Thursday, December 12, 2013

God DAMN, I'm trying. I went shopping with Lily today and actually bought Gibson a present at Target.
"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.
Yay me.

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. 


  1. Christmas was good as a young child and then I grew up. Years of trying hard to find the gift that would make my mother happy and although she always got the most presents, she never got the thing she really wanted, whatever the fuck that was. Surrounded by a mountain of presents, she would heave big unhappy sighs and go take a nap. It was enough to cure even the most dedicated of Christmas. I think maybe one of the reasons I raised my kids Jewish is so they would not ever be subjected to Christmas. I don't actively despise it anymore but I do not ever celebrate it. Oh, I buy my grandkids presents but they are holiday presents. I let go of all the I shoulds and the expectations. I'm much happier.

  2. Ellen Abbott- And I am so afraid that I have done the same to my children. I really am.

    Mr. Downtown- Not even close. But it was pretty cool.

  3. Mary I think it's because things are so grim at my house I had to give in to something light-filled. It won't be about gifts or anything like that for us. Just a fire a warm house and a wee spattering of fairey lights. I know you will find yourself in the eyes of your grandbabies.

  4. It is hard. I truly understand. More than you know. I'm glad you are trying.

  5. PS -agree with Rebecca's last line wholeheartedly.

  6. Oh, so much to feel in this one, Ms. Moon. I, too, have a Mother who was never happy with gifts, and I blame her as the reason I hate buying gifts. I know I can't be responsible for someone else's happiness, but I will torture myself with trying, or preferably not bother. And now, when I send her something, she never calls to say thank you. Even to this day. She does it to her grandchildren, too.

    And then there was the "very special" Christmas that she "ran away" for the weekend; that pretty much ruined it forever. Yes, demons. And as I get older, and feel/feed my own demons, I wonder/fear if I'm too much like her.

    My daughter loves holidays...lives them and tries to help me enjoy them. It's hard to un-Grinch my heart, but I do try.
    OY VEY! Thank you, Ms. Moon. I think I need to have a new Mother figure that I can light a candle to.

  7. OK so I might be off topic, but ... you have the COOLEST house.

    Krissmus Shmissmus.
    It's just another day.
    Dunno what people get so excited about.

    I mostly find it a disappointment nowadays. It's not like it was when I was a kid, when gifts and the numbers of them were thrilling.

    It was always all about the gifts, for me.
    I admit it. That's what was fun. OK, that and time off from school.

    Now the only thing I really like about it is the possibility of running into someone I haven't seen in a hundred years, because they don't live in our home town anymore and have only shown up to see family for Christmas.

    Christmas is overrated, not to mention exhausting if you push yourself to do all those g.d. "shoulds." Not me. Not anymore.

  8. I admit to loving all the shit in my house that we drag down out of the attic and put around. I complain about it and every now and then I feel a shiver or stab of hatred toward so much SHIT, but I love it more. And there's my boys. And I'm a little scary when it comes to buying presents which probably means I'm even more fucked up than you can imagine. Ultimately, I'll be glad when it's over and my house, normally so cluttered, will seem pristine in comparison.

  9. Good Lord, it sounds to me like you've done a LOT to try to get in the spirit. I'd be happy with that! So what if Baby Jesus and the rest of the nativity remain homeless for the holidays?

    I am not all that into Christmas. I got my tree, and that's as good as it's going to get around here. In fact, if I had it my way, we'd be skipping the gift thing entirely. (And I may yet have it my way.)

    Anyway, have strength, Ms Moon. The season will be behind us before you know it. :)

  10. After a childhood filled with shitty Christmases, my goal has always been to make it magical for my kids. Now that my kids are grown, I realize that I still put out that effort to make it magical for myself.
    For myself.
    Our lord and savior John Lennon sang "Whatever gets you through the night, it's alright, alright." I believe this to be the only gospel worth knowing.

  11. I've embraced that I don't do it up for Christmas. I have an invisible Christmas tree and that is it for decorations - pretend or not.

    I focus on the gathering of family. The shared meals. And that is it. I don't do any of the other shit.

    Whatever you do is OK. I hope you can get to that point like I have and know this in your heart. Whatever you do is OK.

  12. Dear Rebecca- I know. But you have that light in your heart and that really is what it's about. The lights are the best part for me anyway.

    SJ- Every year I do this, don't I? It's insane.

    Sylvia- Ah- the guilt. We live it, don't we? It is nice to have a mother-figure to light candles to. And I suppose that instead of GOD for a father-figure I have Keith Richards. Haha!

    Stubblejumpin' Gal- I have cut down on what I do to the barest minimum which has lead to a disproportionate amount of guilt. I'm insane.

    Elizabeth- Can I send you some ornaments? How about a Bad Santa? A nativity scene?

    Steve Reed- I am holding on to that knowledge. It WILL be behind us shortly.

    heartinhand- Your gospel is mine too. Whatever gets us through the night. It's all right.

    Jill- Maybe someday I'll get to that point. Maybe.

  13. I remember being disappointed once I found out there wasn't a Santa. That was a crushing blow to me as a kid. But I really enjoy much of what I do now at Christmas--we put up decorations and have enjoyed a fire almost every day. It is a good time this year.


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