December 18, 2016
Christmas will be here in one week. I’m sure for many of you it’s panic time. You still have shopping to do or dinner plans to make, wrapping gifts or just trying to squeeze in all the friends and family time. I’m usually there with you.. but not this year. This year brings a feeling of dread. The closer to the day at hand there is a suffocating presence, a desire to run and hide, a feeling of emptiness.
Christmas has always been my favorite of the holidays. It’s all I can do to get beyond Thanksgiving so I can decorate my house, plan not only a special dinner but also the dessert of all desserts. I shop, I wrap, I look for the best of gifts to fit into a stocking so personal that it is like pulling love out with every little surprise. My house looks like Christmas threw up in it and I can’t wait for any visitor to come by just so they can see how happy it makes me.
Things changed so drastically this year. I tried to feel the same but it never came. I managed to get a tree up but it’s the smallest one we had and there are no decorations on it, save for one that I just bought at my favorite little French store, Le Marche. I don’t want to shop or wrap or even (gasp) plan a dinner. I think I’m going to end up being like the person who burnt the turkey or something equally crazy and they go to the one Chinese restaurant that is open. Although right now it’s not a bad option.
Now before you try to have me committed or cross this off as an over-indulgent pity party for one, I have to explain why. The reason is, for the first time in about seventeen years, my children will not be here. (commence rolling of eyes) My daughter is leading the life of an international world-famous teacher in China and I miss her horribly. My son is still deciding if he wants to acknowledge he has parents or not but for the first time in a long time is fortunate enough to spend some time with his grandmother. As a mother this can be devastatingly lonely. I know people have put up with much worse, husbands or wives off to war, spouses or children no longer with us. I get it. I’m being absurdly pathetic. But for me , it’s now just like any other day. Nothing exciting to look forward to, no special visitors and certainly no family. There will be no grandchildren, which is an entirely different and much longer story, and isn’t Christmas all about the children? The Elf on the Shelf is still on the shelf…in the closet. How does one adjust to this type of change? Why can’t I be the person that can adapt and move on?
Luckily, I have been very fortunate and very busy with holiday business. It’s been a great divergent and quite fulfilling. Peter, my husband, and I have been able to spend a little more time together which is also good for the heart. So I am out there trying. I even bought a couple of gifts the other day. No need for the straight jacket yet.
Why do I tell you all of this? Why after all of this time do I expose my inner-most feelings and angst with the couple of thousand people who thought I had disappeared, never to return? I’ve gotten away from this cathartic writing. I’ve wanted to return, sharing stories and recipes with friends that I don’t yet know but there has been this block of what to say and to top everything off, this blog has been experiencing hundreds of spam postings. However, I am finally now here again, bemoaning my lack of holiday spirit…..but at least I’m here. I am once again sharing something. I know it’s not a recipe, but it is a beginning.
2017 is right around the corner, a new beginning. It can be a fresh page for anything and everything. I can try writing again, I can share some recipes with you and I can start planning for maybe a better holiday next year.
It is exactly like Scarlet O’Hara once said, “After all, tomorrow is another day!” For all of you I wish you a very merry Christmas, but for me I think I look forward to a brand New Year.