Christmas has in the past been a happy season for me but so far this year it’s all going pear-shaped. My daily life feels overwhelming right now. I tell myself it’s unnecessary to feel pinched or out-of-depth because all things are temporary. And when I tell myself that, I feel better.
Still, it’s a struggle. In the cold and wet and living in an almost comically walk-bus-&-bike-FAIL of a burg, the accumulation of increasingly significant car problems are a serious impediment. My clothes are shabby and I don’t have quite enough of them and they’re not warm enough. Our blankets are falling apart and our kitchen water pressure is out and the CLOWDER keep dismantling the yule tree and we spent Christmas money on the veterinarian bills for a sick kitty and Ralph worries about the chickens in the cold weather and most my time is spent in a rather seemingly endless loop of laundry, dishes, cooking and feeding and it’s dark what seems like all the time, to the point where I remind myself out loud that after the solstice I’ll see the sun again, a little bit more.
Tonight as we head to the grocery store I ask the kids if we should use the side-money their father is working on procuring for Christmas presents for them, or for fixing our car. The kids think about it and said, “Car”, because they’re fucking smart and they’ve got pretty awesome priorities. In fact if it weren’t for my kids I’d probably be living in a state of bona fide Depression rather than the small-d-depression I’m grappling with. Well, if it weren’t for my kids there’d by another salary and two fewer mouths to support and something tells me that might make a difference in my anxieties – but let’s not quibble about details.
The kids aren’t just intelligent and helpful they are completely hilarious and refreshing and entirely exactly who I want to spend much of my time with. Case in point: today over lunch Nels tells me he’s worried for his friend P. because he doesn’t think P.’s parents treat him well. “They don’t let him sleep with them,” he adds quite solemnly (except he says “wif dem”, be still my heart!), then takes a bite of a sandwich and fixes me with a clear-eyed gaze. Phoenix nods sagely and cocks her head to me, asks, “Why don’t parents let their kids sleep with them?”
A difficult and multifaceted question and I’m thinking of answering the whole, well-every-family-is-different, but also acknowledging some of the lack of nurture our larger culture supports, and the fact lots of people fill their lives up so much they feel strangled by the very wonderful people they are fortunate to have for a few moments on this earth, oh and then there’s parental squeamishness about sex matters, and so I start to respond, slowly: “Well some parents want their kids to…” –
and Phoenix supplies helpfully, “Cower in fear?”
Ha. Cower in fear. I completely love the way she expresses herself because it is entirely precise as to her intended meaning.
The other morning after sleepless night I watched, on a friend’s recommendation, my first Mae West film: She Done Him Wrong (1933) (featuring a VERY young Cary Grant as well). This same friend had told me I reminded her of West and really, I do like to get myself a remedial classic film education when I can make the time. As it turns out, a Mae West comparison is just about the most flattering thing ever. The movie was not very good but she sure was!
And in other news, my husband is pretty much the awesomest guy, kind of ever. As I type and fold laundry and marinate tri-tip and soak almonds and chop veggies for dinner I’m thinking of him across down, working late teaching his class. He’ll be home soon and then it will be the four of us together again and at least that’s something I can bank on.