Every year gets better. Every Christmas. And I can’t say who’s the reason for the season anymore. It’s just about being there for each other, for family and friends. That’s what it’s about all the time, isn’t it? Do we realize this fact? I just found it far more satisfying than I’d thought I would. The materialism connected with this whole holiday tradition can be enough to nauseate me. The personal history surrounding this time of year can be daunting to overcome. Once upon a time…
Once upon a time I never believed in Santa ’cause, as I was religiously taught, Jesus’ birthday was the reason to celebrate and nothing more. We even chose not to observe the holiday a couple times as a child since it was so loaded with materialism and Santa madness. We were so righteous and I wore a long skirt and skipped along oblivious, a child happy her parents had all the answers. Then there were years of travelling to Nacogdoches, Texas to visit family over the holidays at the expense of Christmas itself in order to watch others’ unwrap gifts and exclaim with joy. This trek took place over a 2-day span of journeying through state after state, leaving Georgia, crossing over into Alabama, then into Mississippi where we would dip and bob along the bumpy stretch of highway and land somewhere to sleep at night. Usually at a Holiday Inn and usually I had the flu, some body outcry of protest against the struggle between my parents. But when I didn’t, I was sandwiched between them, my three older sisters in the back while I avoided Dad’s elbow and counted hawks. It was the only time I got to see my grandparents. It was a time my mom wanted to spend making her own memories with her own family. How could I not be glad to see my Texas cousins and aunts, uncles, g’parents? But how could I not be torn? My parents were my world. One on that side and one on the other side and me ripped in half in the middle.
You learn to be flexible and resilient and supremely grateful for the smallest tokens. Sometimes too grateful and too small. This is what I get to work on this time of year and my kids are a big part of the healing. Sounds sad. But I’m not eat up with sorrow over it all. What I find is the opportunity to see what we can experience of it for ourselves, apart from ideas of what it’s supposed to mean, what we can shift and sift through, and I find so much change in our lives molding us into the makers of our own meaning. Besides, what happens when you go from the long skirt to “Jesus, huh?” You grow and your children are set free to make their own stories.
There are some pleasure perks to this holiday besides the growing and the lavishing. Yet…it has potential negative smacking influence. That gobbling frenzy, gorging gulp down against the tide of all that threatens to spew out. But not this time around. I didn’t have to justify the rightness of my “new” idea of Christmas or dissect the flaws of the season. I’m bankrupt on too many levels. (The kind of bankruptcy that allows life to grow a wealth indestructible. The best kind.) I didn’t have much money to spend and it didn’t matter. My kids love the processes of acknowledging the joy of being alive, those process unique to this season and that is what this is for them. And is what it has become for me. In spite of so much reason to be angsty, discouraged and otherwise bothered. There are so many other reasons to be thrilled with life. And I learn a ton.
I learn that it’s about deepening the bonds of love and strengthening the commitment to observed pleasures without losing balance or perspective. It’s OPPORTUNITY. And. That. Is. Good.
Hey…on with it! Time for me to hit the road for another trek for love’s sake…this time it won’t take two days.
12 thoughts on “Grow The Meaning”
Then cousins it is! I like that love the world as it is attitude. I feel the same way. How else do we expect it to get better? I certainly wouldn’t feel like changing if all I heard was griping. Lucky you!!!!! NC. What a beautiful place. We’ve travelled through on a couple of vacations (Nagshead). BTW, you might really like Flandrum Hill’s blogsite. There’s a restful similarity between yours and hers. Link is in my blogroll.
Thanks cuz… And yes. NC is beautiful. It captured my heart years ago when we’d trek here from GA to Sunset Beach. I knew I had to live here.
Thanks for the reference to Flandrum Hill’s blogsite…I’ll enjoy exploring.
OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My dad was from Nacogdoches! Shall we claim an unproven kinship? Every Christmas we travelled from south Texas to the northeast piney woods, to spend Christmas with my grandparents. We often travelled to Grandmothers, Aunts and Uncles, my mother being the great mediator between the estranged branches of family.
Happiest New Year to you!
Wow! I didn’t think anyone else knew of nacaNOWHERE!!! ;0) just kidding…that’s what we called it when we had been in the car for a day and a half and the flat lands of texas were making us certifiable. I miss visiting!
If you don’t mind kinship with crazy people we can claim tribal ties on this one…now it would be reallllly interesting if you knew my cousins… Happiest to you too…
Nacanowhere! I know I’ve heard that before! lol. Besides is there any other kind of kin than crazy? 😉 Let’s see . . . I have cousins who are Hillins, Reeves, Collins, Petersons, and some more I can’t think of right now (pathetic memory). As far as caring, I’m more than ready to claim more kin, especially if they live in Georgia (right?). Of course, you might mind adding another odd one to your bunch. I mean, who goes around purposely choosing a Japanese pseudonym for their blog? 😯 Take care.
Maynards. And Kellys (of course).
I never mind adding odd ones to my world. We’re the stuff of creativity, no? And though I live in NC now I find my citizenship in the earth where Japanese pseudonyms fit right in there with Ga peaches and Nacanatives, and. And.
It’s all good.
plenty of food for thought in what you shared Ruth which may or may not have surfaced if you hadn’t written your own thoughts and feelings and shared part of your journey. So, thanks!
I did my own family Christmas post as well. When I was a child our Christmases were full of spiritual and religious significance as well but not as full as it seems yours were. We too made cross country trips at Christmas to visit my grandparents, uncles aunts and cousins. Ours were considerably closer so we were able to make the trips more frequently.
It was a pretty happy time of the year for me, but as the years passed they lost a lot of the joy as estrangement between me and my siblings developed. I gained a family of my own and then lost them through divorce and the season became a painful time of separation.
Finally after several decades I reconciled with the spirit of Christmas and now for the past few years it has become to get better and better. I only have one person that I see regularly at this time of the year. And that is enough.
I was always glad to travel. “Journey proud” as my dad would say. But the 2-day trip and the torment of knowing we’d get to watch others pile up the gifts was sometimes too much. Texas was so different from Georgia though…it made up for most of the difficulty just being around what was, for me, such newness and difference. We did it every year for many years until my mom’s requests won out. Christmas at home did not stay in my memories, oddly enough, as much as Christmas in Texas!
It’s amazing how these landmark holidays have so much history attached to them, so much to sift through. Thanks for sharing….
Correct, it only takes a moment. 🙂
True that. But THIS trip took 6 hours. 6 hours filled with moments.