Sunday, December 23, 2007

My dilemma

My and my husband's families are in Missouri this Christmas.

I am in Milwaukee.

This decision was made for many practical reasons between my husband and I, and I believe all the reasons were good, sound and, in view of the bigger picture, completely right.

But it means that I'm isolated from my entire family for the holidays.

I rather like being alone, and can easily find a thousand ways to happily spend my time for a couple of days. I've been looking forward to the relaxation I will finally get. Except for The Day. I don't really want to sit around by myself all Christmas Day. Except maybe I sort of do. Maybe I can explain this crap.

I have several options for spending my Christmas day. My friend Anne has invited me to her family's celebration at her grandmother's home which is about an hour out of the city. There will be Christmas dinner, much game-playing, and a gift exchange. I like Anne a lot and I've met her parents and they are great. I think it would be a really fun time. Any other day. I don't really want to be the poor little friend who didn't have anywhere else to go on Christmas. I don't have any food to take, and no money to buy any. Do I think they would actually care if I brought a dish? No. Would I feel retched if I didn't bring something to this stranger's home? Most definitely. I'm sure I could whip up a gift for the exchange, but I already have gifts I haven't made for people I love. And apparently you get a gift if you go, whether you reciprocate or not. I just can't not take a gift. This option has several strikes against it, but a big pro -- namely it would be fun. Most probably.

Alternately, several of my friends from school are international students who will be around and who aren't Christian, so it's just another day to them. A couple have said that I should call them if I want to do something on Tuesday. That's very nice, but I don't want spend the day pretending I like curry and explaining what I would be doing to celebrate if I were with my family. So, bah humbug, I'm not likely going to do that, either.

Another problem with both of these options is that I don't want to be caught amongst strangers when I have my "Christmas Moment". Ever since my parents passed away, I cry at Christmas. Not for a long time, and usually not full-on weeping, but it always happens. And I never know what's going to set it off. And I really don't want to be the girl who not only doesn't have a place to go for Christmas but who still cries randomly because, poor thing, her parents are dead. Of course, it appears that I am that girl, but let's not make a big production of it, shall we?

Part of me wants to just lay around the house in my pajamas, eat random stuff, play with my Ipod, and knit. But I know I will look out the window at the empty streets, at my empty stocking hung by the heat vent with care, at the empty area under my tree, and at my near-empty pantry and that will depress me. Apparently, its already depressing me.

I fully admit that there's something really fulfilling about wallowing and throwing a little pity-party. I know that if I'm alone on Christmas day, it will be my own doing. I know I'm being a brat -- if I can't have my family and my husband I don't want anything, so there! But it's really partially true. Someone else's family, no matter how wonderful and charming and welcoming, can never substitute for my own. How fake is to put on my happy face and feel awkward all day just so I can say, "By Golly, I didn't spend Christmas alone!"

I know I should have more grace than this. I hope get over this pre-holiday PMS and become my normal, cheery self. I hope desperately that I re-read this post tomorrow or Tuesday and think, "Egads, I'm glad I'm not always such a freaking little ball of sunshine!"

How much beef jerky and pretzel chips do you think that will take?



Becky G said...

My heart goes out to you, Sus. I am in a similar dilemma. All of my family will be in Texas this Christmas. My son and I will be here/ Finances don't permit me to travel. It's not just gas money either. It's boarding the dogs, and making the necessary repairs to my truck that would enable it to be driven the nearly 500 miles I would need to go. I'd love to have you spend Christmas with us, but if you can't make it to Missouri, you surely couldn't make it to Mississippi. Still, I will keep you close in my heart, if not in my home.

Anonymous said...

I love you Susan. I wish you
could be here. :o( Try to have a great day, whatever you decide to do. We'll be thinking about you.


YarnThrower said...

Thank you for sharing your situation. It's nice to see "what lies beneath" people sometimes -- makes relationships more, er, authentic maybe? So glad Christmas is only for one day -- when my first son was born, I told my husband that it was only 24 hours in a lifetime, so I could handle the labor thing for 24 hours if I had to. This is a little different kind of stress, but so glad you're a Christian, because some of the other celebrations go on for DAYS! In any case, Merry Christmas, and my hope is that it will also be cathartic for you in some way. Take care, Sus! So glad we "met"!

Anonymous said...

Aw sugar. Belated ((()))) to you.