I’m bipolor about my holidays. Part of me dreads knowing that they are approaching and part of me gets excited. I was talking to my shrink, Dave, last night and we have figured out that the holidays are the perfect time of year for me to obsess which is part of the reason I love them so much but he also noticed that I have a love/hate relationship within the obsessing and he thinks it’s because of my mother.
I admit that I have a hard time around the holidays because I seem to get lost down memory lane and the holidays were really rather festive for us. Now, it is a time of extreme loneliness and guilt as my kids don’t get the same kind of holidays that I loved so much.
Thanksgiving is coming and as I do every year, I will spend the entire day in the kitchen cooking everything home made and obsessing over every little detail just so that my finicky children can eat barely anything. It’s hard to get excited about a holiday when it will be just like any other day with the exception of way too much food. There will be no added faces to the dinner table this year and for the ten hours of cooking there will be ten minutes of eating and a huge mess to clean up.
I have a hard time with the loneliness. I know that a million people will tell me that it’s perfect what with my husband and my children and all that family togetherness but holidays to me are a lot more than staring across the tables at the same faces you stare at every night. I know I’ll try to do some fun stuff with the kids and we’ll dress up like Indians and make hand turkeys and all that shit I do with them to try to make up for the lack of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. I feel guilty for their loneliness, a feeling that has yet to ever be verified by any of them which almost makes me feel worse as they don’t seem to know what they are missing.
This year I want to truly sit down and think about all the things I am thankful for but I have turned into such a negative person that for every thing I am thankful for, I seem to have something bad to think to counter it. I fantasize at all times of how I am thankful for mediocrity but how desperate I am for things to be different. I dream full on daydreams about standing outside of a house that is mine in the chilly air looking in the windows and feeling the warmth of a family I don’t have any more except I am bitter because that family is out there each and every holiday celebrating without me or my children or husband and they have all that warmth and holiday cheer and we are alone here faking it.
Faking it. What a hell of a thing to say. After all, I AM grateful for my babies and I know that they will be the source of every smile I smile during the holidays. I am grateful that I have them in my life although I admit that I feel so guilty always wishing I could give them the world and always coming up short. Do they notice? I don’t know yet, but I fear that they do and I’m ashamed if they catch on, but all the same, they are here with me and I adore them.
I am thankful for the strange and tiny moments even when I am terrified for the big picture. Life is so uncertain and for someone like me, that is a mess in and of itself. However, when I curl up in my bed at night and hear the tiny snores of the baby next to me or when the boys come in with giant grins and jump on me, when Olivia enters pirouette-ing around the room until she collapses… those are things I am so grateful for.
Yet, I am haunted. How do I shake my ghosts?