What is it about December that makes me want to cry?
The Autumn trees are losing the last of their leaves & their limbs are stark & ghostly. Winter is approaching with its invitation to hibernate & rest & look inward.
But without, in the streets, there is much activity afoot. Colorful lights adorn houses, cookies are being baked, peeps are flocking to stores, holiday music is blasting incessantly from speakers that seem to be everywhere. Folks are wearing red & green shirts & old bearded men are making a few extra bucks dressing up as Santa Claus.
Folks will soon be celebrating relentless holiday traditions in their homes & around their dining room tables, squabbling, laughing, reuniting, unwrapping gifts, decorating trees, eating turkey or tofurky or ham or tamales.
Many were the years that I sat at my parents’ family table in December. When I was younger, I was excited about gifts; as I got older I had to be vigilant about not talking about politics.
And now…December makes me want to cry.
It is not always easy to reinvent the holidays for oneself. The of convoluted intricacies of celebration change with every day that I live & with every breath that I take. I am single & so my traditions are very often hit & miss. I’m trying to create them as I go along. I am trying not to compare my holiday season with those of couples or with those with huge extended families. My life is what it is right now.
I have 3 cats who couldn’t care less about holiday bargains & so I take comfort in that commonality. I have friends who are my family & special dinner invitations that I cherish. I have Christmas Eve service to go to.
But the ghost of Decembers past has sneaky ways of of causing wistful tears. I think more about my brother, gone nearly 7 years now. I think about my last significant other & the multitude of things that she liked to do for the holidays. I wonder — should I out of the blue send her a card from me & the cats? And in my less sentimental moments, I think, “In your dreams, Hanniver.”
December reminds me of how things are always changing in a much more acute way than I feel during the rest of the year. When I was a child, I believed that things would always be the way they are; as an adult, I know things will never be the same.
And so, December makes the child in me want to cry; & the grown-up who is me makes the best of what is.
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