Not that Michigan winters get a lot of sun even during the daytime, but it will be nice to leave work when there is more than 10 minutes of daylight!
How many of us say (sometimes every year) -- "This Christmas isn't going the way I'd like it to."
Sooner or later we (or I) am forced into getting real. Because sometimes magical real isn't cutting it.
Real is having a bug that lays you flat a few days before Christmas -- when you are already forced into celebrating on the 23rd.
Real is being so embarrassed you can't stand it because you were so sick you forgot to tell the friend with whom you were having a belated birthday dinner (and she was treating!) that you were sick, so when she came to the door, Death Warmed Over greeted her.
Real is celebrating Christmas on the 23rd -- a day you really don't want to just on general principle -- because kids have other plans. (We coped with early Christmas for eons when it was just us and the kids' mom, but being forsaken on Christmas Eve -- and it does feel like being forsaken -- so youngest can celebrate with his girlfriend's family -- hurts his dad and I a good deal. Probably a good deal more than it should.)
(Real is also feeling like a pouty, petty grinch for even letting this get to me, because really, who doesn't have to deal with this all the time, for eons and across miles. And we love her a lot! She could be a shrew we hated, but this one is a keeper!)
Real is feeling guilty for wishing they were small again, leaving out reindeer food with Tab and wine long after the gig was really up!
Real is not having the presents you want to get because aforementioned illness and fever keeps you from finishing up.
Real is not having the cards done for the same reason.
This year's Christmas Eve decorating cookies will be baked by someone else. (These are last year's, as you might suppose!)
Real is being grateful you store the smaller trees with their lights and even a few ornaments on!
Real is looking around my house (which looks pretty darned good for a woman who was having trouble getting it together) and saying "I wish I had brought up more ornaments from the basement."
Real is looking at the lovely cards that have arrived, some created by artist friends like these three from Samantha (left), Stephani (center) and Joanne (right) and being so grateful I know you talented women -- and many more.
Real is looking at the tree and knowing there are gifts from friends across the miles -- and that with one exception, my packages are mailed. They might not arrive till late, but they are mailed!
Real is going with Rick to get a REAL tree for his house -- one so big it balances precariously on the roof!
Real is struggling a bit with the stand, making sure the tree is straight (and having to cut off a chunk of the trunk because of a bad original cut.)
And real is setting it up, having to cut off part of the top so the angel his grandma made will fit!
Real is Rick making pizza crust! Yum!
And real is welcoming Kevin and Molly home to top the pizzas after missing them both for far too long...
Real being together to decorate the tree.
Real is being grateful that my aunt Iris gave me my grandmother's punch bowl, making it a lot easier to decorate!
Real is being relieved I could bring up handfuls of Santas instead of carrying the big box and trying to figure out where I would put them all. (For me, this is minimalist.)
Real is trying to get a picture of Gypsy in his jingle bell collar (which is really my stretch bracelets, and that reminds me, I need them back.)
Real is REALLY trying (and wishing I'd replaced my broken camera before Christmas and wasn't relying on this trashy one I had before! He looks a little like "Children of the Corn.")
Slightly better. Not much.
Real is missing your parents so much you start to cry while you're writing this sentence about how much you miss them.
And real is longing for times with your cousins like the holidays of old, even though the ones of now are just fine. And after all, if I didn't have today's, I wouldn't have Rick.
Real is knowing Mom would take it in stride.
Real is knowing that the friends who have surrounded me have sent me warm greetings and good wishes, knowing I'm as much as basket case because of Christmas as I am being sick again.
Real is an office colleague who says "stay home" and I'll cover if I need to. (When I'm healthier, he'll get more than nuts. Bread, maybe.)
Real is having a great doc who got me in, gave me meds and they are beginning to work. So for our first Christmas, I should be good to go. By the real one, I should be really good.
Real is finding some time to look at the lights inside, because there isn't much outside. And the lights inside are prettier.
Real is knowing there will always be another scarf to make or card to send and sometimes you just have to stop. It's knowing there are twelve days of Christmas and you may as well plan on using all of them.
Real is knowing that no matter what happens over the next few days, no matter what doesn't get baked or wrapped or bought, really won't matter, because my world is filled with people (and a cat) that I love and care about immensely, and who care about me.
And that's really important.
May you have a holiday filled with all things real and do your best to take them in stride. I'm trying.
I really am!
Merriest of Merries to you!