“The holidays are hard.”
You hear that all the time. Especially for people who are sad or lonely or divorced or widowed or sick or some other life-altering thing. We see it in the movies all the time, so it must be true.
Even so, I was surprised (and felt appallingly like a cliché) when a gloomy cloud settled over me the first Christmas after my divorce. After all, I’m Jewishy – it’s not my holiday. Yet, I felt displaced. I no longer had any holiday traditions (or even ways to fill my time) and absolutely, positively everyone else was beyond booked. Duh, they were with their families, like I used to be, until I gave that up. It wasn’t even that I was missing my ex and his family, and their holiday traditions. It was more that the entire world was wrapped up in festive cheer and special celebrations and family time and I was not. It was lonely. I didn’t belong.
And it persisted in the following years. Today I thought I’d blog about it in some fashion, this unexpected melancholy. Then I realized….I’m not feeling it this year. I was sitting on my comfy couch under Fuzzy Blankie, with my snuggly Ruby Tuesday, in my cozy house, and I felt totally at peace. I could have been content spending the entire holiday weekend just like that, but I have new traditions now. On Christmas Eve my dad, grandma and I go to the movies and out to dinner. My dad goes through an elaborate exercise of mapping out movie times and calling every restaurant in Fort Wayne to see who is open and until when. On Christmas day, it’s round two of the movies, followed by dinner at our friend Rachel’s house, who has graciously welcomed our family into hers, and also makes a kick-ass meal. And a friend who is going through his own “displacement” is joining us.
And it’s complete as far as family traditions go – it has a touch of dysfunction! By the end of the two days, I am MAXED OUT on spending time with my dad and grandma. (Sorry, Dad, I know you’re reading this, no offense. Besides, I know you will be overloaded on your parent, so you can relate. J )
That’s not to say life is perfect and without its challenges and heartaches, because it’s not. But for today, life is good. And I’ll take that.
And on a complete tangent, please note definition 3 for melancholy. Eww.
Merry Christmas! J