Saturday, December 10, 2011

Comfort And Joy

Dear Jo sent me this as she knows how much I love Bill Murray and hate Christmas. Add that up and this is pretty much the perfect greeting.

This ignoring Christmas thing is going pretty well for me. I have no guilt about it, well, mostly, and I am looking on at the hysteria with a bemused expression on my face wondering why we don't ALL just say no to the ridiculousness of it all. I mean, if you love putting up a Christmas tree, well then, do it and enjoy the hell out of it. If you don't, fuck it. If you have a way to celebrate which is joyful and meaningful to you, then that is a beautiful thing and be grateful and if you don't, well I'm here to tell you that it is A-Okay.

I'm looking at it this way- I did Christmas for my children, not for me. They are grown up and can do Christmas for themselves which allows me to finally and at last, step away from a situation which causes me mostly depression and pain. Thank goodness my husband doesn't really care, one way or the other. But if I don't eat one Christmas cookie, much less bake a bunch of them, I'll be perfectly fine.

Man, I used to go all out. My first husband and I used to throw a wingdinger of a Christmas party. I'd make eggnog that would knock your socks off and bake and freeze cookies for months. I'd cook a turkey, a ham, make a fruit salad big enough to fit into the engine compartment of a DC-10. I made and decorated cookies specifically to hang on the tree. I made fruitcakes in early November and wrapped them tenderly in rum-soaked cheesecloth and set them to ripen in bright tin containers. I wrote Christmas letters and sent cards. I made gifts. I bought gifts. I drove five hours to Winter Haven on Christmas days so that we could share the children with two grandparent-homes and still have Christmas of our own.
Yeah, boy. That was fun.
Fuck it, fuck it, fuck it.

Am I going to be sad to wake up in Cozumel on Christmas morning to see that beautiful water chuckling against the beach instead of seeing Owen's eyes light up at all of the booty underneath the tree?
I seriously doubt it.
Does that make me a bad grandmother? A bad mother?
No, it does not. I am here almost 365 days a year, being the best mother and grandmother I know how to be and if not being there on Christmas morning makes me less of a grandmother then so be it.
I'll be less.
I'll take it.

I might make the traditional Christmas Eve dinner Moon chicken salad and give that to Lily before I go. I wouldn't mind doing that. And that's about as much of tradition I care to do.

Ah-lah. I'm still not feeling well and it's another overcast chilly day here in North Florida. The sort of wet-chilly that gets in the bones and settles there. The sun is a milky disk behind the clouds and does nothing at all for warmth or cheer. I am going to rest today and perhaps get out my old sewing machine and do some repair work on clothes I want to take to Cozumel. Perhaps.
I'm still plowing through Swamplandia! but it is not making me happy. Definitely surrealism. I get enough of that in my dreams, thank-you very much, but I do appreciate a fine writer and so I'll keep going with it, I suppose.

It's one of those days and I am thinking of the Myth of Mary, Mother of Jesus and how unfair it is that not only have we created the story that she gave birth unattended in a stable (and I am sure that the number of women who have given birth unattended in less-than-perfect circumstances is legion) but we have insisted that she had to witness her son's death and then go on to become a goddess herself to whom we go with every sort of prayer and heart-wish and how saying her rosary is a punishment and how confusing all of this is and how I am NOT a goddess, my heart always in my hands in offering, but am a woman, a real one, a mother, a wife. As much as I love my images of the Holy Mother I also resent them because even in her feminine guise, it somehow seems to me that there is more than the whiff of the patriarchal in the insistence of her pureness, her never-ending patience and giving and eternal suffering.
This is what a real woman should be, religion tell us. The Madonna is the example to which we should aspire.
And if we are not, do not, then what are we?
The whore?
Well, we can be both and not perfect at either but able to choose which and when and where and how.

Does any of this make sense?
I doubt it.

I am Mary but I am not THE Mary and I am the mother and I am the wife and I am mostly just the woman who lives now and will someday die. I have done Christmas and this year I will not.

I will find my own magic and gratefully so and the world will go on just fine and the wrapping paper in that tiny room under the stairs in my house can be used by the mice for nests for their babies as far as I am concerned and I am just so glad not to be feeling the need to be out in the marketplace buying trinkets and stuff that no one needs and resenting the enforced cheer of the canned carols and bottled snow and I am no good at either giving or receiving gifts, having already been given more than anyone's share of bounty in the form of this life, this family, this love and of that, I can give continuously back in my own imperfect, human, womanly way and this is what I plan to do until I cannot do it any more.

Beans and rice. Sky and water. Man and woman. I will celebrate all of that which is human and ours to enjoy.

Comfort and joy. For me this year, not to be sought in places I know I will not find it.

And that is the truth.


  1. We took off one Christmas when I couldn't take my family and their shit any more. We took the kids with us to Acapulco and spent Christmas on the beach with Santa parasailing overhead throwing candies to the kids. Fabulous. It was the very best thing.

    There is far too much hoopla. I don't care about spending the money. But finding the right gift for everyone is impossible at any price. No one waits for Christmas to get what they want. So how can you thrill them?

