No More Tears

December 29, 2009 at 6:52 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
A conversation from the past:
Bunny:  How was your Christmas? 
Me, measuring my words carefully:  Happiness…is relative around the holidays.
Bunny:  What does that mean?
Me:  I didn’t cry as much this year.

  How was your Christmas? 
  Careful how you answer–if you ramble on too long, I’m going to walk away.  If it’s boring, keep it short.  Family, food, gifts–good for you.
  Or if you have an amusing tale of tragedy and misunderstanding that ends with everyone learning a valuable lesson and bonding in the end–
  I’ve seen the movie.  Next.
  The one with the kitten and Santa and the whole thing?  Been there.
  The last few years of Christmas–which have coincided with my separation and divorce–have been pretty hard on me.  My question has always been, "Why does Christmas always end in tears?"  Why, indeed.  I still don’t have an answer.  I can’t please everyone, least of all myself, and I end up pleasing no one.  Broken hearts and Christmas go together like grits and gravy.
  The idea of Christmas is much more appealing than the reality.  Like a Brazilian wax.
  Since I’ve been separated/divorced, I haven’t really had the money to spare on Christmas, either.  You would think that would add to the stress, but it’s actually liberating.  Am I worried about shopping?  No.  Like growing a third hand on my face–why worry about the impossible?
  Coordinating between the families, step-families, ex-families, half-families, and half-step-ex-families and the foster families is what turns this normally difficult time into a circus in the 7th level of hell.
  I realized that my saving grace this year was my son and his girlfriend.  They were going to go up to see her mother, and be there from the day before Christmas Eve until the day after Christmas.  Therefore, there was no Christmas Day event that I had to try to be there for.  Ah, bliss.
  So instead, things went smoother.  Christmas Eve I went to see my daughter and picked out something for her to give her mother.  And of course I got something for Detroit, because there is no way I’m buying a present for my ex and not getting her something.  Christmas Eve and Christmas morning we had Detroit’s sister with us.  We took her back to her kennel early in the afternoon on our way to our friends’ house, Joe and Susan.  Joe works with me, and Detroit used to work with Susan.
  We had a good time.  We drank, we ate, we met some new people.  We played a game.  Detroit got drunk and got sick, then passed out–I mean "took a short nap."  I locked myself in the bathroom.
  Susan swears that they told everyone "don’t lock the bathroom door."  Whatever.  I didn’t hear it, and I have excellent hearing.  It took a few minutes but someone finally rescued me.  I was a damsel in distress.  I learned my lesson, though–the next time I went to the bathroom, I took my drink with me.  Just in case I got thirsty or started to sober up.
  Saturday, my brother and his family came over.  By family, I mean his wife and his youngest daughter, now 21.  That was fun, too, and cousin Joey came by with one of his daughters that is my daughter’s age, and whom by odd coincidence goes to the same school.  They have a class together.
  That was good-it gave my daughter something to do.  The two sat in her room and texted each other and their friends.  Meanwhile, Joe and my brother and I retreated to the downstairs study to talk man talk, and partake of the Christmas tradition.  The tradition is one we keep because of my dad.  Before I ever drank much–and my brother doesn’t drink at all–we would still always have some Southern Comfort with Dad.  On ice with Dr Pepper is best.  I used to always like SoCo, but it is a little sweet and harsh for me now.  Now I know what kind of alcohol I do like.  But still, I have to keep it on hand for this.  You don’t need a reason for a tradition.
  Sunday when I got up it was snowing again.  It had snowed Christmas Eve, and we did have a more or less white Christmas, but nothing to sing to Bing Crosby about.  Christmas morning I had wanted a big breakfast, but that’s the kind of thing you have to plan in advance for if the stores are going to be closed.  And that’s what I had planned–I’m going to do it Sunday morning, when my daughter is here.
  I got out in the cold and snow, et cetera, and went to the store.  It was early,  which was good because there wasn’t much traffic out.  And the weather-panickers hadn’t been out yet to strip the store of milk, bread, and eggs–if there’s a snow storm, you want to be able to make French Toast.
  I got the stuff and came back, and started cooking.  Detroit’s mom was up, and she helped.  She cooked the sausage.  I started on the potatoes and heated up the oven.  Miranda woke up, and I taught her how to do the pancakes on the electric griddle.  I threw the biscuits in the oven, and then cracked and scrambled a whole dozen and a half eggs.  I figured me, Detroit, Bonnie, Miranda, and the two boys, plus Alex had a friend stay over–I made a lot of food.
  After breakfast I took a nap, and there was still some food left, so I had some more.  It’s my 3-day vacation, dammit–probably the last one I’ll have for a while.  I showed Miranda some stuff on the computer and burned her a music disc–she likes the old rock, good for her.
  I took her home, and then came back.  God, all the driving–
  I am done with vacation travel.  For now.  I took my shoes off.  And my pants.  And my shirt.  I slipped on my shorts, and sat on the couch for the rest of the evening, relaxing, and let the weekend wind down around me.

  So it all worked out, because of my son.  And actually, because of his girlfriend.  Of course, it was because of her mom, because she moved away.  Their family has been in turmoil as well, since her father left the family.  This was the course that eventually caused her mother to have a stroke and then decide to move to the Quad cities.  Of course, he–the father–*really* left.  He moved to Minnesota and had a sex change.
  So my relatively calm and pleasant Christmas I owe to a man who drank a gallon of Dick-Be-Gone.  Happy Holidays!

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