right about this time of year, the dread starts to build. the days take on a steely grey tinge, covered in festive lights that blink at me mockingly. the need to sleep becomes overwhelming.
the holidays get harder and harder every damn year.
it's not that i don't like them. i love Thanksgiving dinner. somewhere, buried in the archives, i have an old cassette tape of us as kids, at my grandparents for dinner. i haven't listened to it in years; at this point, it may be too degraded to play. but i don't need to listen to it. just thinking about that tape, i can picture the kitchen, see my family, smell the candied sweet potatoes. getting ready in time, dressing up to look proper for the day, driving down the Cape and seeing the water towers with the red and white checks that meant we were almost there, trying to snag all the olives from the glass tray, feeling my grandfather's hand on the small of my back... it's all there.
and Christmas - i get a kick out of finding gifts for people i care about. me, i'm not so fun to shop for; apparently, i've always had a habit of guessing my gifts before i unwrap them. but i love giving. one year, i made pastel colored candies for my mom, and filled up a milk glass basket with them, in yellow, green and pink, topped with tiny white pastilles. there was always the debate about *when* we could open presents. was it okay to open any Christmas Eve? or did we have to wait? stockings, tho, were always Christmas morning, before breakfast. breakfast was stollen, toasted, and scrambled eggs.
some of that is still left. but so much has changed. my grandfather isn't here anymore, and the house is gone. my siblings have married, and moved. my parents have moved. and my grandmother is fragile these days.
i'm the single one, so i get to travel. it's easier for Mohammed to go to the various mountains. and i get that. but on top of all various stresses, i really wish i didn't have to travel.
stay put, you say? but then i wouldn't get to see my family. and i want to see them. it's just that trying to balance my various families... that's a lot of miles. and there just isn't enough time in the day.
reading over what i've just written, a lot of other things pop out. sadness, nostalgia, exhaustion, expectations... how does that all add up to dread? i suppose it all congeals into dread because i want things to be like they were, and i'm still coming to terms with the changes. i want things to be perfect, damn it.
the silver lining in all of this is that i do feel better about the holidays this year than i have in a while. the last few years, there was all that fucking soap opera drama with the ex boyfriend. in hindsight, he never gave a damn about my family. i made the effort to be part of his family and their holidays, but he never made a bit of effort, not after the first Thanksgiving. yes, i'm bitter. then, i was just a wreck. so at least there's none of that this year.
*sigh* it's only a few weeks out of the year. i can do this. i can enjoy the holidays, not just get thru them. *lather, rinse, repeat as needed*