Here we stand, two weeks from Christmas, and while it's simply freezing out, it just doesn't feel like Christmastime. Maybe it came too fast, maybe it snuck up on me while I had my back turned; but after a long, stressful, sometimes heartbreaking year, it arrived and I am still standing, despite cold fingers and toes, but left reeling.
Christmas, this year, feels like heavy workbooks—my father's—that are too big. I've got them on though, I'm trudging, my feet sliding forward and back with each step. Something doesn't feel right, the fit is off. But I don't want him or anyone else to know it. I've got a smile on. This is fun, it's just a show. Everything's going to be all right. Falling is impossible. I guess I just wonder if someone can pick up on the traces of fear hidden on my face—fear of being found a fraud.
There are lights in my front window, and a colorfully decorated tree in the corner of my living room, but it all feels like a set dressing. Props inside of four walls that come apart at the corners, and can be packed away for next year's display.
I blame myself. I don't spend enough time with family. I don't plan fun, festive activities on the weekends. I don't bake enough. I don't get outside enough. But no one's to blame, and I guess I'm realizing that now. The only thing to blame is the notion that Christmas has to mean the same thing for everyone. It doesn't have to be painted red and green, or be summed up in a few kitschy lines; it might not even be worn with a smile and a "ho ho ho." So, maybe I'm growing, or grown, now finding my fit. My Christmas. And I'm finding it's more of a bluish gray, but with an overwhelming warmth to it, too. Mine is less of a "party" and more of a time for reflection of the numbered days behind me, the memories of the year. What we've been through. Things gained, and lost.
So here's to: starting gates and finish lines, jumping off porches and almost breaking your foot, hungover breakfasts with best friends, crowding in for family pictures, Grandad Bill's "1, 2, 3," air conditioning and clean water, big screens, fireworks and flavored Sake, new acquisitions, losing someone you thought would always be around, thieving dogs, turkey trots, "Amazing Grace," marathon tears, spoiled brats, The Arcade Fire at Merriweather Post Pavillion, waist-high snow, shoveling, butt dials, weight loss, the South Beach diet, two weddings in a year, becoming a wife, rallies on the National Mall, Treme, 7-year-old break dancers, date nights at Hooked, Hilton Cancun, Lou's monthly visits, LOST, Mariah's soccer games, dinner dates with Callie, accomplishing goals, our Israeli HM friends, free Christmas trees, generous bosses, "kanye reupholstered my p*," getting wine wasted, Cullan getting too tall, wedding ring debacles, a Judge Idol star, The Social Network, becoming "old news" on facebook, dramatic readings of Kanye's tweets, "special time" with mom, no longer living in sin, calling Whit and once in a while having her answer, the knot obsession, business trips, internet friendships, shaun john and al, bridal showers, nail polish, turkey sandwiches, Donald Draper, bankrupt airlines, generous parents, "right in front of your eyes," having money again, stingy wedding guests, gay or straight?, human kindness, Williams Sonoma shopping sprees, utis, Win Butler's Air Force Ones, house-hunting, carpet stains, back rubs, "missing you," happy tears, 3 cups of coffee, polite 5-year-olds and "Roo Roo," married friends, cooking confidence, pre-wedding beach house, Michael Scott's last season, losing touch, letting people you love down, stoners, SP is an idiot, kissing for fun, running tights with a pee hole, masters theses, long-distance relationships, book clubs, work spouses, Marley and Me, "The Force is With You, Katie," dive kisses, gremlin dogs, breaking records, Cabanas Copal, Real Sports with Bryant Gumble, Ree Drummond/Pioneer Woman, recipes, fibromyalgia, Kanye on a stick, tinky Mar, rummy, jalapeno corn bread, the Biltmore, "Types of Bitches," radio mixes, Bibis, "the cars that go BOOM," having kitchen-table chairs.
And here's to a Merry Christmas, and to next year and all that it promises. And to everyone in my little life and this enormous world: wishing you more hope than you can even stand.