Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Season of Frenzy -- Get Real Edition

It is Tuesday, December 21, as I write this. One day until the Solstice, which will bring with it the return of light.

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.

Last year's dinner setting

Real is being told by Rick "I don't think you should cook for other people" when I still haven't finished the giveaway baking. (And was mighty glad at least the nuts, bread and some cookies were done before this happened.)

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."

(This tree wouldn't have been decorated much at all without Rick.)

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!


Becca said...

"Real" is understanding that picture perfect Christmases are not always viable alternatives.

"Real" is accepting that it's okay to be sad about a lot of things at Christmas, even if you know you've been blessed in a million other ways.

"Real" is being able to take a deep breath (which I know is probably literally pretty hard for you right now given your physical condition!) and say "I have done enough. It is good enough. I will be happy! now!"

I am with you in spirit on every bit of this post, and I couldn't have said it better.

Peace and joy to you, friend!

Friko said...

Real is also having a new friend come who saw your comment on another blog and liked it so much that she wanted to come over here in person and wish you a very happy (and healthy) Christmas.

Holly said...

I always enjoy reading your blog. I hope you are on your way to good health now, and I hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2012!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

A lovely and touching post, Jeanie. You're very blessed with friends, co-workers and family -- and whenever or however you celebrate, it will be wonderful! Have a very happy holiday season!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Jeanie, I absolutely agree that "real" might have lumpy gravy and unfinished decorations, but that's okay. Just take pleasure in all that you have done, and in each moment as it comes. We've had years when our daughter was with her fiance's family on the 24th and 25th, so we celebrated later. But we learned not to just sit around on those days. Plan something special for yourself and Rick, and think of it as potential a "new tradition" if need be. Maybe something simple, to conserve your energy and good health! All the best, and Merry Christmas.

Janet said...

I wish I could give you a big hug and tell you it will all be better. Real is that sometimes you're sick on Christmas and there's nothing you can do about it. You have wonderful people who love you and I'm sure all those little things that didn't get done won't make one bit of difference to them as long as you're there with them.

Merry Christmas whenever you celebrate it!

anno said...

Harummmph... reality. Seems like there's a lot of that going on these days, and I'm sorry to hear that it's hit your household, too. I sure appreciated the gentle reminder in your post: be grateful for what you find, even if it isn't what you expected. Hope you are feeling better soon. Wishing you peace, good health, and joy.

beth said...

i don't feel guilty at all for wishing they were still little....not one bit :)

Linda Jo said...

Well, I hope you are better.... bad time of year to be sick. I've done that! I haven't gotten some things mailing some gifts to friends...but I'll make up for it next year! The grandbaby has taken up a LOT of my time!!! Sit back and just enjoy whatever comes your way. Merry Christmas.

Joanne Huffman said...

Real is sharing beautiful Christmas pictures and you've done that. I hope you take your own advice and enjoy what you have done and what you have and all the love and good wishes being sent to you.

Sally Wessely said...

I feel so much better after reading this post. My Christmas has been a bit too real also. It is good to know I am not alone.

I am so sorry you are sick. Really, though, and I mean really, you are an amazing woman. How did you ever put this fabulous post together with all the great photos when you were feeling so 'real?"

Julie had a saying, "I'm just being real." Life is like that: real. In our family we have used that saying a lot. I guess this post proves you are just like family to us. Love you. Get better. And, I am going to frame your advice, "do you best to take them in stride."

Luna und Luzie said...

Dear Jeanie,

thank you so much for your kind and comforting comment on my Post for my Mum.
Oh I can see you remember to your Mom in this post too!!! Love the framed photos on the Christmas tree.
I´m sorry to read that you are sick and hope you feel better soon.

Oh I´m glad you got my card!!!

Wish you and your family all the best and a wonderful Christmas time!!


Jennifer Richardson said...

Real is so so beautiful
and true
and comforting
and lovable
and hopeful
and I appreciate you sharing
and keeping it that way:)
Sending some real hope
for real grace to soak up
the ordinary miracles
in every real (even gnarly) day,

shoreacres said...


You already know my take on such things. I'll only add that I'm a great fan of reality, no matter what form it takes, because it's in the real world that we encounter the people, experiences and dreams capable of shaping us into the people we want to be.

You know, too, how different my reality is this year. I thought it wasn't going to be particularly hard, but as so often happens, I was wrong. We like to echo the French in saying "the more things change, the more they stay the same", but sometimes, the more things change, the more they change. And we can't do anything about it.

My guess is that you're feeling better already, and as for me? I've decided the proper antidote for irreversible change is - more change! You'll hear all about that after Christmas.

Hugs and love to you all. And a Merry Christmas!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I am so sorry you are sick! This is such a tough time of year to be feeling under the weather since there is so much to do and so much fun to be had! I hope you truly do feel better for tomorrow's Christmas celebration!!

I am glad you have Rick to help you out, though! Your home looks lovely!

A very Merry Christmas to you & yours!!

Marilyn Miller said...

A very good list. Hope you are feeling better and better and do enjoy the 23rd. We celebrated the evening of the 21st and today I am having a problem with that. Then I went to the post office and there was still a huge line of those mailing gifts on the 22nd. Didn't they know they were late and Christmas was over? Love seeing Gypsy in the necklace. No picture of Joey as I was sick when I had planned to make his hat. Maybe later. I had everything ready to go. But now Christmas is over and I missed the opportunity. Merry Christmas to you, dear friend.

Beth Leintz said...

Jeanie, Sorry you've been sick before Christmas and haven't been able to make it the "real" Christmas you want- but you know what, I think it will be just fine. We can all drive ourselves crazy trying to do so much, I think you should just relax and enjoy the season. Hugs, Beth

Vagabonde said...

Your post on Santa masks and on Krampus was very interesting. I had never heard of this scary Krampus. I bet he gives nightmares to many little ones. I have been away since about Thanksgiving and since my return a week ago I have been in bed with a very bad cold or something else, so I enjoyed looking at all your pictures about the season. I have not shopped or decorated the house and will have to send New Year’s cards as I could not write any Christmas ones while sick. I did receive 3 Christmas cards so that will be our only decoration. I hope you feel better – I would hug you but you may catch my germs. This afternoon was the first time I got out of the house for one hour to get some groceries. Luckily we had decided to drive to Nashville nearer New Year to also celebrate Christmas with the grand kids then. I would not be able to drive there now.
I hope your Christmas will be a merry one and also that you feel better very soon.

Arti said...

Another beautiful post, Jeanie. How wonderful to have a real tree and have the guys haul it in for you to decorate! Wishing you the best for a warm CHristmas Eve with your family, and a wonderful Christmas Day and the week coming. Enjoy and all the best through to the New Year!

Anonymous said...

I hope you enjoy some happy healthy time off :) I love the jingle bell collar on Gypsy <3

Yolanda said...

hope you have the best new year ever.

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