It's upsetting because it never used to be this way.
The first Christmas commercial of the season used to make my tummy drop in that delicious up-the-roller-coaster way. Silver bells and shopping bags and big box stores swathed in white-lighted swags of fake evergreens. I poured over the Sears toy catalogue as a child and gleefully sang and danced in show choir Christmas shows as a teenager and wore out an Amy Grant's Home for Christmas CD when I was in college. In our early married years, I started making gift lists in early September and often got all of my shopping finished before Halloween.
Probably the first Christmas after Dacey was born is when I noticed the holiday stretch was colored with a little more strain and a little less bliss. Once we became parents, the stakes were higher for which side of the family we spent which holiday with . . . everyone wanted to see the baby. You know how it is. I honestly thought moving back home to Oklahoma would alleviate the holiday pressure somehow. Less travel time meant more quality time as we caravanned from one part of the family to the other.
But as you all know, our move back home meant a career change for Kyle and that new career in the finance sector careened into a recession and we choked and sputtered as the financial strain sucked the air out of us.
All of this is to say when I saw my first Christmas commerical this year, my stomach dropped. And not in a good way. In a way that made me realize that I am struggling with some very real anxiety about the weeks to come. And I know I'm not the only one.
As I wrote this, I couldn't help but to think about a song my dear friend Melissa wrote and recorded a few years ago. It's not a holiday song; it's a song about hearing music from another room, and I guess that's kind of where I am right now. I remember when Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years played out like beautiful music as one year danced into the next. And all of that Joy to the World and All I Want for Christmas is You and Go Tell It On the Mountain . . . I love it still, it's just so muffled, right? So easily drowned out by the incessant buzz of worry in my ears.
I want to get back to that place of twinkling and joy and peace on earth. I want to gently resist this anxiety. I want to be fully in the coming weeks, truly experiencing the season as opposed to tight-lipped, head-down survival.
I mean, bloglville is going to abound in posts and articles and tutorials for all that is happy and light about the holiday season. I'm thankful for that, but is it okay if we stake out a corner where we can get really real? Really really real?
Is there anyone who would join me in this? Would you be willing to trust me with your worries and apprehension that are holiday-related? Do you think maybe in the next few weeks, we could talk through some of this together? The comments are open if you are willing to confide.