"Why so sad? It's the holidays! You can't be sad now! It's Christmas time!"
I hate to break it to you, but yes, I can be sad during the holidays.
Why? Lots of reasons. Some little, some big. Some stupid, some not so stupid. Ready?
It's stream-of-thought time!
Sad because of my dad, losing his memory. Mom has asked for pictures for a memory book. Which memories to choose? Happy. They have to be happy. Which ones? I have a good one. I should do a picture for each of us. What about the twins? Do I have a photo for each? Where are all of my friends? Why is everyone too busy to see me/visit me/call me/come play with me? Where are all of Caitlin's friends? Why do I have to yell at her every two hours? Why do I have to yell at her about the same things every damn day?! Brush your hair! Brush your teeth! Get dressed! Stop that! Listen to me! Put the book down! This is not very holiday-like behavior. Stop pouting! Quit throwing a fit! Write in your journal for school! You said you wanted to be in the spelling bee, why is it such a BIG DEAL to study? Why haven't I completed shopping yet? Where's the tree? Crap! I have to bake/cook/clean/wrap/shop/write/photograph/detail/explain/sleep/play/mother/sweep/wash. Cry. There's no END to all of the bloody dishes and dirt and laundry and dirty diapers. Oh god! I'm getting old. I'll be 40 in 3 months and 8 days. Fuck! Is that a wrinkle? Now I have wrinkles?! OK, it's no so bad, but goddamn! My hair is going more and more grey! I can't get rid of my squishy belly. I don't exercise, much less get "enough" exercise. It's cold outside and grey. There isn't any snow. Can't even go out and play. Cooped up with a 7 year old that whines all the fucking time. Jobless. Eric is depressed. Eric's depression is catching. Now I'm depressed. Days are formless. Not enough sleep. I know it's my fault, but it's more fun to blame him. The twins are cute. The twins are screamy. The twins are hungry. Now they're biting me! Nursing is still happening, that's good? Isn't it? Except for the biting. Why am I so lonely? I'm never alone. I wish I could be alone. Why do I never get to be by myself unless I'm working or shopping. I never go shopping. I'm not a window shopper. Go out get what you want and go home. I want to run away. What the fuck happened to my youth? I think I wasted it all working. No money. We're broke. Lots of different versions of broke in the world, we're not terribly badly off, but it's not much fun and we don't go out. We can't go out. Babysitters cost too much, family is too far away, friends are too busy. No one ever invites us out. Except that when they do we can't go because we can't afford/find a sitter. Obsessed with a video game. Escapism. Long nights. Too little sleep. More fun to pretend the dirty floor isn't as important as a new cloak on the computer. Can't write. Can't be funny. Can't take pictures. Can't edit pictures. Why can't I ever get a card out on time during the holidays? So glad I don't watch TV, no need to see all the ads pushing how happy I should be. I'm healthy, that's good. I'm cut off, that's bad. It's "just" cabin fever. Everything is all about the twins, all the time. Our whole lives circle around when they wake, when they nap, when they eat, when they poop, when they sleep. There's a small window to do anything on either side of naps, no time to go anywhere. No place to go. Stuck in the house. Why won't they leave me alone! Did I make her this bratty or is this something from his side of the family? That foot stompy thing makes me want to smack her! I don't, but I want to. I'm a bad mom. I can't stop feeling angry. I need more sleep. I wish I liked alcohol more. Maybe that's a bad idea. Could I addict myself? Nah. I think I'm too wound up to get addicted to alcohol. Don't have lots of cash for presents. Haven't mailed any to the family. Where have my friends gone? Holy crap! Facebook is kind of cool! Look there's my best friend from Junior High! There's the boy next door (but not the one I had the major crush on, can't find him)! My sister's getting married. I still don't talk to my brother. I make my mother sad. My father's Alzheimers makes me sad. I make Eric sad. Caitlin makes me crazy. I've lost all of my super powers to the Winter of my Discontent. Nothing is green and growing. I need warmth and light and where is the Sun? I can't even read a book anymore. It takes days and days to get through a single book instead of hours. All of my time is spoken for. If I'm home all day, why isn't the house cleaner? I don't want to clean the house. I don't want to bake. I know I'm sad when there's no baking. Wait! Suddenly it's Xmas and people are coming over! Hurry! Hurry! Wow! The food is great! I need attention. I need alone time. I need a shrink. Wintertime blues. I have them. I'm getting old. One day I'll be dead. I don't want my kids to die. If they died first I think I'd lose my mind. Why can't I remember my dreams? I have no one to talk to. No one understands me. Eric understands me, but doesn't want to hear it anymore. Why am I so alone?
And then we had a few injections of time with friends.
I'm depressing. I keep almost crying when people ask me the deadliest of questions, "What's wrong?"
Misty and I go to lunch. Two hours alone, without children. By ourselves.
A big heaping, steaming bowl of happiness.
A long exhale. Talking about being tired, depressed, mad, pissed off, lonely, married, mothering, relationships, what the hell did we ever used to do for fun? Oh, all those things that cost money....
Being alone, but with a friend. Not having to listen to whining, other than our own. Eating food slowly, with someone else to clean up the mess. Feeling listened to and empathised with. Friendship.
Oh yeah. I remember this part.
Feeling like a grown up.
OK. Maybe I can do this again.
The days are slowly getting longer. Some days aren't so cold. Still no snow. School starts up again, soon. Spring will cycle back again, as it always does. I'll be happy again. Playing in the dirt. Growing things. Super powers fully recharged by the sun.
Maybe I can take a few pictures after all.