Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Christmas Joy Begins...

I always found the movie "A Christmas Carol" disturbing, including every version I have seen other than the muppets one, which is just plain funny. I don't recall whether I have seen the Mickey Mouse version. In truth, I have never liked the story that much, though it has a powerful message for sure. As a child I found it nearly unbelievable that anyone could deliberately hate Christmas the way Scrooge did.

Sadly, this year I can identify with old Ebenezer. I am not an old business man (woman) with a larger-than-life hooked nose, nor am I obsessed with gold and all things financial. I also don't believe people should work on Christmas day, though I have worked Christmas Eve many times, and I do recognize that certain emergency services have to remain open every day of the year. In fact, even though I feel like I do, I do not actually hate Christmas. What I do hate is stress, chaos, and most of all, throwing up. Christmas 2009 we spent with stomach sickness. I do not recall how long it lasted. I do remember that Micah was only five months old and I was too sick to feed him. Christmas of 2010, I was desperate for a good Christmas. I spent all of December praying and begging God to keep us healthy that year. The puking started at 5 a.m. on Christmas morning and lasted until beyond New Year's Day.

This year, my dread has begun, though I am trying hard not to panic, despite the numerous people I know who have already begun the barfing. So we went to our first Christmas family gathering this past weekend, which I was kind of dreading for several reasons. The people are wonderful, so it is in no way because of them. But wouldn't you know it, at around 6 p.m., one of my nephews threw up all over the couch. Since then, including him, I have heard reports of four of my nephews, four of my nieces and two of my sisters-in-law also getting the stomach flu. Then last night, Jamie threw up. This is why I feel like shouting HUMBUG! I know some people may think I am being extreme, and maybe I am, but for two years in a row now my Christmas has sucked. Royally. I mean, so sick we have not been able to celebrate, and even at Jamie's birthday we couldn't handle cake and he barely cared about his presents. That's two years in a row. I am not interested in doing it again.

When I used to think about Christmas, as a child, I was excited mainly about Santa Claus, and also about our special aunt who came nearly every year from Calgary to spend the holidays with us. We had great fun as a family, and my Grandma was often there too, though sometimes she went west instead to see her other kids and grandkids. So yes, I loved all the music because it brought back those magical feelings. Excitement. Joy. Anticipation. Those were all things I felt. Of course, then I found out Santa Claus wasn't real, and perhaps that was the first blow to my Christmas joy. Now I know Christmas is not at all about Santa but rather about Jesus, no matter what some people may say, and I believe that with my whole heart. Sadly, over the years I have always sought out that magical feeling I had as a child. The music would still make me excited and I always anticipated Christmas with great joy, but every year I was disappointed.

My family and Mike's have both grown, so Christmas is a very busy and loud affair, but on his side of the family, there will literally be thirty-nine people just in the immediate family, and of those, twenty-four will be between a month old to fourteen years old. That, my friends, is a lot of chaos. Don't get me wrong. I love my family and I love Mike's family. But this year, I am really burnt out from the same old Christmas every year. This year I want to forgo the gifts and just buy a bunch of goats and cattle and chickens for third world families. I would like a quiet day at home, maybe even by myself. I don't know. It just feels forced to me. Doing the same thing every year when some of the traditions just don't work anymore, particularly in groups that large. My side of the family is now at fifteen people, which does not include my grandma because it is hard for her to come out here now. Fifteen people, to me, is a lot, and that only includes seven children. One of my sisters-in-law has seven children of her own. These seven are split between me and my two sisters.

I guess this year I am overwhelmed more than ever by the crowds. It has been a difficult year. I have other, deeper reasons for dreading Christmas. It's not personal against anyone. But already the sickness has begun, and I feel like the meaning, the true meaning, will be lost once again in the stress, chaos and of course, barfing. I guess I have dumped enough. I will have to keep this blog posted as to how everything turns out. I am hoping it will be okay. But I do also hope to have new traditions some time, maybe even soon. I'm off for now.

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