Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Flurries

It's that crazy time of year again. The holidays. Most years I really love this time of year and the hustle/bustle of it all. Not so much this year. I have been trying to get everything done before I have to go for my final round of chemo on Dec. 14th. I'll probably feel rather crappy afterward and not want to do better to get done what I can while I can, I suppose.

I am ahead of where I usually am at this point. My house is totally decorated. Almost all gifts are bought AND wrapped. My Christmas cards are written along with the Christmas letter and photos. All that's left there is getting stamps and mailing the darned things, which I have to say has taken me the better part of a week to get to that post office. I have to now because i also have packages to mail (returns.) The only thing I haven't started yet is holiday baking.

The baking is the fun part for me. All the rest of it is a nuisance. I love the cooking part. Not the grocery shopping or the dishes that come along with it.. I really like to bake and create. Oh to be a chef and have someone else in the restaurant/kitchen doing the cleanup for you. Heaven! I need some baking staples in order to start this part of the holiday preparations - like flour, for starters. That's the problem - the grocery stuff that goes along with baking. It's so cold out and I just hate going out with this damned bald head of mine. I never realized how much my hair kept me warm. (And the wigs are a pain in the ass.)

Sometimes I think I am the only one who cares (in my family) about keeping up traditions with Christmas. Today I was wrapping and my husband watched me working for awhile. He went up for about an hour and a half (or more?) nap, and when he came down I was still wrapping. He couldn't believe I was still wrapping. How easy does he think it is to wrap something like 70 or 80 gifts? It takes time! And energy. And every year I am the one doing 90% of it. Or more. Just like everything else.

Same with the shopping. You might think that going through chemotherapy at the holidays might just merit me getting out of having to do all the shopping. Not so in this family. All I get is harped at over spending the money doing it. And this year I have been very good at shopping sales, using coupons, etc. I've probably saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars by being careful this year. No credit for that either. My mother and mother-in-law BOTH asked me to do their shopping for them. Really? Really! You couldn't manage it this year by yourselves? I did it of course, dutiful daughter (and in-law) that I am. But I have to say it made me just a little bit mad to have to have done it this year. I think perhaps I have enough on my plate.

Then there is the holiday parties. Christmas Eve will be at my son's house this year. I have to say I am relieved about this. For years we have gone to my brother's house, or parents (or my house) to celebrate Christmas Eve in Slovak tradition (no meat) with certain foods preparations. I KNOW I couldn't handle having the parties myself this year, so I am happy my son stepped up and that I don't have to spend the holiday with my brother's families. Not that I don't love them all - I do.... I just really wanted a smaller, quieter Christmas eve this year. Happy that is just what I am going to get.

Now about Christmas Day. OK here it is. Almost every year we host the Christmas Day party. Usually we have between 30 and 40 people here. This year though, the two main hostesses, myself or a cousin's wife are both going to be recuperating from major illnesses. Cancer and a big operation. And another cousin from my husband's side too will be recovering from major surgery. So all THREE of us couldn't have hosted the big group. Another cousin's wife /family has come to our house year after year. You might think that jUST ONCE she would offer to have the holiday at their house. No dice. That really burns me up. So I will have Christmas dinner here for my family and my parents. The debate is whether or not to have any cousins. I'll probably end up asking some of them sort of last-minute. I just don't know if I really WANT to this year. I mean, would it kill us all to spend the holiday apart with our own families?

I guess the saying is right...there is no rest for the weary. I can see why some people get depressed during this time of year. It can be overwhelming. The shopping, the wrapping, the cards, the letters, the baking, the groceries, the cleaning.... Apart from wanting my health back (and hair), what I want for Christmas this year isn't really material goods. Frankly, i have everything I want and need. What matters to me most is that my family pitches in and lets me rest and regain my strenth again. That FOR ONCE I would not be just taken for granted. That things would get done without my having to ask for them to BE done. That someone would freaking NOTICE that I'm tired and feel poorly. That someone would volunteer to walk the dog out in that cold that goes right through me. Instead of them asking me, "when are you going to bake?" or "When are you going to wrap gifts?" etc....

Yup - the holiday time is one big flurry of activity. And all I want is to sit quietly and watch the flurries outside, sipping a hot chocolate and listening to some music, perhaps. I want to be invited to someone else's table and for them to say, "just bring yourself." I don't want meaningless gifts. I don't need expensive gifts. I just want peace. The peace of Christmas. Isn't that what it's really about, anyway?