The past four holiday seasons have been difficult, to say the least. I’ve cried during all of them, and spent the days leading up to each wishing I could just stay in bed and ignore the world. This year? This year was different.
I embraced the fact that it’s OK to not feel OK at this time of year. There’s a lot of pressure out there to make the holidays perfect and happy and sparkly, but it’s actually really hard to make that happen, especially when you’re really missing your loved ones. Instead of forcing myself to make five different batches of cookies, we made two traditional ones and that was it. I allowed myself to feel kind of blah if I needed to, and I also embraced the moments of being really excited about everything.
When I walked into my sister-in-law’s house on Christmas Eve, she immediately placed a glass of her “signature Christmas drink” in my hand and made sure it stayed full all night. (Turns out it was just rum and triple sec with pineapple juice, but it was enough to keep me giggly.). Seeing my nieces and nephew open their presents made me smile and laugh and look forward to one day watching my own children tear open gifts from Santa.
My dad has started a relationship with a woman he’s known for years, and although I haven’t met her yet and I have a lot of feelings about this development, it makes me calm and happy to see him calm and happy. This has relieved a tremendous amount of stress from my life.
We spent New Year’s Eve with hubby’s parents, and my brother-in-law and his wife. We drank mimosas and played some heart-stopping games of Jenga and then watched the ball drop. My mother-in-law stuffed rice and lentils into our pockets so that we’ll all be wealthy this year, and my father-in-law made a touching speech about family and going after your dreams.
I’m proud to report that not only did I survive the holidays, I actually enjoyed them for the first time since 2009.
This year, I’m focusing on writing and reading every day. I’m going to start my day earlier so that I can work out in the morning and spend the evenings blogging, working on my book, and reading some of the five new novels I got for Christmas. I’m going to be more patient with others, be more positive, and make healthier decisions for myself. Just because I’m having a bad morning at work doesn’t mean I can eat six cookies and a Kit Kat at lunchtime (true story). I want to travel somewhere we’ve never been before, even if it’s only a day trip or a weekend getaway. Mostly, I want to get back to the person I was before all the loss. I want to find that happy, fun, and carefree girl that I know is lurking somewhere just below all the bitterness and anger.