So, Christmas is over! Well, paused temporarily. At my house, we had the big Christmas dinner, and now my parents are cleaning up (because I cooked), and I am writing this
This was a really good Christmas for me. Traditionally, my entire life, I have a big sobbing break down at some point on Christmas day. The only two times I have not had a sobbing break down were the year I was ten and very nauseauted so I spent the whole day trying not to throw up, and the year I was 16 and had my wisdom teeth out 5 days before Christmas. As an adult, I have learned to have the sobbing breakdown in private. You know, everyone opens presents, and then I go for a walk, or go back to my apartment, and gently cry the stress away, and then return feeling lots lots better. It’s not like I’m miserable or anything, you understand, it’s just the massive build up and strain of the holiday always explodes out as tears and then I feel good again.
Anyway, this year, as of my writing this at 9pm, NO TEARS!!!! Probably because expectations were so low this year. Not just that it was only me and my parents at my place, but slow shipping meant presents might or might not arrive on time or might or might not be available at all, dinner was always going to be whatever was in the freezer and not some perfect planned menu, we didn’t have to kill ourselves getting to the church service on time for my parents to sing, and it wasn’t the culmination of a million present exchanges and parties and this and that and the other thing for a whole month. My parents came over last night, we had salad on our laps while watching two virtual church services (my parents had a song in the first one, and were part of the candlelighting in the second). We started a Netflix series, Voices of Fire, and then went to bed pretty early. I woke up when the dog jumped on me (I was sleeping on the floor of the living room), took him for a walk, answered y’all’s blog comments, made myself coffee, and then my parents woke up. I crawled into bed with my Mom and showed her the nephew photos my sister had just texted me, then we all stumped out of bed, had coffee, chatted, and eventually went “oh right, we should open some presents”.
I got my parents a whole bunch of used Doonesburys which they immediately started reading, plus two board games. My parents got me the essential oils purifier I asked for (oo, maybe that’s why I am so calm!) and some bath stuff, and a friend dropped off a little gift for me a few days ago that I saved and it turned out to be earrings! And my sister sent a present for each of us which was wonderful (for example, my Mom got a Chance the Snapper embroidery kit). And that was it. Okay, it was still a ton of presents, and it still took us about 3 hours to open them all, but it was all just little fun stuff, nothing big and obligatory shipped from distant relatives, or some super expensive rare thing we asked for well in advance and HAD to have it (I think last year I got a new fancy leather laptop case, for example).
After presents, we all read for a while with a fire going on the television, then my Mom took a nap and I took the dog out for a walk and swung by the Halal Burger for lunch. We ended up there last Christmas too, just in desperation because we were out and hungry and they were open. I guess it’s a tradition now, because we’ve done it twice! Anyway, really good burgers, and they do phone orders and quick safe pick-up with only one person allowed in the store at a time. I came back, we ate burgers, watched another episode of Voices of Fire, and then went for our long Christmas walk. Worst part of the day, halfway through I got blisters so I limped a bit on the way home. But then I took my shoes off and was fine. Finished Voices of Fire (SO GOOD! Like Queer Eye, but with gospel music), Mom and Dad cleared off the card table and I quickly made our hodge-podge freezer dinner (frozen fish, frozen quinoa with vegetables, left over salad). And now I am sitting in front of the fake fire writing this while Dad fixes everything that is broken in my entire apartment. I don’t even know what he is working on now, he just wandered through looking for thin-but-not-too-thin wire.
Rest of the evening plan, board game, then some light funny thing to watch before bed, then bed.
It’s an odd year. I didn’t have my big sobbing breakdown, but you know, I kind of miss it? There’s a sort of low feeling to the day, like maybe expectations were too low somehow. I’m in the moment, I’m grateful for what I have, but I wish I felt the bravery and ambition to hope for more. Even if that ends in heartbreak. Heck, even something as simple as showing my fun little sock gifts at the office (I got a handheld pinball game!), I miss looking forward to that.
Oh, and Albie Dog had a GREAT Christmas!!!! He got to wake me up by jumping on the floor bed at 7am, and then he got to sleep under a blanket on the couch for 3 hours while all his favorite people gathered around him, and occasionally woke him up to give him presents.
Here he is getting his new squirrel toy I bought him:
Here he is getting his new pretzel toy my friend Dina bought him:
Here he is getting his Christmas Cookie:
(if I were to have a sobbing breakdown today, it would probably be over the fact that NO ONE IN MY FAMILY CARED ENOUGH TO GET ALBIE DOG A PRESENT!!!!)
Anyway, that’s my Christmas. Calmer and smaller and simpler than usual, and yet somehow I miss the emotional peaks.