Pushing The Christmas Button
There are one or two
evenings per month when I probably shouldn't be allowed anywhere near:
- Heavy machinery.
- Small neighborhood
children selling chocolate bars, door-to-door.
- My e-mail.
unfortunately, was one of those nights. I got home from work late,
tired, hungry, stretched-thin emotionally and loaded for hormonal
bear. Although I managed to successfully avoid most of the *danger
items* on the list (David locked the tractor and the shotguns up in the
barn, along with the chocolate bars), I couldn't seem to stop
myself from taking a quick run through my e-mail before dinner.
Worse: I attempted to answer
some of it.
ensued. The next thing I knew, a perfectly nice new reader
was calling me "snarly" and wishing aloud that she'd never bothered to
write to me in the first place. I wound up sitting in front of an
unplugged computer, weeping into my lukewarm Celestial Seasonings ...
wondering how things had gone so hideously awry.
She was right, of
course. My response was
snarly. I broke my own cardinal rule for handling potentially upsetting
e-mail: I answered her right there on the spot, instead of walking away
and waiting until I'd had a chance to think and cool off and formulate
a courteous response. (Read this: until the
Extra-Coma-Inducing-Strength Midol had a chance to kick in.) Hers was
the first e-mail out of the chute last night ... she caught me with my
defenses (and my blood sugar) down around my ankles ... AND
she managed to push the one button most likely to provoke a strong
emotional reaction from me right now:
The Christmas Button.
Usually it's the Why
Don't You Ever Write About Your Other Daughter?
Button that gets to me. Or the Unless
You Go To A.A., You're Not Really
In Recovery Button. Or
I Were As Fudked-Up As You Are, Lady, I Wouldn't Be Bragging About It
On The Internet Button.
right now it's the Where Is
Your Christmas Spirit? Button.
The thing is
may be about to make things a whole big bunch worse, here, but once
again I can't seem to stop myself: I'm like a coiled Slinky, poised at
the top of a staircase, all downward momentum -- there is
should probably know about me. I don't just play a big crabby sensitive
self-absorbed baby on the Internet.
I actually AM
a big crabby sensitive self-absorbed baby.
My big crabby sensitive
self-absorbed babiness is just slightly more pronounced at the moment
than usual, thanks to a toxic combination of holidays and hormones.
What can I tell you? I'm tired. I'm blue. I'm blotchy. I'm worried
about the world. I'm lonely for the Tots. I miss my family. I miss
TicTac. I don't miss the mess and the stress and the fuss of Christmas,
maybe, but I do
miss the way Christmas used to feel, sometimes. (Sitting in front of a
twinkling Christmas tree in the middle of the night when the rest of
the world is asleep, for instance: I miss that.) I know that
hormonal yuck will be over in another few hours -- and the holiday
yuck, in another few days -- but it's the living through it without
falling to pieces that's going to be the trick. For the first few days
of the holiday season, this year, I sat around waiting for a molecule
or two of holiday spirit to spontaneously invade my heart and make the
world all warm and fuzzy and Christmas colors ... the way it did when I
was a little kid, bookmarking dollhouses in the Sears Wish Book. When I
realized that this probably wasn't going to happen -- and I realized it
pretty much right away, as soon as we decided that a holiday trip to
TicTac was out of the question this year -- I chose to throw all of my
holiday attention and energies into making Christmas happy for other
people. I think I was hoping that by focusing on other people, I would
somehow be *rewarded* for my vast reserves of selflessness and
grooviness and stuff with a glimmer of the old holiday magic.
didn't happen, either, I decided to just give up.
I don't mean that I'm
giving up on trying to make this a meaningful holiday season for the
people around me. I'm deriving enormous personal/karmic satisfaction
from my efforts there, especially the stuff that never even makes it
to *FootNotes.* I just mean that I'm going to quit waiting for an
emotional miracle that may or may not happen. If it does
happen -- if I experience a sudden unexpected *It's A Wonderful Life*
moment, somewhere between now and next Tuesday -- that would be lovely,
and I would welcome it, and I would enjoy it thoroughly. But if it
doesn't happen ... well ... there's always next year.
How do I know?
Because I don't just play
an eternal optimist on the Internet ...
throw a snowball