Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It Came Without Ribbons... It Came Without Tags... But was it any good?

One of the reasons I brought back this blog is because I didn't make it through Christmas without it.

This was a tough Christmas for many reasons. It's actually the second Christmas since Steve and I split up, so although that's still hard emotionally and scheduling-wise, we did have last year to fall back on. But this was my first holiday as a working mother, and that, THAT, made things very difficult.

It's not like my workplace didn't recognize the season. It did, actually, far before I was ready for it. There were a number of organized gift buying efforts for needy families and needy children. There were gift swaps and holiday parties and everyone gave everyone else small token gifts...

But I wasn't buying it.

I wasn't feeling it.

I was struggling to find time to buy a tree, put up the tree, decorate the tree. I ordered holiday cards and accidentally ordered only one. I didn't know what to get anyone. Including my own children.

And I wasn't blogging.

When people asked me what the kids wanted I threw together an email and forwarded that email to a number of people. Over the years I'd developed a system over this blog where I could add to the list and delete anything I knew was purchased. That helped keep duplicates at bay...

People told me what they were getting the boys, but I was either confirming that the boys had asked for those gifts, or not hearing anything at all because all I could think about was the fact that I had decided to make 30billion cookies as gifts for everyone in the world this year...

And some people told me what they had already gotten the boys. And sometimes I already knew those were duplicates. But I wasn't entirely sure what to do about that. Do I tell the gift giver that those gifts need to be returned and something new purchased for my precious baby boys? Do I go back out myself and buy new things, even though I could barely scrape up enough time to go shopping the first time? Neither seemed like good choices, and so I let it go, reasoning that some of these items were useful to have plenty of. That the boys have two homes now so they could keep toys in two places. That we could keep things quiet and not hurt any feelings.

I also didn't have a lot of time to spend at home. One day was all I had, between work and the boys' play rehearsal. Some people thought I was crazy for attempting to make the drive home for one day, but I felt like I was failing at so many other things that I didn't want to give it up. I was trying to do everything, to see everyone...

Well, I tried not to let anyone feel slighted. I tried to keep things casual and light and non-stressful because I already had stress thickly bleeding out of my ears, but not everyone can take these things with a grain of salt. So not only did I fail in the holiday card department, the decorating department, the time-spent department, and the gift giving department, I seemed to have failed in the joy-of-the-season department and I humbly apologize to those people (everyone)  I inconvenienced and / or hurt with my lack of communication. It was a rehearsal. I'll do better next year, for the real performance.

It's just that I wasn't feeling Christmas this year. Even now, after all the gifts have been opened and the dry pine needles are raining off the branches of our tree, I feel as though I skipped it. I missed it. I never caught that Holiday Spark.

Maybe for a few moments. At church. During the Christmas Eve service when we were all singing carols in the dark, candles lit, and the director stopped playing the organ... it was just our voices in the vast old space, warm with bodies close to bodies, and a certain kind of hope and belief in new things.

Next year, things will be different.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Old Friends

So... I let this blog go by the wayside.

I didn't mean to. It wasn't an intentional thing... at first. It's just that it was getting harder and harder to write things down. I was stretching more and more to find interesting things to say. The blog... this blog... it knew everything about me already, and I'd run out of interesting things to say.

I've had a number of close friends in my life, and most of them, many of them from my 20's, I imagines I would have as close friends for the rest of my life. I imagined living in the same town, raising our children together. If one of us needed time off for a date night, or shopping, we'd simply pick up the phone. In an emergency, we could drive each other's children to and from school. Our kids would play together in our backyards. We would spend long, lazy summer nights chatting while the kids splashed in the sprinkler. I know, it sounds insane, but I honestly believed this would happen.

It's not that I ever changed my mind about that. I still love these people. I haven't hung out with many of them recently, but I like to think that, if I did, I would still love them. We would still laugh together and be kind to one another. 

One day, we just spoke to each other a little less. One day we spent a little less time thinking about each other. We started turning down invitations so that we could do other things... and then one day we forgot to invite the other person at all... Or maybe one of us got very busy and simply filled her life with other things...

You think about calling, maybe, but as the days go by it just gets more and more awkward until finally you realize that, if you did call, you probably wouldn't have anything to talk about. You need a reason to pick up the phone. And unfortunately, you don't have one.

And then suddenly you find out one of your friends has had another child and you hadn't realized it. Or you go to send holiday cards and you realize you don't know your friend's address... Maybe you try to think back to the last time you spoke and you realize it's been years. Years. 

Can you still call someone a good friend if you haven't spoken to them in years? 

I sort of have feelings like that about this blog. I used to write every day. Every single day. For years.

And then... well.. I stopped writing. I stopped knowing what to say. 

That's when I actually made the choice to stop writing.

I'm taking it back.

I'm not done writing. I miss it. I have things I would like to say.

I like to think this says something about me. I like to think it means I won't stop thinking of my old friends as good friends, and that, eventually, I can be better and call them up and spend some real time with them. It takes a little time and a little effort and, if you're me, it may take a little planning, but it's worth it.