Sunday, December 25, 2022

Quicksand and Mistletoe ~ A Holiday Card From Me

The Christmas Holiday season is not happy for all. 
At times in my own life it has been bittersweet. 

Overshadowed by schmaltzy Hallmark Christmas movies, rife with Walton-Family-Like dinners around a flowery table, carols and presents and music and smiles. Christmas. Right.
Wrong. For some, just wrong.
To me, holidays can be fraught with landmines and quicksand. When I was growing up, the holidays brought long white-tableclothed layers of southern cooking with scores of cousins and aunts and uncles. Tight squeezes in the bosoms of very large aproned women I only saw once a year. "My, how you've grown! Now go take Grandma the baking soda." 

Somewhere in between the sweet banana pudding and Uncle Joe's smelly cigar, there were happy car rides with  Daddy on Christmas lights hunts and Mama (who hated Christmas) throwing hissy fits (it's a southern thing) with wooden spoons full of cherries meant for the meringue pie that landed on the linoleum floor instead.
I learned to dodge.

It also brought worries over money, arguments that kids shouldn't overhear through the bedroom door, and the ever present reality that some adult  somewhere would get too intoxicated or high as the evening progressed and old family scores to settle would ruin the last of the whipped topping goodness in my impressionable soul.
Stomach aches.
 It always happened. 

So be careful when you longingly dream over those perfect Christmas candid shots on Facebook and Instagram. Nobody's family is perfect. Nobody's life is immune to addiction or alcoholism, depression or stress - even when they try to hide behind a filtered screen. Now that I have my own crew of flawed holiday traditions, I see those generational threads of dysfunction pop up occasionally in the midst of mistletoeing and whispered conversations at the kids' table. I hear them. And I remember. 

Children and adults need a safe place to Christmas. Over the years I've managed to re-purpose my unpredictable lineage into happier spaces for my own kids and grandchildren. That's the thing about painful memories. We have the power to change the way we create the future.

Whatever your situation - and God bless you if you are lucky enough to have one of those Walton Family scenes at your address - I DO believe it's a good thing to honor our spiritual and festive traditions, spiritual or secular. But for some, the season is excruciatingly lonely and sad.
 Pressured in the quicksand, memories rise to the surface. 

 Not everyone will celebrate this day or this season. 
There won't be a card for them, so I wrote one. 

To All .....

......whose children are not coming home and will never come home
I wish you peace and fragrant memories

...who never knew their father or mother 
I wish you nighttime visitations in the form of dreams
words and whispers in your knowing place
to help you understand

...never had a happy childhood Christmas
I pray you make your own holiday so beautiful and full of wonder as an adult
on your own terms, in your own way, wholly and deeply meaningful
just. for. you.

To All...
who live with abuse, chronic illness, poverty or grief
I wish you strength
in leaving,  strength in staying, strength in remembering
wisdom and abundance and self-care

And if you are alone

I hope the Spirit of Christmas makes you rich with palpable joy 
with NEWNESS and anticipation (!) 'til it bubbles over right down to your socks
melted like hot chocolate that lost its cup
and keeps you warm at night

Know that life is full of wonderful people
just waiting to know who you are

To All ...
whose children will call from jail or rehab
I wish you calm in the midst of your fear

....who children are sick and in need of a miracle
I wish you words to pray and an audience with your Maker

To All....
...who felt as though an alien ship dropped you into the house of your birth parents
may you learn to parent yourself with the kindness and insight that comes from loving YOU and then give that gift to your own children 
may the cycle be unbroken

To All 
whose homes are silent
where no none speaks but in anger
May you only speak in love
or not at all

To All....
whose empty nests are emptier than they'd hoped
I wish you years of bringing your parenting to a new level 
where letting go feels like flying

To All...
whose families live far far away
I wish you warm breezes that speak of hugs

To All.......whose children will sleep in a car tonight, under a bridge, or in a shelter
I wish that you will only see the quiet adoration in the trusting eyes of your child
and that every star in the cold night sky leads you HOME 

To All .....
whose time is short
I wish you arms of Love and whispers of the God-kind
so that your family will never be alone and you can leave in peace

And to All..
who hear "I love yous" but know it's just an annual Christmas ruse
I pray you speak loving fire that burns and pierces 
and calls for nothing in return but truth 

To All...
whose child became a casualty of addiction 
or mental illness
I wish a reunion with a healthy child

To All 
who knows not where your Loved One is tonight
I wish a phone call

If your fresh-faced child fights in a war
I wish an end to the insanity and a laying down of arms

And To All..
whose arms are empty today for whatever reason
I wish a visitation

of peace

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Sherry Blue Sky said...

As always, I read your words as comfort and childhood Christmas memories are all about what happens when alcohol is paramount. I did provide awesome Christmases for my kids and grandkids, which is progress. I am home alone this Christmas by choice as I am just too tired to travel and given the trouble travellers are having this year, that was a wise choice. Mimi, your words are beautiful, and spot-on. As always they bring comfort, healing and hope for better days. Never lose that, kiddo. The world needs it so much.

Just Ducky said...

I hope you had a peaceful and lovely Christmas Mimi.

Finding Pam said...

I think you covered it all-in my childhood. I did choose to make Christmas for our children a very blessed time of year. Merry Christmas my dear friend.

Mimi Lenox said...

Sherry - Thank you for being my strongest and most faithful cheerleader.

I'm glad you weren't in the travel chaos. We need peace at Christmas, don't we?

Mimi Lenox said...

Just Ducky - I hope you had a peaceful Christmas as well. Would be nice to carry this hope throughout the year.

Mimi Lenox said...

Pam - Thank you for reading. I think a lot of us learned how we didn't want things to be for our own kids and did our best to change it.

I didn't realize how long this post was until just now. LOL Christmas is an emotional time for so many. Now on to better in the New Year. I hope yours is awesome.

Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

I forgot how talented a writer that you are! Great poem! Happy New Year, Hon!

Mimi Lenox said...

Thank you, Bud. I hope your new year is peaceful and happy.

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