It's been one of those years. And now it's almost over and I'm feeling the Holiday Blues. I don't remember when I felt the magic, the happiness that Christmas once brought me. I think it might have been when my children were young. My youngest is now 29 so that means it's been a long, long time ago. And I feel guilty!
No, I don't have a lot of money but I do have my health now. Four years ago I was in the middle of chemo therapy. In fact, four years ago yesterday I was on a surgeon's table while he worked to remove the plastic port tubing that had lodged in the right atrium of my heart. So, yes, I have a lot to be thankful for in those terms. But not being able to bake, to buy gifts, to be out and about in holiday crowds is affecting how I am feeling.
That's shallow, isn't it? Thinking that material possessions are what should make me happy. But isn't that what we're taught Christmas is all about? As a kid, I would line up with the town's children and wait my turn with Santa. It was the mid-50's and the country was on an endless high of happiness. Or so it seemed to me at the time. And the gifts they gave us at those Santa visits were elaborate. No skimping on making the children's eyes twinkle. Each one wrapped in bright Christmas paper, hiding something special and magical. I never thought about it until now but someone must have realized how artistic I was because each year I got something art related.
Of course! It must have been my Dad's friend who was a fireman. Henry "Hank" Poland always made sure that I got the perfect gift. And believe me, it WAS perfect. And I remember the Sunday he took me aside after church and told me not to show up at the firehouse that afternoon. "You're ten now and no longer qualify for a gift". Was that when I felt the magic start to ebb away? The magic dim because I was now on the 'outside' looking in?
I don't mean to infer that I had a sad childhood or ever lacked for gifts. Quite the opposite. Christmas was a wonderful time of year but I think it must have been that Sunday morning 'talk' with Uncle Hank that tarnished the magic for me. And I think I have spent the last 49 years trying to get it back. Hmmmm...I've given myself a lot of food for thought with this post. And to think I started it off with an entirely different direction in mind.
I'm going to climb into bed soon. I've pre-heated the covers with a heating blanket and it will serve to ward off the chill of the house. We've done without a heating system for five years. In fact, we've done without a lot of things for the last seven. But I have hope. If we're lucky, this country will return to the hopefulness of the 50's. And with the return of hope, perhaps a little of the magic may return as well.