As I sit here typing, the dog is stretched out on the couch like an ad for a taxidermy company and rain is falling softly like Christmas confetti as it moves the lazy river water downstream. It looks like winter, but it’s not cold today. It does feel like Christmas. Finally.
I haven’t written much this year. It just hasn’t felt writable, most of it. And truthfully, much of it still isn’t. I struggle to dance along the line of what’s my story and what isn’t. When it isn’t my story, then it isn’t my story to tell. And writing my reactions to someone else’s story is crossing a line. So I follow the advice of my mother quoting Thumper and sometimes I just say nothing.
It’s a challenge. Cuz I’m a talker.
But here I am with a lazy rain and dog, thinking about the next two weeks. I’m grateful that finals are upon us and almost over. The kids are not nearly as stressed as I am, which I’m well aware is messed up. I’m grateful that we have an opportunity as a family of 6 to create a little holiday magic when we felt like we were lacking it.
To look at us, you wouldn’t know we were lacking in spirit. We went to Home Depot the Sunday after Thanksgiving and picked a tree. We usually like to walk through the choices and really consider our options. This year, we picked the very first one our eyes landed on. The first one. We named him Bert. We walked out within 2 minutes of walking in. That’s a record. Bert is doing his job. He has some gifts under the tree. He has kids gathered around him every afternoon as they recount the boxes with their names on them. There’s one particular kid who has been slightly naughtier than the others. I actually considered returning a gift last night.
But, of course, I’m not gonna. Because that’s so mean. And I might be having an off year, but I’m not mean.
And though I’m not usually accused of meanness, I have been grumpy for the last couple of weeks. Grumpy about homework. Grumpy about carpools. Grumpy about stale snacks. Grumpy messy rooms. Grumpy about stains on white shirts that I am tasked with getting out. Grumpy about my too short pajama pants. Grumpy about stuff.
I think I just had some hurdles to trip over. I don’t think my race has been graceful or particularly impressive, but I have continued to trip along. And there’s something to be said for not quitting. I am past some stress. I am past all of the “firsts” after my mom died. I am not past my kids’ finals, but we’ve already decided it’s disturbed behavior to fret about someone else’s test schedule.
So here–now–on this rainy, lazy-dog, swollen-knee kind of day, I declare CHRISTMAS SPIRIT. I declare gratitude and joy and peacefulness. I declare contentment. I look around and see only blessings. I have to step out of my own head. I don’t know who will read this. Maybe nobody. But if you’re reading and you are having an off year too, find a way to get back on. Crank up the Ella Fitzgerald music. Pay something forward. Say Merry Christmas to the dude walking into Hibachi Express. Eat Mexican food. Take pride in the stains you get out of shirts. Keep people on your nice list even if they don’t deserve it.
And Happy Holidays. From me. (And Bert.)
Come on, 2019. It’s game on.