I am normally one of those super annoying people at Christmastime who is too excited about everything. (at Christmastime? Okay...all the time, but we will focus on Christmas for this blog) This Christmas, however, it never happened. I tried a few times to jump start that excited feeling, but it was just out of reach the whole season. Now, don't get me wrong, the day itself was lovely. The boys and I opened presents and ate wonderful food and hung out together and it was great. My presents this year we outstanding. I accused Brent of going over budget and was informed that technically this year we didn't set one so he was in the clear. So it was a good day, it was a fun day, it was an amazing gift day, but it just never reached that WOO HOO! It's Christmas Day!
I spent a good part of December trying to figure out what was going on and I think that I have it narrowed down to three things. First off the weather. Now being from New Mexico I don't expect snow for Christmas. It was rare to have snow in December at all and snow on Christmas truly was a miracle. But there was always the chance...and the chance is dreaming and dreaming is part of Christmas. The same sort of thing happens here in Portland. December is rainy. Every so often there is snow. One year there was a LOT of snow. But mostly it's rain with that wishful thought in the back of you head that it might, might snow. But this year it was dry. Driest December on record until this week when the rain came storming back. So cold and dry, no shot of snow and not the normal weather for December. Don't get me wrong, dry and sunny was nice, it really was. But it wasn't Christmas weather.
Second guess is the medication I was on. It messed with my hormones and thus my moods a lot. Brent and I both noticed that I was flat about things I was normally up about and reacted to other things much more intensely than I normally would. And the thought of going out and doing anything for Christmas that might involve crowds just didn't appeal to me at all. I am readjusting back to normal now, so I might hit Christmas excitement in time for Valentine's Day. So if you see me wearing my Santa hat in February now you will know why!
The last guess is the sad one. I spent all day yesterday chasing the blues. You know that Tuesday was my anniversary. Well yesterday would have been my parent's. They would have been married 59 years. Going through all of the firsts is hard. Even when we wouldn't normally have spent Thanksgiving or Christmas with my family, knowing that my mother was facing them without Dad for the first time in 6 decades made them hard. Talking to my mother a few weeks ago she asked (as she often does) how my mother-in-law was doing. I told her that she was finally getting back to what we would consider normal for her. Something we hadn't seen since my father-in-law died. Four years ago. She then asked about a friend of mine's mother. She knew he had lost his dad earlier in the year and was checking in there as well. I said as far as I knew she was doing well, traveling with a friend and seemed to be adjusting fine. My mother couldn't wrap her brain around that. At the time we were talking she had just told me she didn't want to leave the house at all. I told her that his father had been a different type of man than dad and that for the past few years his health had been so bad that she was more of a full time caretaker than a wife. The situation was different and she didn't need to compare her grief to someone else.
I know that my siblings and my niece and nephews had all had a hard time with December as well. Christmas shopping was difficult. You consider what to get for Dad before remembering that you won't be getting him anything. We always send gift cards to Mom and Dad for Christmas so they can go out to dinner for their anniversary. So what do we do now? I didn't want to send her something that I normally would have that would have seemed to emphasize that Dad was gone, but then what do you do? I ended up sending flowers. I considered for a little bit going home for Christmas, but decided that wasn't really the right call. We haven't done a Christmas in New Mexico in years. We have our own family traditions now and it would have put pressure on my niece to come down when she is starting to develop her own family traditions. So I decided to treat it as normally as possible.
Calling Mom Christmas morning I wasn't sure what to expect. She sounded good. The flowers we sent were very pretty and were holding up well. They were busy packing up food and gifts to take to my brother and sister's house. He had to work so they were doing everything earlier than normal. Things were busy as they always are during the holidays but she was doing well. Neither one of us mentioned Dad, or my anniversary or hers, but did tell each other we loved each other very much before hanging up. I didn't call her yesterday. I thought about it. But then I thought about what I would want if it were me. And I would want to mark the day on my own. So right or wrong I left her alone for that.
We are six months in and through the worst of the firsts. New Year, Valentine's Day, Easter, his birthday and the anniversary of his death left to go. Then we start all over again. And as hard as it is to see from here I know from going through it before it does get easier after that. And every year after it, it is easier still. You don't get to the point where you don't miss them, don't wish there were there, don't feel sad, but you do get to the point where it doesn't stop you in your tracks. We will get there. And next year I will be wearing my Santa hat and skipping through the stores to hear the jingle bells on my socks ring...you've been warned...