Monday, December 06, 2010
The Adoption Grinch Lives
I can't say too much against that, because I remember feeling exactly the same way. I would frantically try to make a perfect Christmas and push down the sadness, but it always caught up with me. When there is a hole in your heart and your family, it's hard to be Ho-Ho Jolly. There is pressure enough at this time of year without the added burden of being separated from a vital part of yourself.
If anything, we try harder than most to make the Holidays fulfill the unformed wishes of the lost and taken. I know that I loved Christmas with a passion until the first one I spent without my firstborn. After that, the lights lost their sparkle, the colors seemed duller and smiles were suspect. The once-soothing candlelit church services and sweet music became drab and meaningless. Had it not been for my raised children, I wonder if I would have even made the effort. I was desperate to make their Christmases good ones, but they never reached my frustrated attempts at perfection. I spent years trying to replicate the Christmases of my childhood.
I wish I could take all my friends with me, in spirit, to the lodge in the mountains of West Virginia where my husband and I and our little Dolly will spend the week of Christmas. We will not be rushing around, decorating, buying, wrapping and worrying that things are not good enough. Our time will be spent in front of the fire, baking goodies, enjoying the view, spending some time in the hot tub and watching the weather...hopefully, snow. There will be no crowds and jostling in line for concerts and cantatas. Our music will be from our own library of favorites and we will drink egg nog by candle light on Christmas Eve without having to rush anywhere. Since life is real, we will take what comes and if those plans go awry, we will still be glad we went, glad to be together and enjoying the adventure of whatever comes.
We did this last year and it was the best personal Christmas I can remember. Never mind that we came into WV on the tail end of a blizzard, with two feet of snow on the ground. Never mind that we had to spend two days and three nights in a very, very nice motel with a fireplace, a big tree in the lobby and good food nearby until the power at the cabin was restored and the road cleared so we could get to it. We talked and laughed with fellow stranded travelers. We laughed at Rocky deciding, after two days, that it was okay to go potty on the white stuff. We took pictures and read, watched TV and ate veggie plates and cornbread from the Cracker Barrel. We availed ourselves of some hot chocolate and goodies, courtesy of the motel. The cabin was beautiful when we got there. We stashed our goodies, put our little tree up (took 15 minutes, tops) lit a fire and settled in with smiles of appreciation. We even stayed a couple of extra days.
I think that was the first Christmas that my heart no longer felt partially empty and ravaged. The scars are there and sadness is part of the Holiday package when you have lived long enough to experience life. But this private, laid-back and quietly beautiful Christmas was my best one since childhood. I don't hold the same expectations for this one because things can always happen. We found that out last year. But we will still keep it simple, private and quiet. I don't expect Christmas to be provided by Currier and Ives. I gave up on that a few years back. I think spending Christmas in Florida did that to me. But, even if there is no snow, it won't be hot and people won't be wearing shorts and tee shirts on Christmas day.
For some reasons, the platitudes of the industry and those that benefit from their work tend to fall a bit flat at this time of the year.
That's why we have made a new, personal tradition of love, adventure and peace of mind. I spent too many Holidays enduring and hurting. No more. I know where all my children are, they know I love them and that is better than I had before.
Merry Christmas, Dear Ones. Don't let the Adoption Grinch get you down.