As the major holidays approach, I find myself with mixed feelings, swathed in a layer of anxiety. There is always some “expectation” of what the holidays should be being marketed to us every day by Martha, Oprah, Rachel or Paula or perhaps some other maven of domesticity that is the hot ticket of the season. If we just decorate a certain way, or set the table festively, or handcraft all our gifts, our joy will be complete. When I was married, I really did believe that I could have it all. I did decorate, created hand-painted wrapping paper with my young son, cooked delicious meals and celebrated with family and friends.
So many things have changed. Two generations of divorce and a family chock full of depressives makes for some less than festive times. Of course my marriage collapsed during the holiday season so I always have that reminder of what was. And the loss of family members has upset the balance of what family was, so everyone seems to go their separate ways. It’s sad, but I think my grandparents were the glue that held everyone together, and now that they are gone, there isn’t anything that binds us.
I think the holidays tend to be a melancholy time of year for many people who have lost or never had family or friends with which to share it. It is very difficult for a depressed person to put his/herself out there for fear of being rejected. Some people just don’t have anything to celebrate. It sounds harsh, but it’s true.
So, I struggle on, trying to pick out useful but meaningful gifts for family members and close friends, hoping they come across as thoughtful. Maybe a few handmade things as well if I get motivated. Trying hard not to have any expectations about what the holidays should be, and just being in the moment. I might even acknowledge it this year with a few pictures. Couldn’t hurt, right?