Friday, December 10, 2010

I Want To Believe In Everything You Believe

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on my Christmas missive the other day.
Amy summed it up so well in her comment, "It's sounds not like you dislike Christmas you just dislike what Christmas has become".
And how true that is!
I just come from a guilty-Catholic-conscience family.
If you have been raised in Catholicsm you may laugh at that (or not) but it seems that many old school Catholics have this sense of obligation to do things.
Maybe this stems from stern nunnery and Catholic school strictness, or the old time threats of purgatory and limbo.
Or perhaps I am just showing my age!

Now, I am not trying to spark a religion conversation, nor knocking the Catholic religion.
My maternal side was and are devout Catholics, and while I don't consider myself part of that denomination, I spent many formulative years attending Catholic church.
Which has given me and my mother and my grandmother the guilty-Catholic-conscience syndrome.

For the past few years, I have been working hard at shedding obligations in my life as I have found that feeling obligated to people or things makes me cranky and resentful.
No one really wants to do things that make them unhappy, do they?
What I mean by this, is I no longer maintain relationships with people who bring me no joy.
I no longer force myself into a situation because I feel like I have to.
No matter what the connection is to me, people that are cruel, nasty and hurtful and act in ways I would never imagine acting no longer have a place in my life.
If this person is a relation of some sort to me, the times when we must interact are not upsetting or anger inducing.
I can deal with them in limited capacities.
I have freed myself.
Does this even make any sense?

In regards to Christmas, I watch people all day long being miserable and cranky.
Arguing over every dollar they must spend.
Then why do it I ask myself?
If Christmas makes you feel this nasty and resentful, then why go through the motions?
Why be obligated to a date on a calendar that brings you no joy?
If you cannot give with a happy heart, why bother giving at all?

Truth be told, I love to give.
Whether it take time or money, I will strive to go above and beyond for my loved ones.
Money has very little value to me.
I spend without thinking.
(Duh, I write this blog and you see how many clothes I have! ;)
I pay all of my bills and in a timely fashion, but I believe in living and loving this life to the fullest extent I possibly can.
Because I only get one shot at it.
Someday, at my funeral, my children will sit reminiscing about the times and the memories made together.
Not how much money they are being left.
And if God forbid, they are focused only on inheritance, then, in my mind I was an utter failure of a mother.
Surely we need to put some money away for that rainy day, but life is about making memories.
Not loading the under branches of a tree with tons of unnecessary garbage.
The only Christmas gift I remember from my youth is the dollhouse my grandfather handmade me.
He lovingly wallpapered and carpeted every room with actual remnants.
That is the only gift I recall.
But what I do remember is having my mother's younger sister sleep over every Christmas Eve when I was small.
Snuggling with her in my bed.
Every single Christmas being spent with my maternal grandparents and watching them unwrap gifts to each other, each and every single one labeled "To My Darling From Your Darling".
How they told them apart, I will never know!
All the years sitting around the dining room table, dressed in our holiday finest sharing a meal that was 
 prepared with love and tendr care.
Flash forward to more recent times, and do you know what Christmas has been my recent favorite?
A few years ago when the older of my two brothers and his fiancee came down and spent the few days leading up to Christmas and the actual holiday itself staying with us.
We stayed up til all hours the night before Christmas Eve, laughing our heads off.
Waking up and sitting sleepy eyed together watching my kids unwrap their presents.
No, I don't remember what they gave me that year, because the giving of themselves outshadowed it all.

This Christmas should mean more than checking off a list of "things".
It is about enjoying the people who make you happy.
Freeing yourself from the things in this life that bring you down.
As cliche as it sounds, finding your happy place.
Not everyone will understand your new found freedom.
And I'm sure it will make some hate you.
But the peace you will feel will be so overwhelming that the ugliness will never get you down for long.

plaid vest: vintage, thrifted
l/s tee: limited
jeans: express
wedges: nine west

1 comment:

  1. Well written (this post and the previous one)! If the bare truth were told, you'd find many people feel this way about the holiday season. It seems every year some fella is caught stealing so he can buy Christmas presents for his kids. That premise never made sense to me. Love and appreciate your family and friends year round, not one day a year.


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