What is it about the holidays that will simultaneously make you laugh + cry? When I was a kid (and not just at heart), it was all laughter and excitement and anticipation. I wasn't ignorant to the sentiment of the season - not at all. In fact, the solemnity of candlelight service on Christmas Eve was one of the most looked forward to events in my opinion. It's just that during those years the excitement of the season far outweighed the blues.
My sister was born on Christmas Eve. My grandparents were married on Christmas Eve (in 1938). In my house, there was always so much joy surrounding this time of year. And there still is. But as I've "grown a little leaner, grown a little colder" there's a tinge of sadness too. Maybe what it is, is awareness.
Even though I fancied myself an in-the-know or self-aware kid, there was a degree of sheltering during my upbringing. Sure I knew poverty existed; understood there was sadness and negativity and pain in the world, but these notions didn't weigh on me daily. Then I hit the college age where I was - every college-aged kid is - decidedly unaware unless it was directly in front of my face. Unaware of anything beyond my own issues, exams, gossip, wish list, etc. Then with the passing years - mid twenties, late twenties and now early thirties - I looked back and realized time really does fly. You get to a certain age and realize the ways of the world, the haves, the have nots, the wins and losses. These realizations by no means overpower joy, but they do stand shoulder-to-shoulder with it sometimes. So much so that when that melancholy Christmas tune shuffles on the iPod your heart grows heavy, your eyes may tear and you give pause.
With Christmas coming at the close of the calendar year, it's a major moment for reflection. This year, in my world, there have been new friends, time spent with old friends, visits as precious as gold with my family and urban family, music, new opportunity, travel, laughter and celebration alongside lost friends, missed family members, health challenges, stress, a devastating hurricane, aching hearts and longing. It's this reflection that bring a little of the 'blues' to Christmas and the holiday season.
And you know what? That's ok. To be aware, to be sensitive and sympathetic and caring and kind is a good thing. To pause during the holidays to reflect and remember and even mourn is ok. 'Tis the season, really. Just don't let that reflection overshadow the joy or steal the season. Remember to "haul out the holly, put up the tree before my spirit falls again, cause we need a little Christmas right this very minute."
And when it's over, we'll wipe the slate clean and start anew in 2013.
Merry Christmas y'all.