Sunday, December 23, 2018
It will be no surprise to anyone who has been with me this year that I am hardcore avoiding and dreading the holidays. The past week has been another deluge of tears, not because my dad liked the holidays or his birthday at all - he was the biggest Scrooge in the state of Michigan, if not the whole Midwest. But he was easy to shop for -- we bought him sweats, new loafers, a new Gary (his cooler) if his had broken throughout the year, and beer. We asked what he wanted for his birthday and it was "to be left alone to watch sports". And Charlie now rests on his chair, and we put on football even if no one is in the room and watching, and I open a beer and put it on the table without drinking it. Instead of pouring a little out for him, I make his chair an altar.
I don't know how we will be okay, or when, but I know that it has to happen, because this dark year in mourning is not sustainable. I miss too much about the world. There is pathetic fallacy in the political climate right now, as we cage and tear gas children at our southern border, and fundraise to build a wall instead of feed or clothe our people who need it this winter, as we further fall into the sundowning empire of racism and white supremacy. I just want this system of oppression to breathe its final breath and collapse already.
I want to create new traditions, to hold space for the loved ones I miss, but find paths around and through the loss to find reasons to celebrate. This year it is about maintaining peace and not finding joy, but I want to relearn joy in the years ahead. We made a list of things to do while we're on break: sledding, going to the movies, bowling, watching football, playing soccer, indoor playground on Wagner Rd, coloring, reading, ice skating, hot chocolate, going to a hockey game, making cookies, walking by the river.
We are also struggling with raising bicultural kids and whether to and how to celebrate a holiday that is literally surrounding us (in my mom's house) with kids when we don't want to instill capitalist values into them. I want the holidays to be a time of family, good friends and service to others, not "what am I getting?", but in times of grief, I've found myself shopping more this year, and feeling guilty about our usual rule of "one gift per child" that has worked so well in the past. I will not go into debt to pay for extravagant presents that my kids will abandon in precisely one week, and I want them to feel the joy of helping, giving and being with people in love and with food in our bellies. That is enough.
My own to-do list includes: cleaning the house, spending time with friends and family, going to the gym at least twice a week, sleeping in, reading, writing, adulting necessities, date night with the hubby, fun activities with the babies.
I return to writing, I return to making lists, to help me think and process when therapy is not a financial reality right now. When socialization is something I can't handle most days. I will continue withdrawing for winter, but I am trying to get out and give hugs to people who fuel me. Be patient. I am not okay, but I'm trying to figure out how to hold this grief and not drop my life in the process.