Two years ago I posted a holiday rant. I re-read it yesterday and winced at the levels of anger, frustration, disillusionment, and pure bitchiness I displayed there. And yet, I'm glad it's there. It gives me a frame of reference. It reminds me that I write these things for me. It also showed me how much I've changed over the past couple of years.
The commercialism of this time of year still drives me insane. Instead of becoming quite so angry about it, now I just do my best to avoid it. Before I was jealous that I didn't have the means to participate in the gluttony. Now I have even less and I finally realized that it's not something I wish to participate in anyway. Sometimes less really is more.
Last year I became person-non gratta on my ex's side of the family. It hurt like hell to be kicked to the curb by people I love and respect. It angered me that they only saw his side. And, it took me a while to understand that of course that's what they are going to do. I finally saw how silly it was for me to think anything else would or should happen. I still miss some of them terribly, but I'm finally at peace with this part of how the divorce has impacted my life.
I've never liked family gatherings. This year, I'm getting a huge dose of irony. This year I won't have to suffer through the family gathering because the only family still living in the same part of the country as me is my youngest sister and we hardly speak. I'm closer to my mom than I've ever been in my adult life and now they are embarking on a new adventure by moving down to Florida. I guess this is a lesson in karma for me. Duly noted. As much as I miss my parents, I am happy that our relationships have improved. This is so much better than having them close by and not speaking. So, while I miss them, I am also happy for them and hope they find happiness and adventures where they are now.
We had an artificial tree for years and last year, like every thing else around here, it finally broke beyond the possibility for repair. The ex got a real tree for the first time in years and we had a very tense holiday still under the same roof. This year I can't afford a new fake tree and didn't even consider a live one. I don't have the money anyway, didn't want to kill a tree, and if I did it would just be a fire hazard as I wouldn't remember to water it. So, for the first time in ages, no tree. I'm okay with that. I'm glad to not get the ornaments out and go through all of the memories that each one holds. I worry about how the boys are with this change, but they seem to be taking it in stride.
I am looking forward to celebrating with my boys this year; starting some new traditions based not on judeo-christian beliefs that I don't necessarily share, but on a sense of family, love, togetherness, and creativity. Christmas dinner will not be a re-telling of Thanksgiving. This year we're going to make one of our favorite foods, pizza, together. Max is still lobbying for either Chinese food or a pizza delivery. But he's been out voted and we will be having a pizza building festival of food that night.
The hardest thing about the holidays for me is that Jake is still young enough to believe in Santa. It would be a lot easier if he didn't. He already knows that money is tight. But he hasn't made the leap from Mom has no money to Santa has no money. Because, thankfully, for him Christmas is still about magic.
A few weeks ago I was really upset about the holidays. I can barely afford to get the kids a few items of clothing and didn't know how to explain to Jake that Santa wasn't going to be bringing much to our house this year. A friend told me to not worry about it; that every kid deserved at least one fun thing from Santa, and she wanted to play Santa to my boys this year. I had a hard time accepting that someone would want to do something like this for me and my family. Meanwhile, presents have arrived this week and I'm finally starting to feel the same kind of excitement that Jake feels at the upcoming visit from Santa.
I've already received so many gifts this year. I have three sons that I am so proud of and love with all my heart. I am in a good place with my parents. I have a job that I love working with great co-workers where I get to spend my day helping people. I am constantly inspired by and in awe of the world around me in all its beauty and mystery. And, I have been blessed to have so many amazing people come into my life these past two years as friends and teachers.
So, my friend is playing Santa in the form of some fun things for the boys; but she's given me the best gifts I've ever received; her love and friendship, and the desire to one day repay her kindness and generosity by paying it forward to someone else.