Christmas Lights and Holiday Scars


Hey babies- well it’s been a week since Fred was evicted; still waiting on pathology, but the good news is that it’s gone and I am healing. This week has been hard for you. Big One, you keep asking: but why did you need the surgery? And what was in your neck? How did they put your neck back on? Oh sweet boy. You both seem most offended that I can’t pick you up and carry you, but you are very cozy sleeping in bed with Papa each night and watching dessert after dessert magically appear at our front door. Friends and community are all the things; we are lucky sweet ones. And through it all, Christmas has managed to arrive to our home; the tree is up, the stockings are hung, the tinsel is on the mantle. You are both delighted and awed, the Christmas hype is officially here. And I love that you love it all so much.


I feel so conflicted at the holidays, Christmas is my favorite time of year, but I always feel a little sad somehow too– and this year, I have a whole lot of time to sit and feel all the feels about it. My childhood memories are beautiful, warm, fuzzy feelings opening presents and eating m and m’s from the bottom of my stocking. Phone calls to cousins to compare loot and the whole afternoon spent with family, popping Christmas crackers, donning the crowns within. But then there are later years, and moments that are harder to look back at… which are not my story to tell here, but shifted something down deep for me. Then came the year that I swore it all off and spent a wild and fun Christmas in Cambodia with friends, in a hostel, eating pad thai. I needed to leave it all behind that year and break out of some shell that I felt was closing in. It did the trick. I got a tattoo in Bangkok that New Year’s Eve; as a terrorist’s bomb exploded on the other side of the city and I vowed, against all else, to really be me, to go out and do the thing I was afraid to do. That year I moved to Guatemala. The next Christmas, I met your Papa.

I keep finding myself thinking about all of the things we need to do and see and buy; to make sure that your Christmas is absolutely perfect. Which, of course, is exactly the thing that I vowed NOT to do to my children. To focus on appearances, to just make sure the icing on those cookies was perfection, with toys stacked to the ceiling. It is ok to have the memories (good and bad), to acknowledge where we’ve all come from– and to just focus on making this year what it is. A time with family and friends. To be thankful for good health and all that we have. I am going to just keep saying it out loud until I really believe it. Old habits are hard to let go of.

I think the biggest gift we can give each other is the gift of honesty. It’s ok to want awesome presents. It’s ok to be annoyed at all the people. It’s fine if you get a little grumpy with relatives. Christmas is hard for a lot of people. Your cookies can be ugly and your ham overcooked. There’s a reason ugly Christmas sweaters are so popular.

I love you buddies. And the only promise I make is to make this Christmas ours; messy, loud, full of love, imperfect.


One thought on “Christmas Lights and Holiday Scars

  1. I am so very glad Fred will not be around to enjoy Christmas with you, and I so DEEPLY understand the joyful sadness you describe at the holidays- especially these past few years, but really for my whole life. Wistful is always just around the corner from happy for me- I think I cam hardwired that way. Wishing you a messy, joy filled, Fred-free Christmas, my dear, sweet friend. Love you.

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