Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And Thus, It Begins

Well, it began last night, the horrible waking-up in panic that I am not ready for Christmas and it is days away.
It was a bad night.
When I'm in a play, I go through my lines to myself to get to sleep. Usually this works well but in last night's half-in-sleep performance, I kept getting stuck at one line. I say, "Annelle? Get Miss Clairee some paper. I think there's some stuck on the Frigidaire under the crawfish."
This I can say.
And then there's a line which the directors have eliminated. It is, "Here's that article on Princess Di."
I can remember that line despite the fact that I am not going to be saying it.
And then, and then...
I thought I had it but wasn't sure.
All night long I woke up and wondered.

The women in this play are amazing.
Except for me. I am the weakest link. No. Trust me.

Anyway, it wasn't just the play. I'd roll those lines over and over in my brain-palm until it was dirty with the effort and then the panic of Christmas.
I haven't sent cards. I haven't gotten all the gifts. I haven't planned a Christmas Eve supper. I haven't...
Done shit.
It was like my mind couldn't pick out the worst thing to worry about- Christmas or the play and so it kept bouncing back and forth between them.

"under the crawfish...."
I'm not ready. Cards, gifts, wrapping. A tree. We don't even have a tree.

Fuck me.
I hate this.

Why does the thought of getting out those old and cherished ornaments put me in a funk so deep I want to declare insanity and go check into a facility?
Because the babies who made those precious ornaments are gone, grown up, and I can't hold them in my hands without mourning them.
It makes me cry to think about it.
Every ornament a memory and me? I'd just as soon not have to plunge so far back down. Christmas was not always good.
Never did enough, never made it magic.

Babies, oh, babies.

The ornaments Lynn got me. She's gone. The ornaments Sue got me. She's gone. The little Chinese couple that ride in the canoe was given to me by my beloved first mother-in-law. She's gone.

Instead of remembering with a smile on my face and one tiny tear of emotion, I want to sob.

The dreams last night. Michelle came to see me. She was as slender as you'd imagine, she wore yellow and reminded me of a lily, so pretty. We were camping rough by the water. I do not know why.

We bought a restaurant in St. Augustine. It was New Years. I was so tired and I kept having to ask questions, even though all I was doing was washing dishes. May knew everything. Everything. Owen was in my arms.
Then a small black mouse was trying to bite me in a cabin. He turned into a rat and his teeth were fierce.
Then he turned into a kitten and ran to his mother.

Oh what. What, what does it mean?


Christmas panic.

And see- Kathleen, who has cancer, who is in treatment for cancer, who is tired and worn-out and worrying about everything has shopped and written cards and made beautiful bags to put her presents in and sent packages all the way to Europe and who-knows-where-else, and put up a tree and probably baked too. She is knitting, she is sewing, she is filled with love and accomplishment.

Me. I sit here, healthy as a damn horse, whimpering in the corner.

I was happy as a goose yesterday, filling the crockpot, doing laundry, going over lines.
Today the goose realizes that the celery and the nuts in the kitchen are going inside of her. Very soon.

Children- come and take these ornaments. They are yours.
Children- tell me how to make Christmas magic enough and how not to ruin it.
Children- do you know I am so sorry I am like this?
Children- I love you so much that I am paralyzed when it comes to Christmas.

The rat bites down and I look at my finger and there are scratches but no blood. The rat becomes cat, a rooster walks into the road and he does not cross to the other side.

under the crawfish...

Jesu, joy of man's desiring.

Hello, Michelle, hello.

Children, forgive me. Husband, forgive me. Friends, forgive me.



  1. You're very, very much like my own mother when it comes to Christmas, but I wish I knew WHY she was. At least your children know you so well, so deep down, that they understand and I promise you, they don't punish or resent you for not making it "magic." Honey, you've made their whole lives magic from the sound of it.

    I do wish I could enjoy the whole Christmas thing more. I hope I do when I have kids.

  2. Oh Ms. Moon, I could have written this post if I'd had the words. All I have are the feelings, the carbon copy of yours, and the gratitude to you for helping me understand so clearly what I'm feeling. I never did enough, never made it special enough. I know that feeling! The thing is, I didn't know what else to do. Maybe I'm just born without the make-Christmas-magical gene. And yet, and yet. Do we really think our children have minded? They get the mother they get, and that's life, and as a mother, I have to say Ms. Moon you are way more wonderful and cherished than a hundred Christmases, I know it, I really do. So maybe it wont be the perfect Christmas we have made up in our heads. And maybe we will mourn the years we can't get back, when the kids were small and we wish we had done...what, exactly? I don't know. If it helps, Ms. Moon, I am in the same funk as you are. This, too, will pass. One foot in front of the other. And thank you.

  3. I think of first things first. That is all that I can do. The expectations of Norman Rockwell Christmas are a myth. Do what you can. Leave the rest for another day. I like that I am a human being not a human doing.

  4. SJ- Thank-you. I don't know why we think Christmas is going to be so damn amazing. It's a myth. You will enjoy it when you have children more. When they're little, especially.

