I was handling this Christmas like an adult so far. I wasn’t looking for much for myself and instead was focused on one goal or, one gift you could say: Loving family togetherness. If my children were pleased with their gifts, that would only be a bonus.
And I was sorta proud of myself. This optimistic outlook was hard won. It’s been a tough year for us as it has for so many, and it would have been SO easy to gripe or complain about lack of money or harp on other’s seemed materialism. It amazed me that my top joy was going to be their joy. All of it. Was I finally an adult?
But as Christmas neared there was an interstate family argument. The aired was cleared, wounds healed and we marched on. Slightly worn.
And then there was the explosive child on Christmas day. There always is. And it’s usually one of mine. There was the worried sister and the upset mother. There was the family awkward tension when you know each other. Sort of. I mean, you know who they are in relation to you. And you love them. What you do know. And you wished you could be closer. Maybe. But yeah….sort of awkward. And then another child looks ill. One looks sad. It was turning into a high-emotion type of Christmas.
And all I wanted for Christmas faded. And I thought, “What is with this freakin’ lesson?!”
You know the one. It happens like this: Life hands you lemons, and after kvetching about it a million times, one day you actually make lemonade. You find the good. You find possibilities. And you get all giddy and happy about yourself. You’ve graduated! You finally got it. You’re proud, but humble.
But then one day life delivers you lemons and, knowing what to do, you set off to make that lemonade. You’re practically singing to yourself. “Ha, I’ve got this!” Lemonade is made. You get up the next day for the next few weeks or months….and it still sucks. Lemons keep coming and you’ve made SO MUCH DAMN lemonade. I mean, you’ve been aces with this shit. So, what.is.with.these.effin’.lemons.huh?
So what do you do?
You stop yourself. You re-assess. Okay, “So,” I tell myself, “loving family togetherness might have been way too much to ask for this Christmas.”
And a little while later (sometimes it’s a day or so…sometimes it’s only an hour later) when things have calmed down ask, “What is good though? What else is there that I’m overlooking? What good can still be found?”
And you re-build from those materials.
I remembered my friend Julie giving me a gift earlier in the month on my birthday. A little plastic kitten that plugs into the earphone jack on my cellphone because she had remembered.
She had first-person witnessed my flip out, an absolute morphing into a squealing five-year-old girl over one that a friend had. And she said to herself, “I’m getting her that!” That’s love. That’s the kind of gift we all should get.
I remembered receiving employment at a place I really love working at. I mean, I went to this place so often as a patron that I was already half-trained in the workings of it. I’d been training all my life without knowing it. What a gift! No, it isn’t perfect, but damn, I think it’s as close to perfect for me as ever there could be on God’s green earth.
It’s hard right now. But it is still so very good.
Because despite it all we need to see what is good.
It won’t necessarily keep the bad shit away. But it makes sailing through it that much easier.
And we all could use a little smooth sailing in the shit seas of life.
So….what’s still good with you?