So, this comes from a novel-length comment I left on the blog of digthischick and her thoughts about Christmas, traveling for Christmas, taking on a bunch and forgetting 'important' things, and finding the actual importance of 'things'. And list making to help the forgetting things thing.
Mostly those of you reading this know me IRL. You know that I don't do ginormous present giving, but I like to decorate a lot, and I like to cook and feed people a lot. And you know about my health challenges this fall, and can reach the conclusion that I was totally off my holiday game. And that this was hard on me, but I found great freedom in letting go. Just, accepting what I was and was not able to do, and finding peace with that. So, some of my thoughts and lessons learned with illness over the holidays.
This year, I have learned a whole whole lot. This year, I’m not healthy, and the treatment for my not-healthiness makes me tiiiirrrred, and sick much of the week, and really unable to do much of anything. Including have a job, which means we’ve cut the income by over half. Which means, with those things combined, both Thanksgiving and Christmas were extremely low-key events. For the woman who makes a dozen pies, muffins, rolls, cookies and a cake just to get started, usually for about 5 or 6 people, coming up with 3 pies, and going all vegan for my son with very simple food, was great for Thanksgiving. And nobody had any less enjoyment of hanging out. I laid down in the living room, and listened to my lovely son play his dad’s guitar. The kid’s got chops. I napped happy.
Christmas, I managed to get boxes in the mail to 2 households in CA (well, 3, but 2 are neighbors… my mom, brother and sil, so one box for them, yay! and one for SoCA) on TUESDAY!!! They got to them on Christmas eve. No cards. No wrapping. Gift bags with tissue that I had in the ‘save for projects’ area of the basement. Wrapped Connor’s gifts, with help from Papa, didn’t make tags, used last year’s left over paper. Rolled up Morningstar Farms sausage links in Pillsbury crescent rolls. Twice. Once for us, and once when the lovely son came over, and rolled up the rest.
The tree, which is pink tinsel this year, to make dealing with the whole tree thing easy for the sick girl, had 4, count ‘em 4, ornaments. I couldn’t find the box, and I don’t have the umph to dig. I found 3 of the 4 on Christmas eve. Usually I am miss Tall Live Yummy-smelling Tree. Nope. Saw the pink tinsel in September, and snapped it up before they were going, anticipating exhaustion and no interest in searching for just the right tree in December. Thank goodness. Phew! And dudes, it was freakin' after Soltice before Connor finally drug the thing up from the basement and said we NEEDED to put it up. Yeah, suppose it was time!
And, ummmm… house decorations? Hahahahahahahahaha!!! Yeah, my orange, cranberry and chili pepper garland from last year is the extent of it. I ALWAYS get garland, and hang lights and baubles from the garland, and the live tree, and decorate the tree in the front yard with pine cone bird feeders and disco ball decorations and ribbon, and the mantle has candles and sparkly stuff, and branches, and it is beautiful!!! And, I’ve learned, totally not a necessity. I felt bad, I felt totally off my game, I felt as though I were disappointing my family. Nope. Turns out they just want ME! They want me relaxed, and healthy, and taking care of myself and not thinking so much about what I think they ‘need’. Huh! Who knew?
And thus I learned… I learned, again, that Christmas truly is in the being with people who matter in your life. This year, it was just the four of us; me, Jim the hubs, Jorma the son, Connor the grandson. And it was perfectly fine. It was relaxed. It was calm. There was no rushing anywhere. The bigger folk hung out, talked about books and what schools Jorma is going to apply to. We talked about work, we talked about how nice it was to spend a quiet day with each other, the little one playing new games and doing new puzzles, and the tech-free teen enjoying a rare evening of television.
This was perhaps the first year that I haven’t stressed, I haven’t rushed around needing one. more. thing! to make things just. right. I let it go, I let it unfold, and it was all just as good as any other. Maybe even better.
And just before Christmas, as I was putting my sweet boy to bed, he grabbed me in a fierce hug and said, "The best present is having you for a Gramma. I love you sooooo much." You know what? We're doing just fine. We don't need the trappings and the things. We have love. We have home and food and snuggly beddies with cozy-warm blankets. Truly all we need, all that matters.
I am so glad that I was reminded of these things. There are blessings in hardship, and I am grateful to be reminded of that as well.