Sara Whitman

It's That Time of Year...

Filed By Sara Whitman | November 30, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Christmas

One holiday down. One to go...

I wish I could say I loved the holidays. I don't. I never have. I doubt I ever will. Even though I've had more wonderful celebrations in my adulthood than horrible ones as a kid, I can't shake it.

I brought out my mother's china and my sister said, That just gives me the creeps. I put it away.

There are times I miss my mother, still. When I went to the White House, all I could think of is how proud she would have been. She and I did love to talk some politics. Even as she edged closer and closer into Republican territory, we both were adamant about accountability in the process and the candidates.

Around the holidays, though, I do not miss her one bit. She was bitter and angry at every one. I try so hard to be positive because I do not want my children to have the same memory. When I get overwhelmed, I step outside or go do dishes. I sat out on the deck Thanksgiving day, after dinner was over, for a few minutes alone. Pulling my knees up against my chest, I let all the ghosts have their moment.

And only a moment. They all needed to be heard, their wails and pain. Why? Please, they wanted to know, why?

I have no answer. I can only listen and acknowledge. Be strong enough not to let it suck me in, pull me into a black hole.

It is the best and hardest part of having my sister here. We can sit around like two war veterans, laughing and telling crusty stories that are not funny. We don't, though, for the most part. It's like giving espresso to a nightmare and dancing with it until you can no longer stand.

No more.

We are creating new moments to remember. The corn pudding- which is a better recipe- the list of thanks everyone gave, laughter and pumpkin pie. It should be enough, I tell myself.

A friend of mine said to me, if I can get through it? So can you. It's true. She went through far worse. Know what you do well and know it deep inside, she advised. I try.

I have an amazing family. A beautiful, loving wife. A home filled with love. No one can take this from me, I remind myself over and over.

Jake couldn't fall asleep last night. He kept coming down the stairs, wide awake. We told him to read, or lay quietly. Finally, I went up and sat with him, rubbing his back. He kept opening his eyes and smiling at me. Eventually, he drifted off to sleep.

No one can take this from me.

Except myself. I tried and almost succeeded once. It is when I try to banish the ghosts I get in trouble- I must give them their due. Sometimes, I wish there were a pill I could take that would fill me with bubbly happiness.

Instead, I'll clean the house today. Shift from one holiday to the next. I will make soup or go walk the dogs out in the woods. Without a doubt, I will allow myself a ridiculously long nap.

And try to accept the fact that the holidays will never be easy.


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Meh. I'm not a big fan of the holidays either, Sara. You're not alone.

thank you for this, Sara. Wow, how i needed to read this. I could have written it myself. my mother too was a terror at the holidays. both my parents are dead. my sister and i have been trying to remake the holidays in the 17 years since mom died. no one gets us like we do. and i too have a partner, and children.

yes they will never be easy and we'll redeem them for ourselves and each other and for the queer world we live in so that healing and a little leaking joy can be part of the darkness.

thank you.