Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Post-Christmas rumination

I had a long talk with Romeo this morning that has left me feeling a bit bummed.  He had hoped for a more meaningful Christmas this year in light of the fact that his girlfriend Juliet would be joining us;  he wanted to share our traditions so it would be special for her.

We don't have that many traditions due to a variety of reasons:  it's hard to get all of us together at the same time, I work shift work, the last few years have been marked by illnesses in our extended families necessitating some changes in how and when we celebrate Christmas.  So, when Romeo and Juliet arrived at our home midafternoon Christmas day, Romeo envisioned a leisurely afternoon of opening gifts.  He didn't anticipate that others in the family were eager to get started opening gifts, or giving gifts, or that we would stop the process so that we could talk to beloved relatives via skype on the other side of the world, or that we miscommunicated when we would gather so that I hurried a haphazard dinner because it had already been in the oven for 2 hours. No, I guess Christmas didn't play out the way he planned, or the way I had planned either, but we all know what they say about the best laid plans.

Well, we obviously don't all know because Romeo doesn't understand that sometimes the best laid plans go awry; I guess on some level, neither do I, hence my guilt.

So, now I'm left feeling that I dropped the ball somehow.  I know, I know, it's mother guilt and I shouldn't pay it too much heed, yet I can more successfully lay issues to rest if I think through them, which I will attempt to do here.  If you don't mind, keep reading;  if you do mind, there is a little "x" on your screen either on the top right or left of your screen (depending on whether you have a Mac or PC) that will help you escape my ruminating.

I so wish that every Christmas could be meaningful, heartfelt, and a source of real connection between family members.  After celebrating 46 Christmases, I now know that it just isn't possible.  I try, I really do, to find a way to make the day special, but I am not a mind-reader and even if I were, how could I, even with Bulldog's help, make Christmas what everyone wants it to be?

And how do I make Romeo understand that from this point forward, Christmas, no matter where or how he celebrates it, is what he makes of it?  I'm so sad he is disappointed but I hope he can understand that so much of what we get out of something is based on what we put into it-our expectations, our ability to accept what others want and need out of the occasion, our ability to accept that times change and to accept the reality that if we can hope for and achieve a few moments of real connection with each other that we have succeeded in reaching each other and that can be enough.

Romeo is crossing the bridge from childhood to adulthood and he is feeling every tiring footstep of the journey.  How do I tell him that so many of us miss those ethereal Christmases of our childhoods, where the whole day seemed endearing and full of meaning and magic?  How do I show him that the reality is, that as adults, it's what we make of it.  Some folks hit the nail on the head with their celebrations where the planets are all aligned, and Jupiter is in the 7th house, everything is timed perfectly, everyone is in the same frame of mind, and all the important people are in the same place at the same time and want to do the same things at the same time.  We've had a few of those ourselves, but some years we miss the mark because life gets in the way.  And I guess this year, we missed, at least in some aspects.  But then again, there are 364 other days of the year to connect. Or that's how I've come to look at it.  I hope he can understand and I hope for another chance next Christmas to enjoy a special day with family.

I'm not sure who I"m trying to convince here-him or me.