Getting In The Spirit

I bought a Christmas tree today.

I didn’t have one last year, and the holidays are usually depressing and far too filled with expectation and anxiety for me to enjoy them.  I’d rather keep to myself this time of year.  I don’t like holiday gatherings or Christmas parties much, and I suppose I dissociate for the month of December, and often into January.  Trying to keep away from alcohol is harder this time of year too.  Most of my friends drink, and none of them abuse it, so they don’t really know what it’s like for me.  I’m at that place with drinking alcohol that I can either control it or enjoy it, but I can’t do both.

I am not as anxious this year as I have been previously, but I’ve been careful to not make many plans so I don’t have to pretend to enjoy myself or others.  My family gets together for a holiday dinner and then we exchange gifts, and that’s pretty much all I can handle.  Well, that, and having my son with me for his winter break.  Christmas isn’t as fun as it used to be when he was little, but I really like having a pretty tree all lit up, and getting cozy on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and watching, It’s A Wonderful Life, or A Christmas Carol, on Christmas Eve, and of course, how could I let Christmas go by without watching, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and, A Charlie Brown Christmas?

When I was in college, one of the girls in my dorm phoned her father the night, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, was playing, and he stayed on the phone for the whole show.  She told us that she had gone on vacation over Christmas during High School one year, and her father had phoned her so they could still watch the show together.  That made such a big impression on me, and made me wish I had a father like that, and probably made all the girls in our dorm who were there with us that night wish that too.

Even though there are aspects of the season that I can enjoy, I’m happiest when it’s all over.  My true celebration is the Winter Solstice; there is no one who appreciates the return of the light more than I do.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

May The Fourth Be With You

I’m sure that will be the title of quite a few blog entries today, but I couldn’t resist!

My son would get upset with me when he would eat with his hands when he was little and I’d say “use the fork, Luke!”  He’d yell at me that his name wasn’t Luke!  Now he just rolls his eyes if I ever say it.  I love Star Wars.  I vacillated between wanting to be Princess Leia, and wanting to marry Luke Skywalker.  Then I wanted to reincarnate as Princess Leia and marry Han Solo.  I wasn’t really up on the whole reincarnation concept.

I don’t believe in reincarnation – and even if it’s real regardless of my belief, I don’t ever want to come back here anyway.  A sincere fantasy of mine is wondering what it would have been like to grow up in a good-enough family.  Maybe I would have turned out exactly the same with all the same issues, but I doubt it.  I would have been braver, and I would have had tangible support.  My parents would have brought me to music lessons, or helped me learn how to pursue my dreams.  I do my best now – and I also have a large network of people who care – some I’ve never even met, and that’s what matters, but it would be nice if it wasn’t so taxing.  I am proud that I was a mostly good parent for my son, and presented him with many opportunities and supported his choices when he took the initiative to try new things.  I think that being present with him was my best gift to him, and regardless of my mistakes, he knows I did the best I could.

When my son was a sophomore in high school, starting the college process, he was being courted by dozens of colleges.  I cried when all the college applications and information starting pouring into our mailbox because it was so outside of my experience.  Those colleges wanted him, or at least wanted him to apply.  I applied at the only college I imagined would take me – our local community college – and then only because of my friend’s prodding.  Once there, it was one of my professors who suggested I apply to Smith College to finish my degree.  I looked at him and told him I wasn’t smart enough to go to a school like that.  He smiled, put his hand on my shoulder, and said: “Just apply”.

I was accepted that summer, on a full scholarship, and I was terrified.  I moved on campus and began what has become one of the most important experiences of my life.  I didn’t get a terrific job when I graduated, because I was still me, with all my untreated trauma issues, and there was a glut of English majors on the market then.  I was told by one potential employer to ‘go back and get a science or math degree’.  That’s what was really needed at that time.  I sent out a hundred applications and got two job interviews, neither of which hired me.

I finally found work as an office assistant, and was dreadfully unhappy.  Then I found work at a daycare, but only lasted there eight months.  I liked kids, but it was an overwhelming job, and was too close to home with some of the abused kids we worked with.  Then I was told of a band audition coming up and I went.  I was hired as a singer, and sang with them for a year, meeting my son’s father, the keyboardist.  We had a whirlwind romance and I was pregnant in two months.  He wanted me to not have the baby, but I felt differently, so I told him I’d leave and never bother him again, but I wasn’t giving up the baby.  A few days later he told me he thought about it and he wanted to stay with me, so he was resigned to my having the baby.  We tried to make our relationship work, but I think it was doomed from that day.

Our son is now in college, a bright young man who is very much his own person.  I wish he had a relationship with his father now that he’s older, and I talk about his dad with him on occasion.  Our son feels that it was his father’s job to keep in touch with him no matter what.  Maybe I should tell him it could be worse; his father could have turned out to be Darth Vader.  Of course, Darth Vader did redeem himself at the end.  I know life doesn’t often end on a positive note – it usually just ends.  I hope my son reconciles with his father because even if they don’t go on to enjoy a close relationship, he won’t be left with the regret of a wasted chance.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.