  2. I have to say that everything you say makes sense to me. I think it is such a strain for young families to have to go to the kids' grandparents house. I think families with kids need a break and should just celebrate with extended family on alternate days--unless everyone is happy about the hectic traveling.
    Wow you really did go all out when the kids were little! I am sure so many adult children would be over the moon to have you for a mom/grandma and be there for them all year and then let them do what makes them happy on C-mas day and you happy. As long as you and Mr. Moon are on the same page it sounds fantastic to me.
    I don't get the desperation people have to have everything so perfect and like a Rockwell painting on that one day. I say, I have had my kids' glee with the tree and C-mas day and one day if my kids have kids perhaps I can visit or vice versa on an alternate weekend. Your choices make perfect sense.
    And yes, everything about the Mother of Jesus is patriarchal to me too.
    P.S. One of my midwives told me she loves when she sees artwork depicting the birth that includes a midwife. Cuz that would have happened--word word have gotten out to call over the area's midwife. But you know it would have included another important woman in the story.......

  3. Perhaps the Winter Solstice means more to people who live in colder, darker places? Because I love the idea of lights and food and celebrating the fact that we're halfway through and we're not dead of starvation yet. The holly and the ivy...

    It's perfectly good to opt out of it though, it's a fine idea. In fact, you're right, what better way to celebrate the winter than from a warm sunny beach :)

  4. BTW, I love your cardinal photo!!!! What is in his mouth?

  5. I have not done christmas ever since I threw off christianity several years after I moved out of my parent's home and I have never ever felt guilty about it. I do not believe in any of the christian myths and dogma. I do not accept the virgin or whore duality of women that patriarchy has invented. I am a full range human female and the only thing that makes me different from men is my sexual reproduction organs and they do not determine my destiny. We are all goddesses.

  6. word verification is "symoched"! And that is what I would like to do to you right now....symoch ya !

    You take everything that is in my head and turn it in to sense and lay it out in the most "human" way possible. And I put that word in quotation marks because you said to someone the other day that they were such a better HUMAN BEING than are the best damned BEING - HUMAN...EVER! Not that we're comparing...but damn, woman, I LOVE listening to you.

    I have no idea why you try to write novels when the best thing I can imagine reading is "Being Mary". Other people are more poetic, more academic, more inspirational...owlala...but you are the voice of a section of society that doesn't have much of a voice. In particular, women, who think from their heart/gut and eschew the heavily traveled norm for a road that actually connects to something!! Something stripped down to gleaming TRUTH. So Beautiful.

    I would gladly spend money, real money, for a book to hold in my hands that contained all these incredible "Maryisms" that you share with us. You really are one of a kind, the best kind. And don't be modest.....just take it. You get me through the day girl...thank you!!!

  7. All I know is December 22 is the shortest day of the year and after that they get longer. That makes me happy.
    Christmas only means Cozumel is calling you.
    It is hard for me to imagine how anyone could really think Mary was a virgin. Obviously she was just another woman and mother, but the statutes and art work of her image are fantastic with all their color and magic. Perhaps she represents the goddess within or the woman within.

  8. Jeannie- I agree and Christmas in Acapulco sounds like a dream.

    Michele R- I have often thought of that too- the midwife. Even if it was just the inn keeper's wife. SOME women would have been there with her. And yeah, that damn Norman Rockwell. He had no idea what unachievable fantasies he was instilling in all of us. I think the cardinal has a seed in his mouth.

    Jo- I can get behind the solstice but you're right- here it's not such a big deal.

    Ellen Abbott- You are my hero! Yay!

    liv- I was thinking today about how sometimes I feel I should be "funnier" or "better" for my readers and then it hit me- I don't get paid for this. And of course I want very much for people to enjoy coming here but the bottom line is that I write this stuff for me and if people like it, then I am not only thrilled, but amazed as well. Thank-you, sugar. Thank-you.

    Rubye- Hell, I must have at least two dozen representations of the virgin in my house and I have written about how I hate calling her a virgin because WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK is so great about being a virgin and hell, of course a virgin didn't get pregnant. She is the goddess for me and I don't even believe in that, either. But sort of. You know. I know you do.

  9. i feel grateful for these holidays, because it was at this time a year ago that i found you and elizabeth and dishwasher and rebecca and deirdre and maggie may, and you all helped me get through the stress of the holidays last year, more than you can imagine, and then you have helped me get through this year, again more than you can imagine, so in a weird way, i welcome this season, it reminds me of how much richer my life is because of you. i am grateful for you in my life mary moon. i associate you with this season now, and it is indeed a comfort and a joy. the irony!

  10. Hi I really like ur blog it would mean a lot if you could check mine out and if ur interested in following each other let me know of follow me and ill follow you back :)

  11. The only person who ever gave me shit about not having a tree was a self-loathing Republican gay man. He was really into what the Chamber of Commerce Christians think.

    I said if they want to put up a tree, they can come over and do it but I didn't want it dying in my house and I didn't have a place to store all the ornaments.

    Mary couldn't have been alone. And why in the world is she more celebrated for her suffering than for the joy of her. We as a culture really fear joyful women.

  12. Great photo! you know he makes Vodka now right? Nice bottle.

  13. I like your thoughts. It is another day and this year will be peaceful. I am so glad for that.

  14. Angella- Really? It's been a year? Oh my. I am SO glad you found us. Isn't it wonderful how we find each other and recognize each other immediately as family of some sort?

    khloegold- I thought this was spam but then I see that you do have a blog and thanks for visiting but I'm not really into make-up that much.

    Jaye- That last sentence- SO TRUE! Why IS that? Jeez.
    Did that guy come put up a tree for you? Doubt it!

    Ms. Fleur- I'll have to check that out!

    Syd- I HOPE this year is peaceful. Lord, I do.


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