"I think he'd like this," she said, pointing at some Elmo train thing and I said, "Fine," and threw it in the bottom of the cart.
There. I've started.
I bought myself stuff. How's that? I bought a shirt, an eye shadow (cheap, turquoise, waterproof), and a rug for my bathroom that I needed at the Target. I bought myself a chopping knife at the restaurant supply place after we ate lunch at the Chinese place next to it because the kids have informed me that I have crappy and inferior knives which is news to me. I thought I did okay with the ones I have, plus, I keep them sharp but now I have a restaurant-quality, ergonomic, blue-and-black-handled one.
I got home from my outing with Lily and the boys so exhausted I could barely make it to the bedroom. I slept for two hours, got up, tidied the house, did some laundry, washed some dishes, made the bed, took the trash, etc.
After all of that I thought, okay, I can do this.
I went upstairs and found my nativity scene, Bad Santa and the wreath. I put the wreath out front and I plugged in Bad Santa and his light bulb doesn't work.
I went into the library with the nativity scene and looked at the mantel which is cluttered with sacred detritus already and which has the boys' riding horse in front of it which blocks access anyway and then at a table in the library, also cluttered. I sobbed internally and set the nativity down in the hallway, overwhelmed by my lack of desire to do a damn thing with it.
Oh, poor baby Jesus.
It's the Virgin of Guadalupe's Saint Day. That I can almost handle. I went out and picked fresh camellias, I set them in vases around her. I lit candles. I even went and found some lights to put around the mirror behind her.
There you go. Here's some more.
That's my hallway altar with my carved Virgin, my turtle shells, seashells, black coral I found washed up on the beach of Cozumel and which was probably illegal to bring home. There's pictures of my kids, a vase of sea glass, also from Cozumel, a bottle of water, stones, a pinecone.
Keith Richards. My totem animal.
Can you see him?
Our Rebecca, the poet, the Madame Radish King, the Queen of Bees, the worshipper and believer in The Animal Gods, wrote a post last week about how she had tried to deny Christmas this year but that it is in her heart and so she cannot deny it and I thought about how the opposite is also true- if it is not in your heart, you cannot deny that either. I want with all of my grinchy tiny heart to embrace the good things about this season. Every year I try and every year it gets worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse.
Daddy never came for Christmas and Mama always got sick for Christmas and one year I played the Virgin in the church nativity, a blue yard of fabric draped over my head, and one year I sang, "What Shall I Give Him, Poor As I Am?" and read from St. Luke and the words which stuck with me, which rang true in my then-still bell of a heart with sweet tones was "And Mary took these words and she pondered them in her heart." I still think that is one of the most feminist lines in the Bible.
And it was okay for a long time, it was. I gave huge parties with great bowls of rich creamy eggnog and cookies I'd been baking for months and homemade rum-wrapped fruit cakes stuffed with candied everything and turkey and ham, sliced and juicy and huge buds of home-grown sensimilla wreathing the punch bowl with papers for your rolling pleasure and made flannel pajamas for my children and Hank sat on the back of the couch and recited "Twas The Night Before Christmas" from memory when he was a tiny thing and I had no idea he had that in his head but he did.
And then came the year I was fresh separated from my first husband and the children went with him on Christmas day and I spent the whole damn day (it was so cold that day) crying and cleaning the house all by myself and maybe that was when it all began to be too hard.
I don't know.
Maybe it was because John Lennon got shot in December. Any fragment, any sliver of belief I had in a benevolent god probably got murdered when John Lennon took his last breath.
Again I say- I do not know. Maybe I am just incredibly jealous of anyone who can feel Christmas in her heart. Maybe I am just missing all of the people I have loved who have loved Christmas.
Maybe I am just wishing that every baby born could be perceived as the possible Messiah whether in December or March or August.
I am trying but I am about done trying.
I have lit candles for the designated mother of God, for The Mother.
And for tonight, this cold, crisp, December night, that is all I can do.