Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holidays: No one gets out unscathed

I know that title is pretty cynical, but I really thought I was going to get through this holiday season unscathed. I hoped to not have as much pain about not having a family as in the past. I remind myself I DO have family: my dad lives in Texas, sister in New Mexico. I saw my in-laws in Minnesota for Thanksgiving. But I mean in my house, close to me. Of course I have a fabulous husband who I am crazy about. At the moment he is spending a couple days a week deer hunting, which leaves me lots of alone time during the holidays, and I miss him. I know so many young moms would love to have a few days alone, so I try to revel in that sometimes. Plenty of me-time is one of the luxuries of having a very, very small family made up of two adults. Yippee.

To get through this period where everything in our culture is focused on getting together with family, I have been focusing upward and less inward, which has helped greatly. I know that God knows I am hurting, and he has a great plan for my life without kids. I am coming closer and closer to trusting Him and leaning on him for my fulfillment. He wants me to be joyful in my life! My favorite bible verse lately is from Psalm 118:24: “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” I wake up and think this phrase first to get a good mindset for the day, rather than thinking about how I don’t have a family around me for the holidays.

I was in a store the other day, spending entirely too much time on picking out my husband’s gifts, and I saw a woman in a wheelchair shopping with her caregiver and her canine helper. I said hello and commented on her lovely dog, and she gave me a great smile back. For a moment I realized that while I may be sad about my life circumstance, at least I’m not in a wheel chair, requiring a caregiver, unable to communicate. And she was able to flash me a great smile! So what am I whining about? Rejoice and be glad already.

I thought I was really making some personal progress this year and was really glad I was more joyful than in months past. Unfortunately, another funk started when I went to the OB/GYN for a follow up pap smear. (Side note: I am switching to a GYN as I really can’t handle the OB part of this practice anymore with all the happy families in the waiting room. I feel like I don’t belong as I’m not trying to get pregnant, am not pregnant, and don’t have kids in tow. But I digress.) I am now on my third doctor visit: two paps and now a biopsy (I pray things will be fine, I’ve had this before). The biopsy caused two reactions: One, I got dizzy. Two, the rush of whatever happened to my system (vasovagal response?) made me hypersensitive to the fact that I had just had a chunk of tissue removed from my largely cobwebbed uterus, and maybe it was time to just take it out of my body. Should the lab results come back with any problems, that is what will happen anyway. Why keep the thing if I have to worry every year about it becoming cancerous? It already is riddled with over 25 fibroids (they stop counting at 25). I think lack of use caused my uterus to get obsessive about its biological clock and spontaneously grow things anyway– but in this case fibroids don’t say cute things when they turn three. They just make me have to go to the bathroom all the time.

So, I started crying in the doctor’s office and now I’m back in this “poor me” syndrome. We started some new traditions this year that I hope will help me out of it. One: don’t go to Texas or Minnesota for the week of Christmas. Instead, enjoy time at home with my husband, friends and my church’s service. Two, invite folks over to take my mind off myself. I planned a Christmas day brunch this year, and planning a menu and having people to cook for is a welcome distraction. I sent out an Evite, and while I knew most of my peeps would have family commitments, it stung when the declines read “Sorry, I have family in town,” or “Sorry, I will be spending time with my family that day.” What these folks don’t realize is that they are my family. I was trying to plan a similar dinner a few years ago with what I thought were very dear friends. I started proposing dates for a simple potluck in November. No one would commit and in early December, one of my friends said that she would be too busy with family that entire month and maybe we should all get together in January. My other friend agreed. I don’t think they realized that this dinner was a highlight of my season, while it wasn’t on Christmas day, I was so looking forward to spending time with these friends (and their husbands) as part of my holiday celebration.

I’ve got a hodge-podge of folks coming over for brunch, and think it will always be a random group if I keep it up as a tradition. While hubby is out of town hunting this week, I am getting ready for company and making all my favorite recipes my mom used to make – pumpkin bread, fudge, sausage balls, pull apart coffee cake, and a tree made out of cinnamon rolls. I’ve been missing my mom this week (she passed away almost 5 years ago) and hoped making these favorites would comfort me and would help me continue my childhood traditions this Christmas. It has, but it has also made me grieve the loss of having my mom to talk to and, as my Dad has remarried, how I no longer have my original family to go back to. I know things change in life, but sometimes I feel a little lost.

I am still a little slow on the draw, but I know now that I need to look upward when I feel lost. That God is my father and He is all I need. That He has a plan for me and wants me to rejoice, for today is the day the Lord has made.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting these reflections. I do feel that some of my friends have been more supportive than my family members. I have a network of childfree friends who have been my lifeboat. As you can tell, I am sitting at home right now, feeling a bit alone. Inviting friends for an evening of cooking, eating and talking together has been very healing but none of these events include my friends with children and they are generally apart from the holidays.