’Tis the season to be jolly, my friends. Did you dare to? I hope you did. I sincerely wish you got to spend Christmas (or your festivity of choice) with family and loved ones, as for the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!
Enough with the carols. Now that the most stressful days of the year for some of us are over, we can get to the real stuff. Because between you, me, the gravy and the turkey, let’s say Elvis knows a thing or two about Santa’s day: it can be quite blue when you’re not here with me.
I’ll speak for single ladies (and gentlemen) out there. And even then.
I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful family which I cherish and love. As soon as I step in my aunt’s comforting brick house (yes, the one with the red door), I can smell it in the air.
It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid. We will be well fed. The tree is filled with refined and shining ornaments gathered over the years, right next to the chimney big enough to accommodate Mr Claus, the table set with vintage crockery past from my uncle’s mother and delish pastries waiting for us to finish the main feast.
But I’m not even hungry. I’m already full. Vivid memories are being created in this very moment, leaving no space for the tasty food about to be served.
My mother drinking her glass of red wine next to her twin in the kitchen, talking about her latest pottery project. My tall, blond, splendid cousin, always so elegant with her red cashmere and pearl necklace, passing on the cutlery we only take out on special occasions. My little sister, eager to help, cutting the bread (when did she become old enough to hold such a sharp knife?!).
I take a look in the living room, where the guys are catching up in between the last sips of their welcoming beer and their first tasting of the wine paired with the roast about to be served. Somehow, my cousin found her way, at 25, to sit on my grandma’s lap. The living room holds enough sits for everyone. We just like to get close, very close.
I usually get anxious in those family gatherings. I can easily feel stuck. The air starts missing. I need to go for a walk, escape the warmth for a while.
Not this year. For more than three months now, consistently, I’ve been working everyday on it. I’m breathing, doing my daily meditation, so I can hold space for all that love in my aura.
Because yes, we are intense. You do not want to see us play guessing games. If you’re not in it for the win, then get out of our way.
But first and foremost, what’s the most intense about our family is how much we care about each other.
It took me 15 years to learn how to handle all that affection. I finally get to soak it in, appreciate every moment I spend with those magnificent people I call my family.
We stayed up late. When I wake up the next day, I’m def hangover. But you know me, I don’t drink, and I told you I barely ate as I was trying to follow the cross-fire conversations happening all at once at the dinner table.
I’m hangover because it’s over. Every other day of the year, you can’t even imagine how grateful I am for the life I get to live, my heart filled with joy for the opportunity I have to be alive and experience such privileged conditions.
But this morning, my apartment feels a little empty. The gong I play to heal me through my sleep wasn’t able to relieve the sadness that joined me when I got to bed well past midnight. It’s still hanging in here, next to the Christmas tree I light on 24/7, to pretend there’s something to celebrate, to illuminate the gray days following the bright nights.
So yes, like many single ladies (and gentlemen I suppose), I cry a bit. Imagining what it must be to never come home to a silent house. To get back from these parties with someone you love, and snuggle in with them on the couch in the cold winter evening after the long drive home.
To wake up in the morning to the melodious sound of the grinder, the promise of a freshly brewed coffee prepared by your person.
I cry a bit but it’s okay. Actually, I’m glad I do.
Those are not the best vacation ever. I’m in a strange, smushy (and slushy) emotional state. So much better than last year, totally assuming my single status, yet still unable to hold back those tears.
I guess it’s part of the process. I used to be so blessed, always surrounded by love and attention, I couldn’t appreciate it. Now I get the contrast. I know that when it’ll be my turn to host the party in my brick house (with a red door), with my parents, cousins, sister, in-laws and kids, when I’ll be the one hustling in the kitchen, wondering why on earth did I make four children, all so pretty they found big, muscular boyfriends hungry as hell, I’ll have those moments to look back to.
The boring afternoons I spend wandering around, the discouraged sobs, the lonely nights watching Mad Men in my Snuggie. Those will be the moments I’ll remember to appreciate how blessed I am to be in such a sweet, sweet family.