Our holiday was perfectly fine. The food was great, the family was all there, etc. But I feel like there was a lackluster veneer between me and everyone else. I’m sure part of that is depression over the menstrual period I’ve been having for two solid months as it sucks all the good out of me. Part of it was probably slight guilt over my mockery of magical memories. And part of it is some sadness because I miss people.
So I’m using those good old therapy skills to make a list of things that were stellar this year.
First, the discussion about hysterectomies. Five of us cisgender women ages 47 to 85 had a frank, laughter-filled conversation about menstruation and doctors and pain and surgeries. It made me feel a lot better. And appreciate that I’m not facing any such procedure as a single mother with a 3-year-old to care for. Dear God.
Second, I talked with Laura’s brother about writing. He’s an actual writer. I told him about my opportunity to write a second piece for PublicSource and he said all the right things. It was validating and cool.
Third, our niece was making her own version of the Stranger Things ‘ABC’ board for her bedroom. I was slouched on the sofa watching her and making chit-chat. She kept forgetting the alphabet and we were both laughing as we repeatedly sang it. Her D turned into more a treble clef, but she handled it with aplomb. I think given her interest in fashion and set design, she might go down a different path in musical theater than she imagines. That’s the glory of being 11.
Fourth, Vi. Vi is the mother of Laura’s sister-in-law and she is one of the best people I’ve ever known. I love talking with her, she tells great stories and is so frank. Last year at Thanksgiving, she mentioned that walking around in her stockinged feet was unsteady and she needed to get no-slip socks. I took note and on Christmas Day, Laura and I presented her with a big bag of non-slip socks in lot of loud and bright colors. She wears them to every holiday. So either it was a great gift or she’s just that awesome enough wear our present when she sees us. Unfortunately, she did not drop any such nuggets this year. Also, did I mention she watches MSNBC 24/7? Ha!
Fifth, our nephew successfully served two rounds of appetizers and beverages on rollerblades. He was good enough that we didn’t even wince or flinch. I told him that was a skill that could help pay for college. To mix it up a little, he switched to the scooter and we had a nice chat about the desirability of affixing a basket to the front for his delivery needs Then I mentioned we have a big empty parking lot behind our house (we all live in the City) and he was all set to come over to visit. That day.
I’m smiling now because the act of writing down a list of moments that resonated with me remind me of how fortunate I am to be part of this family and celebrate important dates with them.
I’m thankful for these moments even while I suddenly miss my own family deeply this year. But I cannot give in to the lure of sentimentality. Appreciate the family that you have. Embrace the moments you experience now. Enjoy the turkey and the apple pie.
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