Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Holidays?

I got the call from my Mom on Christmas morning last year that my Aunt Rosemary had passed away in the night. My Mom and Aunt had traveled from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to be with all of us to celebrate the holiday. I was about to leave to meet everyone there. I spent forty-six Christmases with Rosemary. I got forty Christmases with my Father.

There are a lot of ways of looking at the holidays. You can stack up the frustrations, the anger, the petty jealousies and the massive amount of stress and say it just isn't worth it and truth be told, some years it just isn't. While we had our share of good holidays as a family we also had many that, well let's just say could have included police activity. Time together with our loved ones is often a crap shoot.

There is no way to know how it will go. Some years our hopes are so high we can't help but end up disappointed. For some it is the lack of the Lexus in the driveway with a big red bow and for others it is the failure once again of a loved one to open their heart.

Perhaps the holidays would be easier to bear if we had an idea of how many we would have with each other. If I had know I would get forty Christmases with my father I may not have endured them any better but I would have known I was working with limited opportunities. It wouldn't have made the bad times much better but it would have made me appreciate the smaller moments more.

I have spent the holidays in almost every way one can, I have been alone, gone to the movies, eaten with strangers, and split the day between different families. I have participated in angry quarrels, pulled loved ones off of each other, laughed so hard I cried, and cried so hard I started to laugh. I have watched the unguarded excitement of my nieces and nephews opening their gifts and felt the thrill of knowing that what is inside that package with your name on it is EXACTLY what you wanted.

I have had all the experiences you can have at Christmas, after all it is just another day in a life filled with ups and downs, joys and triumphs, tragedy and accomplishment. And, like you, I keep at it. I keep trying to make my relationships better. I work on letting go of old resentments and I try to let the good times fill me up. I do the best I can to stay connected and to enjoy the time we have together, after all we don't know how many holidays we get to share. It is hard but nothing worth having is ever easy is it?

When all is said and done I take comfort in the notion that in spite of all the trouble, we are all still trying to do our best. And when my best won't do, there is always wine and time spent locked in the powder room sipping it.

1 comment:

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