After all that lovely, well-intended, self-effort the other day about looking towards the positive, I began to realize I’m going around like a Xanax ad.
The anxiety is just present.
But let’s review. Shall we?
2011 — Christmas was provided by angels. While we feared the firm was going under*. January 3, we found out a merger had been in the works for months.
2010 — My total expenditure for gifts for the kids was a hundred dollars. Yes, your memory serves. We’d just welcomed a new person into the family. We were dealing with the standard emotional upheaval AND what was beginning to be a real material need on the part of the girls. January that year was the year of the two weeks with a “broken” furnace. Which just needed the re-set button hit, but no one we called was willing to tell us that without a service call and we couldn’t pay for a service call. That was also the year I shopped ALDI, to the tune of $100 something and didn’t get in a grocery in any appreciable way until the income tax return came.
2009 — The first year of reduced salary. Still believing, next month we’ll go back on full. In view of the “temporary” nature of the thing, we thought we’d just charge it.
2008 — Mickey’s mom died of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
2007 — Christmas holiday went fine. In January, my grandfather died within minutes of the pastor emeritus of our church. They were also born within days of each other.
2006 — Christmas holiday went fine; in January, my cousin died of an overdose. On my birthday.
2005 — My Grandmother (Dad’s mom) and my Great Grandmother (Mom’s Grandmother) died within the same 24 hour period. In the week of Christmas. That was the same year we traveled to see Mickey’s mom, at his stepdad’s request, because he felt she was extremely ill and he needed her kids to see and know what was up. He’d told the doc she was taking too much medicine, and she asked him, “Between the two of us, which one’s a physician?”
I could go on, but I’m already back to Kansas City. Or I could start at the other end of my life and work forward.
This December has already got enough trouble of its own…
Mickey got hit in the blue car. He’s fine, but it’s a mess. So we’re on one car.
One of the girls is pleasantly standing in my face with no intention of doing what she’s told.
I’ve slacked on Li’l Dude’s speech interventions. Now. I gotta hustle up or the speech therapist I met with will retire and we’ll have to re-evaluate with someone who didn’t do the initial evaluation.
Financially, I don’t have peace. I don’t feel like the events of the last several years are any excuse. I should have tried harder. Worked to teach the children more about how to be better than our circumstances. “Attacked the fear and let it become my claim to fame.”** Now it seems like a big pile.
And last but not least.
A man has begun behaving inappropriately toward me. I’ve kept Mickey apprised of the situation. Now, he’s gone so far as to act like this in front of Mickey and others. I’m insulted. This person thinks I’m so morally low that I’d entertain that kind of attention from a man who isn’t my husband. Or that I have so little going for me that I’d think it was just dandy for someone to pay attention to me at all. He also has so little respect for Mickey. It’s a slap in the face.
Happy Freaking Holidays.
Holiday stress is supposed to be that you don’t think you are having as good a time as everyone else. You aren’t loving the parties and the busyness and the meeeeeeaning. It’s supposed to be that you put too much on the credit card and are dreading the bill coming in the mail. It’s supposed to be that your family is going to have the same old miserable time. It’s supposed to be that the kids want ham, but Grandad wants turkey. At least, your weird aunt just wants her Camels
that brought the Wise Men and O Holy Night Train.
Or that there are fewer hours of daylight.
I’m calling bullroar.
At least in my own case. This is a time of year crammed with memories I didn’t ask for and have no control over.
I am deciding that I will reach past the anxiety for the truth. No one ever said the holidays had to go off like a rehearsed performance. What if we carry on with the act of celebration objectively? Singing the truth over the noise of anxiety and the cultural pressure for the holiday to look like a photo in a magazine.
Months ago, I got a strong impression that God said, “Abide. Obey. Lay down your life.”
I think His birthday is a great time to meditate on that. His banquet is set out.
I just have to figure out how to get to the table. And sit down.
*2011 was the first year since 2006 they didn’t let people go between Thanksgiving and New Year’s; once firing a single mom in the week after Christmas. We don’t know if they did it before that.
**I don’t know who said this originally, but I heard it from a MK director who disappeared the next week and was thought to have gone to South America to elude the authorities. So take it with a grain of salt.