    Angella- I swear, that made me cry, dear woman. For some reason, knowing that you feel the same way just gives me such comfort. Thank-you for taking the time to write such a beautiful comment. Thank-you for telling me that truth.

    Syd- Yes. Human "being." I'm trying.

  5. Hey mamamamacita, you don't have to do the Christmas thing. I've made presents for everyone that I am excited to give, and that's enough for me. You can make the delicious chicken salad and May and Jess and I will make Christmas morning breakfast while you and Lily run around with Owen. The lights are up all year, so that is taken care of. Christmas tree? Who needs it! You've got live oaks. Leave the memories in the box this year, no biggie. Let's dig out the stockings, those are fun, and put a tangerine in the toe and a toothbrush in the top and call it good. We'll play the Game of Things ("spaaaced out") and try to recite Twas the Night Before Christmas on the 24th and at least you can sleep with all your kids in the house. Enough people for all the dogs! We are old enough to fill in the bits we want and ignore the rest. La-di-da, fa-la-la.

  6. DTG- I love you so much. I can't even tell you.
    Thank-you. You are my son, my blessing.
    We shall make it fine.

  7. DTG made me cry with the beauty of his love. What a guy and the three girls, too. You are a magical mother all the time; your children are clear evidence of that.

    I hate those nights like the one you described. All that churning and tossing and turning. I do love your dream about opening a restaurant in St. Augustine, though!

    Why we put all this pressure on ourselves to make everything perfect at Christmas, I just don't know. Kathleen is the only one I know of who does it with such grace. She is indeed remarkable.

    Well, the eve and the day will come and your family will be together in all their loving ways, delighting in little Owen and each other. That's all that really counts!

  8. Ah, I'm in the corner with you Mary.


    Why not get new decorations this year? We're only meant to keep the things that make us happy, bring us joy.

    Agh, baking decorating cards etc. And I can't get my work done! There's too much to do!!


    I wanted to do somethign for you to but maybe yuo'll get it some time in the summer. At least it's not seasonal this time.


  9. You wrote what I am afraid to say, write, or think. I use to adore all the holiday fun when the kids were little. Gingerbread houses, making my Grandmother's Sugar cookies with the kids, music filled the house every blasted day till Christmas.

    I have tried. But since my Papa died 11 years ago it hasn't been easy. It wasn't his death it was being left with my mom and her crazy cloak of doom when the holidays came round.

    While I can banish those dark ways of hers now simply because she lost the power to utter or botch it it is feeling like I can't get around my kids...Ryan is 14 and really doesn't want to listen to any Christmas music ( I still play it), youngest daughter is in a tizzy with me, middle daughter is in her own world and oldest is not in the area living.

    I want to relive those innocent times of the joy a child sees of all things Christmas! I lovingly look at children of others to catch that glimpse that remember from my own. Sigh.....

    So far I am really trying to get into the spirit. I have the big family party this weekend which I have thought about but honestly haven't got in order. Thank goodness for Costco where I will buy food for the occasion.

    If we lived nearby Mary we could drink a cup of cheer to each other and I would gladly help decorate the tree!

  10. Ms. Moon, what a wonderful son you have. His comment made me tear up. See, you've already made magic of the most important kind.

  11. I'm with you Mary, so much pressure it makes me cry sometimes. Christmas cards really trip me up. I cry if I get them but didn't send them, I cry if I send them but don't get any back from those I remembered this time. I haven't written a single card this year, and it's too late now.

    I love what DTG said. It does not have to be a big deal. Cook some food for the people you love and let the rest go.

    I wish you sweet dreams, I know how precious and elusive good sleep is these days.

    There's nothing to forgive you for either. You must remember that.

  12. Christmas is a children's holiday. And, with your kids mostly grown and Owen a toddler - this is your year off - Owen won't notice if you skip Christmas, at this point he could even be afraid of Mall Santa vs. Evil Santa and he won't put any demands on you.
    You need one new ornament that says "Martha Stewart doesn't live here." Hang that on your door instead of a wreath.
    And then drink an adult beverage of your choice.

  13. I hate Christmas too but I put on some kind of show for the children. Well, mainly I make Babes do it. I sit on the sidelines and cringe. But I try. I hate it with a vengeance though. Trying to see it through the eyes of the children helps a bit. It's too much stress! (What did your mother do at Christmas? Mine would go crazy over the tree. "We" would decorate it, which meant the children sat and got shouted at while she did everything, then we got to hang one golden bauble, which she then re-hung because it wasn't equidistant from the other baubles.)

  14. As for making it special, I'm so glad Babes is completely into it. He does decorations, stuffed turkey, the lot. All I have to do is pick out presents and turn up. I am certainly the luckiest girl in the world.

  15. When I get like that, I make lists. It helps me so much. Once my brain sees my panic thoughts written down on paper, it seems to feel it can stop accosting me with second by second bulletin points and calms down. Then I am more able to look at each thing calmly and clearly and decide if it's a 'let it go' thing or something I want to take action on.

