Friday, December 23, 2011

Grumpy Christmas to You

For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling Grinchy. Scroogy. Un-Christmassy. Yes, there’s the clinical depression, which I’m pretty sure is the opposite of merry, but it’s been more than that. I’ve been reacting to this idea that because it’s Christmas, and Daniel’s First Christmas, that I should feel a certain way. And then I’ve been feeling worse, because I’m not overcome with joy and Christmas spirit.

So the other day, I acknowledged to myself that I was grumpy about Christmas, that I didn’t care, didn’t want to participate, and resented the whole thing. I talked about it with some friends, and accepted that’s where I was. I gave myself permission to be grumpy. I remembered Fr. Meehan, a very special priest who died this year, saying in a Christmas homily, “We come to Christmas as we are.” I love that idea, and I’ve held onto it for years. Because sometimes, on special days, what we feel is sad, or lonely, or depressed. And then we can feel worse because we’re not supposed to feel those things on Christmas. But sometimes we do. More and more, life seems to me full of the bittersweet. For me, acknowledging and accepting the bitter helps me to enjoy the sweet.

The lovely Claire, after listening to my holiday rant yesterday, hugged me as she left and said, “Merry Christmas,” and then corrected herself, “Or Grumpy Christmas. Whatever Christmas you want to have.” Talking with her reminded me that Christmas, like anything else, is what we make it. I can’t make myself feel joyful, but I can focus on the positive. What I really want for Christmas this year is to enjoy the real gifts of my life. To be in the present, with Daniel, seeing him kick his legs in his high chair as he eats, listening to him testing out his voice, watching him inch around the floor, warming up for crawling. He is my Christmas miracle, every day.

I hope you all enjoy the real gifts of your life this Christmas. And if you're still feeling grumpy, that's okay too.


carol brill said...

love “We come to Christmas as we are.”
your idea to be grateful for the little things, reminds me of the slogan "just for today"
When pressured to be or feel a certain way "forever" it can overwhelm me, but giving myself permission to be/feel something just for today (or sometimes for one minute or one hour) is often doable.

Julie Owsik Ackerman said...

Thanks, Carol. Just for today is a great reminder too. Hope you're feeling merry today :)