Well into adulthood and married life, I LOVED Christmas. I started planning where my village would go, how to deck the halls, what to make for dinner, what to wear to the midnight service, in like, July. Egg nog and Christmas music. Wrapping presents and excitement. I would beg my hubby to let me put the tree up a week before Thanksgiving and leave up a week longer in January. I joined the crowds of looney toons on Black Friday and enjoyed breakfast with my husband at 7am when we were done. It was an amazing joy.
Then, my bubble got burst. Reality came, smacked me in the face and I withdrew from Christmas. It was time to be a grown up and realize that the Hallmark holiday I created in my mind and J let me imagine was real all those years, was just that --------- imaginary. That kind of happiness, real or imagined, did not exist in my world any longer. Families fought over what day belonged to whom, guilt trips came from every direction. No one would compromise. No presents until after the 6:30 dinner because it was tradition, nevermind that my toddler was screaming his head off and overtired. (You can imagine how that went when babies 2-4 compounded the stress.) I was on bedrest for two Christmases and that was MISERABLE - including a stress and "too much time off the couch" induced placental abruption. Guilt came from ALL sides of the family. Last year, there were guilt trips because my FF had to work BOTH days of the holiday and schedules had to be rearranged. "BUT, we've ALWAYS had it this way." "Sorry, when the kids were little, I was the one to drive the long distance. Now it is my turn to not drive. I have earned it." "But you spent all morning with that side, what about our side?" "Well, we're still opening presents when we usually do, whether you guys are here or not." My mind shut my soul down and my Christmas spirit was extinguished. I retired from the world of Christmas. I wrote myself a letter that I keep with the ornaments, reminding myself NOT to do this to my kids when they have families of their own. My hubby would be prodding me after St. Nick's Day to get the tree up and it came down the 2nd of January - without hesitation, my village has not seen the light of day in YEARS. It really is a sad tale. The Grinch had stolen my Christmas.
My hubby was truly saddened by this. Every once in a while, I would get the, "Remember when you got so excited..." talk. And I would tune out, my eyes glazed over. Finally, after last year, including a melt down because Christmas was especially hard now that we had been thrown into the Fire Life, we made a decision. Christmas would come back. It would be about our Children, our faith, our family. If the rest of our family couldn't handle it, or got grumpy about his schedule, ah well. It would be their loss.
Today, is the hanging of the greens. Today I am skipping the basketball game that has a toga theme attached to it for setting up the tree. Today I am skipping my weekly dinner with my dad to get said tree decorated. Today I am setting up the tables in the dining room so my FF and I can get the village up and illuminated. And I am excited. I am excited to see my kids' reactions when they wake up and see the village. I am excited to pick out a Pickle Present for Christmas Morning. I truly think I am actually excited again.
Keep your fingers crossed and keep sharp objects away from my bubble, it is amazingly strong and yet amazingly fragile.