Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1, 2012

It’s the holidays, Poppets, and you know I love them! Halloween through New Year’s, I’m giddy. This year, though…this year was looking unusual. According to David’s schedule, we were supposed to be on the road for all of them: October 31st, November 22nd, December 25th, and December 31st-January 1st. And not on the road, as in over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go. On the road, as in living in a hotel room in some small town in northern Idaho, while he worked every day but Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We talked about me getting a ticket to one of my sisters’ homes, and doing Thanksgiving or Christmas with them. I nixed that idea. As much as I love my sisters, “family holiday” means being with David. Wherever we are, so long as we’re together, I’m happy.
Then, the day before we were scheduled to leave, he got a call that the site he was to take over had been closed for the winter. He didn’t have to go to work until early January. Um…yay?

I mean, I am the queen of the unusual holiday. I have fed over a dozen people. I have fed two. I have served at soup kitchens. I have been a hostess, and a guest. I have eaten my own recipes, and dishes I had never seen before. I have even turned up the heat and poured daiquiris for misfit toys. Yes, I had managed to embrace the idea of spending Thanksgiving and Christmas in a hotel room in Idaho, with nothing but a mini-fridge, a microwave, and the specific days off.
Now, we get the holidays at home, but at what cost? Like most people, when David doesn’t work, he doesn’t get paid. Sure, there is a token salary to keep him on payroll, but it’s really just that – a token salary. With less than a day’s notice, we were facing somewhere between six and eight weeks without a real paycheck. And those weeks include not only the holidays, but his birthday. And my mother’s birthday. And approach our wedding anniversary. And, oh, by the way, we’ve just moved so we have a new apartment to set up, plus slightly higher rent with people who don’t know us, so have no goodwill toward us. And, and, and…
And, my dear David looks at me and smiles and says “We get to have the holidays together. In our home. They haven’t laid me off. We can decorate.” He pointed to his computer, and added, “There’s so much free stuff to do here over the next two months!” When I looked into his eyes, he was genuine. This wasn’t an act, meant to make me feel better, or to convince himself it was okay. He was truly embracing – was thankful for – this turn of events.
So, I thought about it. We’ve been worse off. Far worse off. We’ve spent the holidays apart. Driving in dangerous snowstorms. Flying in treacherous weather. Broke. Unemployed. Homeless. Truthfully, I was shocked. Shocked at myself. Shocked at how quickly I had forgotten how far we’ve come. How blessed we are. You might even say, if you wanted to be emotional about it, that my Grinch heart grew three sizes that day.
Do me a favor this year, Poppets. Remember to find the gifts that may come in unexpected packaging. Don’t stress if it’s not all perfect. Or even at all how you’d planned it. Embrace the bumps that will come this month. Enjoy the imperfections, and even the setbacks. It’s the holidays. Wherever you are. Whatever you’re doing. Whomever you’re with. Decorate, even a little. Find the free stuff. Look at the world with a sparkle in your eye. If this year is better than last year, or turns out to be worse than next, who cares? It’s now. It’s this holiday. It’s now. It’s a blessed time, whatever you celebrate. So stay here. Stay in this moment. And enjoy this holiday season, whatever it brings.
Until next month, Poppets, take care of you.

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