I wanted so desperately for this holiday season to be filled with a steady infusion of joy and light. I intended on administering to my own spirit an IV drip of warmth; tradition; love for life; amity; creativity and the driving force of altruism drawn from the holiday world around me. But this year, more so than any before it, has been fickle, changeable which has led to an overbearing, disconcerting sense of disappointment. It began with the loss of music (which stings especially badly when your heart longs for Christmas songs) and continued on with little inconveniences like a newly unreliable connection to the internet (caused by a sudden incompatibility between our particular router and the internet provider we subscribe to); an irreparable and obtrusive series of scratches on the surface of the Wacom tablet I rely on for illustrating ( which now makes my lines and edges look like my two year old drew them); two strings of burnt out Christmas lights which were absolutely not written into the list of expenses for this pay cycle and without which make the house look gloomy; a printer nearly drained of its ink (also not in the budget to replace- but, it is something I am in need of); an on demand exercise channel I use to find fitness inspiration is magically gone from my cable line up; an absence of computer disk space which was eaten by the boys' gluttonous downloads and applications (and which keeps me from saving any of my work); the wallet which was stolen; the copious flow of green snot spilling from the girls' noses; the realization that this is the first year I have not made any money and I will not be able to take my husband out for his birthday dinner after Christmas; the realization that once again, another year has nearly come to a close and our dang piano still has not been tuned and the front stairs are still crumbling, and the sink in the kitchen is still backing up and the dog's hair is woefully overgrown. I need to make the list- the list of crappy things- because when I read over that long- run-on- sentence I realize, once again, I am foolish to believe that I have it bad at all. I make another list of as many tragic and devastating occurrences that could have easily been swapped out for any one of my complaints. I keep the scary list in my head because I am too superstitious to share- for fear of those horrible possibilities actually befalling my family.
It's just that I placed too many expectations on the season without taking the time to map out the route which would best help me arrive at the feeling I wanted to hold onto. I forgot that sometimes a rosy outlook takes some effort. I forgot to take stock in the one constant I can rely on- on any given day:
Oops, that's not it- although there is a steady supply of laundry in our house. This is what I am talking about:
Love. When I let the crappy things stick to me and make me reek of lugubrious grossness, all I need to do is watch from another room as Henry and The Baby reunite after school. He willingly- happily brings her downstairs from her crib, where she has just woken from her afternoon nap- calling, "Henny! Anna! Max!" He fills a bowl with a snack which he generously shares with his drooly, droll little sister. Love. It's in this house- in varying degrees every day. We take our turns riding the fluctuation of moods, the waves of pride or disappointment. There are moments (sometimes aplenty) of anger and frustration which threaten to tear down the house- but, love has taken up residence here-sometimes flickering in a corner, sometimes filling a room-gently prodding me to let go of my crestfallen condition and make something better of it. I may not have music in the traditional sense. But, all of those years of listening to Christmas songs, have committed them to my memory. So when I catch Princess Commando in just the right spirit, I can get her to sing along with me. We fill the house with a clamorous rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas (with strong and blaring emphasis on 5 Gold(en) Rings) which draws the boys into the room gradually until we are all butchering with glee a favorite holiday carol and driving The Mr. out of his mind (but, I've seen him smiling around the corner). And if there is a half glass full collation for computer disk space- it is that I was able to find 62 MB of free space to create the two illustrations above and a holiday card for Princess Commando's bus driver and bus aide. We will be stepping over the threshold of a New Year very soon. There will be plenty of opportunities for crappy days, I'm certain. But attached to them will always be the opportunity to see the circumstance as the glass half full. Or as I like to look at it- a disk with 62 MB of free space.