Unless you have gone through them yourself – unless you have lived and experienced the real essence of the blues – you may have a hard time being compassionate to those of us who have. Keep your sunny side up and rock that holiday smile baby. And while you are at it make sure you cover the bases for those of us who can’t.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the idea of the holidays. And when I was a kid – I couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving to come around because that meant Christmas would come soon after and oh the joy of all that joy. There were the fancy dinners at my grandmother’s house in Philadelphia were we would have our fill of all the candy in her candy bowls – her good Lennox and Waterford candy bowls which were systematically positioned through out her house. We had our very own glass bottle of Pepsi and chips and dips and the smells of every wonderful mouth watering food one could imagine. Her cookies won prizes all over the city and she even made the papers because they were just so fabulous. Her mashed potatoes were mashed to perfection – the hot cross buns were fresh and oh so damn good. She had sweet potatoes that stayed hot for days and her gravy made everything on my perfect plate taste better than any of my lame words can convey. The best china was out with the silver she brought over from Ireland – the best clothes were worn and our family gathered tight around the table to say grace and I prayed the cranberries weren’t gone by the time they reached my side of the table.
The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent circling toys in the Sears catalog and grabbing the ads from the Sunday paper to see what new and exciting things were out there for us good little girls and boys. We had time off from school and special dinners at special restaurants that we went back to year after year as a holiday tradition. There was time to visit Santa and know good and well that I had indeed been not only a good little girl – but an excellent little girl. I was always careful with Santa – and never asked for too much. I didn’t want to seem too selfish or have him think I wanted more than I should want – funny that I should remember that about myself – some things really never do change.
And as we age and the wonder of those days fades with time lost and responsibilities gained – the holiday magic sort of fizzled for me as well. It became a time of spending money and seeing friends and hanging out and eating way too much. The families moved about and spread out across the miles and no longer were we sitting around one welcoming table but we were beginning our own new traditions around smaller tables in different cities. And the magic of the season began to fade from a quiet place inside of me.
Then came a relationship and a marriage – then came the kids and the holiday magic was reborn through their eyes and their innocent wonderment. I again found myself reveling in the joy of Christmas and the love and comfort it could bring into my world. Every year was a new year and traditions were born and our family was growing and we had a new table to gather around and find gratitude and comfort in all we were surrounded with. The innocence and mystery of the season – the miracle and possibility of the faith would resonate through the days of December and there was joy in all of that – because I was experiencing it again through the eyes of love – through the eyes of my children.
Fast forward to the past few years and present day and all the changes and challenges weathered and survived. The relationship is gone, the children are grown and I find myself drifting through this season and all the merriment is beyond me – outside of me somehow. There are friends and there is love and there is laughter and life and so much good. But the bottom line is – in all this company and commotion there is something missing – something that I dare not name for fear it might define me, control me and make me less than all I know I surly am.
The holiday blues are real and alive and kicking all around us. We all have our own story and our own journey and our own reasons for viewing the world the way we do and feeling the way that we feel. No bah humbug my friends – no tears or pitiful me – just a girl remembering the magic of the season and wondering where it went.
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About K. Guzman
Kathy grew up all over the US - lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.