was the reminder of children, of in-laws, of new celebrations and bright eyes and innocence and the kind of love that creates all those things that's decidedly missing from my life right now.

Even though it was snowing - my first white Christmas! - and the Christmas music played in the kitchen and there was a blue velvet birthday cake for Baby Jesus (because Dillon's favorite color is blue) and Reese woke up from her nap demanding "Ash'ey" and curled up in my lap all warm and cherubic for some TV time, there was still on the inside a void. A cold hollow that echoed with all the doubts about whether it will ever be different. Whether I will ever have my own warm cherub and strange desserts by request.

We ended the night by watching two horrible made-for-TV movies that somehow took the edge of bitterness off the day. If even the Hallmark movie could fail in holiday perfection, perhaps I should cut myself some slack.

Ah, M. Let us continue the advent celebration with the same sense of hope that Immanuel delivered to us. God is with us. And for now, that will have to be enough.


2 cat calls:

pen said...

"Christmess" is utterly brilliant in spite of it all. and now I must draft my own letter. stay tuned.

mendacious said...

i love.
and thank you.

(i so need to add babyjesus bday cake to my traditions)