"The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach." - Dickens

December 23, 2009

Amid the joviality
Originally uploaded by J. Star
I tried and tried to finish my holiday shopping last night, but could not find a thing to buy that was the "right thing" and that I could actually afford. At 8:30 I ended up sitting in my car in the parking lot of the last store I visited, crying and crying. Christmas isn't supposed to be like this - especially not Christmas with a beautiful little boy who is wishing that Santa will bring him a train (but not come to his house - more about that in a second.)

Then I drove home. Our tree was on, lighting up the front of the house, and E and Josh were in the kitchen, making sugar cookies. E was so thrilled to see me. I helped them finish putting M&M's on the cookies, and then E and I sat by the tree and talked and read stories. I put him to bed, and fell asleep next to him. He fell asleep holding my hand and we were still holding hands when I woke up this morning. No matter how bleak things seem, being in the room with him always makes me feel better. Its the work to keep the bleakness from him, of course, that is so difficult.

I've had a lot of Christmases in my life that were sort of 'meh' and that's ok. Some occasions just happen and are neither good nor bad. But this year, Christmas seems actively awful. Our house is decorated (and beautiful), filled with music and colored lights, but there are no presents under the tree, the stockings that I was so excited to make are languishing upstairs, unfinished, and I don't see any "joy of the holidays" in my son's eyes (or my husband's for that matter). A big part is money, but that's not all of it. I'm a firm believer that "Christmas doesn't come from a store." A bigger part is time - I've not had time to really make any gifts (big or small) or sit and make paper chains or cookies with E (although Josh has done both those things) or just sit by the tree sipping tea and enjoying the moment. No time or resources (again this year) to spend hours searching for (or making) just the right gift - big or small, expensive or not. I want very much to support the Buy Local movement in our city, but most of the locally owned stores that I want to shop at are closed during the times I am available to shop, and Etsy has been more or less a bust. Which leaves me prowling the mall and chain stores, trying to find something, anything, that is acceptable.

During our conversation before bed last night, E blurted out "I hate Christmas! I don't want Santa to come!" I've never heard him say "I hate" anything before, not even during our massive struggles over diapers or food or bedtime. We talked a little, and its possible that he (like many children) is simply afraid of Santa coming to his house, but I think also that he senses the disquiet in our lives, he knows that Christmas is a time when Mamma is gone more than usual, and his cushy life is disrupted by changes in daycare schedules and us dragging him to stores and parties (or leaving him home with Mimi while we go out). Looking at it from his viewpoint, even taking the presents into account, I can see why he would hate it. But I had so hoped that he woldn't - that he would look at the holiday with wonder in his eyes. We'll need to work on that, I guess.

Tonight I work all day, then work at the call-center from 5-10. When I get home E will be sleeping, the tree will be lit, music will be playing, and I suspect Josh will be wrapping presents. Tomorrow is Christmas eve, and the dance begins. The best part will be four full days that I can spend with my family, and never go anywhere without them.

“You can tell the size of a man by the size of the thing that makes him mad.” - A Stevenson

December 22, 2009

day 215: almost symmetry
Originally uploaded by estherase
I was reading a design blog, sort of idly searching for some clue as to what to get my husband's mother for Christmas - she's been amazingly generous to us in the past year and out of all his family I want to make the effort to get her a really nice gift (vs the ... more downscale ... lets say 'homespun' ... gifts the rest of his family is getting due to our current impoverished status).

So anyway, I'm reading through their gift suggestions (I'm not going to link to it, you'll see why in a minute) and I encounter this paragraph:

At the boutique there were some gorgeous bathrobe choices, but they all came in L/XL and we realized that no one wants to give or receive a robe that's L/XL, so we carefully removed the part of the neck label that indicates size, making the robes seem like one size fits all.

Eh? No one wants to give or receive a robe that's L/XL? Eh?

There is a whole culture of women who put so much stock into the number on the label of their clothes and shoes, and I will never, every understand them. Seems to me the most important thing is that you give a gift that fits, and if the number on the tag reads 6 or 16 or 26 or 42 or XL or P or GR it doesn't matter - so long as they like it and it fits.

Perhaps this is why I'm not a size six.