    There is this simple profound saying...'life is for the living'. I heard it years ago and it first struck me as brutal. Years later, fears later, it strikes me as the sane way to approach reality. I hope so much my children can have that deeply rooted in them, so that they can better balance grief or loss with the reality that for the living. Sometimes it helps me to think of that saying and meditate on the present moment until I shine it up and it gleams brightly enough to soothe me.

    Remember what I tell Lola and myself- breathe in 3 seconds through your nose, 5 seconds out the mouth, repeat ten or twenty times. And feel the love from me.


  16. Yes, that DTG Dear Son has it right. Pick and chose a few of your favorite things to do and let those "kids" (who are all grown up now) help with the parts they like best.

    Some years, when things have gotten ahead of me, I have sent out New Year's or even Chinese New Year's cards. It is never to late to send a card to say hello to friends. They are welcome any time of year. And sometimes the presents go out after the first Christmas wave, in re-cycled christmas wrap, and people enjoy them whenever they get there.

    Deep breathing is needed to birth the new year. All will be well in the arms of your Dear Family. x0 N2

    PS Loved your dream and the painting you chose to go with it!

  17. You're not alone in all of this, Ms. Moon. Call it a day. Your son had great advice; your friends either sympathize or empathize. Pick a charity and give away twenty bucks or something in lieu of any presents at all. And finally, rest easy. Whether you had cancer or were as healthy as a horse, I do believe that you might just be one of those people that doesn't do Christmas. And that's just fine.

  18. Haven't done a damned thing. I don't care. I am going to celebrate Beethoven's Birthday tomorrow then buy the stuff so my son can make a lasagna on Christmas and that's it. I have no money I have no list I got nothing but some days off from work and books to read and cats to snuggle and beaches to tend to in my odd way.

    ps. I can't believe I got through this post without using the F word next to the Christmas word.

  19. Oh Mama! Hank is right. And I said we could decorate the tree on Christmas Eve but we don't even have to do that, because you would probably be the one to undecorate it and that just sucks. We will eat the pizza, we will play the games.
    Also, I do not remember a single Christmas that wasn't magical. I have no bad Christmas memories at all. You did that, you know. I love you so so so so so so much.

  20. SJ- Yes he is.

    Lulumarie- I know. You're right. Owen WILL be here and can you imagine? It will all be fine.

    Jo- You better not do one thing for me! I already love you with all of my heart and you have SO much to take care of. Bless you, baby. I wear my tights with joy.

    Ellen- Well, thank god for Costco is what I say. And you know what? Here we are, and we are helping each other, even if we can't actually touch each other. This makes me so grateful I can hardly say it.

    Angella- It's so true. I am so lucky.
    Damn. I am.

    Mel- Exactly on the Christmas cards- which is worse? To send or not?
    Either way, I am going to be okay with it. I swear I am.

    Lucy- Martha does not live here, INDEED! Okay. I will take at least some of your advice. Love you, dear.

    Mwa- Yes. You are very lucky. As am I. Isn't it funny how we're so similar in so many ways?

    Maggie- Life IS for the living. And no one really needs to care how I do Christmas. If it's okay with my kids, then it's okay.
    I love you darling. I am so glad you are feeling well enough to give me breathing instructions WHICH I NEED AND WILL USE!
    Kisses to Mr. Curry on down to Ever. And don't forget yours. Love you.

    N2- You're right. Whenever the cards get there, that is soon enough. (Really?)

    Elizabeth- You made me think about sending a flock of chickens to a village somewhere for my neighborhood's Christmas present. They would all approve.
    Thank-you, again, for inspiring me.

    Radish King- I believe you have it figured out. And I am a bit jealous. I will celebrate Beethoven's birthday tomorrow with you and honey- please know this- the word FUCK is used with delight here at blessourhearts. By me, anyway. Fucking Christmas- does that help?

    May- We shall let it be what it is. You made my heart so happy today, talking to you while I was following Owen around and changing his poopy diaper.
    You are the very skin of my hands, the very blood of my heart. All of you children are.

  21. All I remember is magic....and lots of love.

  22. It goes without saying that I love your kids. Everyone here does.

    I don't have a Costco. So now I am crushed. I have to do WITHOUT Costco. I don't know how I'll make it. There's another problem for ya. I'm going to lay awake tonight, wondering how I will possibly make it. Goddamn it.

    We DO NOT have Costco in Buttfuck.

  23. As if I needed SOMETHING ELSE to be depressed about! Motherfucker.

  24. Lily- I love you so much. You and your sisters and brother and oh yes, your husband and son- you are my heart.

    Ms. Bastard-Beloved- When you come to visit, we shall go to Costco and eat everything they have out for samples. EVERYTHING! It'll be lunch! Then we'll go to the liquor store. They don't have samples, unfortunately.
    This will give you something to look forward to- our lunch at Costco.
    And if you want, I can buy you hundreds of paper towels. Whatever. It's yours.

  25. @Ms. Moon - We are so similar. I feel it every time I read your posts. And I love feeling that. It means there is hope for me.

  26. Mwa- There is nothing but hope for you, lovely mother. I promise.


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