We did it! We're not QUITE through yet (not until work starts on a normal schedule again.) But for all intents and purposes, we have made it through bulk of the dreaded HOLIDAY SEASON.
I did pretty well for Christmas... I got almost everything I asked for:
1. a train ticket to connecticut (yay sue!)
2. gift certificates for geeky places like barnes & noble
3. new shoes (okay, okay - i bought these for myself)
4. cool books (travel books, and a little Caleb Carr... and okay, i bought those for myself, too)
5. lottery tickets (i still don't know if i won yet... i'll check later)
6. new, good-smelling bath stuff (yay, pitt-people!)
7. some new fabulous clothes
8. a place to hang out and be with cool people (yay, again, pitt-people)
There are a few little things that I missed out on, like socks, and receiving the magical ability to clean up my apartment by wiggling my nose. But overall, I'd say it was a pretty okay year, considering that it really had a monumental propensity to really, truly, madly, deeply suck. For the record, divorce proceedings and the holidays do NOT taste good together.
There were a few things, however, that I received this year that I didn't ask for, including:
1. a reminder of how lonely the holidays can be when you've lost something or someone very close to you,
2. a reminder of how friends can be as supportive as your family when you need them to be,
3. a lesson that i'm stronger than i think i am, and
4. a lesson that i'm more lonely than i want to admit.
And there were a few things that I didn't get, that I realize are very important to me:
1. a hug from someone who really, really loves me,
2. a vague grasp of where i'm heading in my life,
3. vanilla ice cream with hot fudge.
I just read an inane article written by a married woman addressed to women who are single this year during the holidays. It basically said that she pines for her days of being alone, because she didn't have to worry about gift no-no's, could stay at the mall as long as she liked, avoided lame presents from lame boyfriends, and could spend the money that she saved on gifts on a spa indulgences for herself. I would agree, except that she's totally wrong.
She "pines" for those Christmas pasts, when she didn't have to worry about compromising on a tree, or not having to buy the perfect gift for her guy... she says that "once your hitched for the holidays" you simply cannot please your man anyway, so it's better if there isn't one.
I noticed that the author doesn't pine for those picturesque moments where you're microwaving a single-serving frozen pizza for your holiday lunch still in your pyjamas with your hair uncombed and your teeth unbrushed because hey, no one's here that cares how you smell. She never mentions putting on the James Bond marathon on Spike TV just to hear someone else's voice in your empty apartment. She omits the nagging thoughts of why you just weren't good enough for someone that you tried to love to stick around any more.... or what's wrong with you if there hasn't been one to love you yet.
Yea, I'll admit, I'm having a minor pity-party today. But that's kind of the point, really. One thing that I'm sure this happily-married woman chooses not to remember from her fabulous single-holidays-of-yore when she jaunted to malls and spas alone is that you are... painfully... ALONE. And as much as the holidays are about joy and happiness and peace on earth, they are also about remembering what's important. And companionship and love is important. I'm sure she wasn't skipping to her Brazilian session a-way back then, joyous that the she-male at the spa with the hot wax and masochistic cotton strips was her only holiday companion.
I'm wondering if she has a touch of the 'Christmas tree is greener on the other side' syndrome. Nowhere does she mention that the one thing that overrides all of these concerns when you're single is that nagging voice that you constantly try to play down in the back of your head... no matter how confident, self-assured, and optimistic you are, if you're a single woman during the holiday season, there's an undercurrent of fear that this will be every holiday in the future... That "alone" will become the status quo. Alone, with cats.
Being alone during the holidays sucks. It's just that simple. And yes, there are worse things, like being abused, or being hungry, or sick, or being in a horrible place like Darfur. And no, being married isn't easy... nor is finding the perfect gift (or receiving the most imperfect one.) But I've learned over the years that everyone has problems, and there is no sense trying to see whose is worse than others'. It just doesn't make any sense to compare. So don't tell me that the holidays are "better" when you're single. Cuz you're wrong.
I'd like to give a very special thanks go to the pitt-people, whose family embraced me as if I were one of their own, and treated me like everyone else - even including me in their very bizarre pajama ritual... Thanks for adopting me, even though I was the only Christmas orphan this year.