It’s the most exhausting time of the year. Daylight is brief; daytime is crowded; people are hurried and harried and hard. It’s not supposed to be like this, but it is. Children who are otherwise fonts of light become stuff-oriented demons, and runny noses abound. I grant you that I’m a little jaded, having been soaked in vomit (not my own) not once but twice today, but still, it’s a rough time for all of us. Quite aside from the national trauma of Newtown, I have friends who are living their first holidays without a mother, a husband, an aunt. And while I adore the notions of peace and joy and sugar cookies, I struggle to make room for these things in any meaningful way. It’s as if the show takes over and the substance of our lives has to yield to the performance.
I recognize this is the opposite of what Christmas, or any holiday, or even any season, should be. And I find myself longing for a quiet week at a little cabin in the woods, just us and a fireplace (with a nice protective barrier), some board games, and a well-stocked kitchen. Maybe snowshoes, and the corollary snow. THERE, I believe, I could properly celebrate the lives of those I love, the season of rest, and the birth of hope. But out here? I think not. Instead, I let my three-year-old watch back-to-back episodes of “Go Diego, Go” and I bury my head in social media. Organizing our lives seems too much for me right now, let alone enjoying them.
I figure this will stop, or at least abate, once we ease off on the doctor’s visits and get a few packages in the mail. (Did I mention we make everyone’s gifts? Crikey. Photos below, if I can find my phone, which I am — accidentally? — losing a lot these days.) But perhaps I fool myself. Perhaps this is the test run of the general philosophy that we spend our lives how we spend our days; that peace is every step; that we can choose to live with grace and intention or we can choose to throw our hands in the air and give up. I’m working on it, or at least I INTEND to work on it, and I hope that counts for something.