A Merry Little Christmas

This is my 30th Christmas and in most ways it is very much like any other: gingerbread houses, decorating two Christmas trees, holiday music, baking, decorating, planning, shopping for, and wrapping gifts for loved ones, putting white twinkle lights in the window, Christmas concerts and parties with friends and family. I seem to be a lot more cry-y this year than ever before, and while there are a couple of big, legitimate reasons for that, it is still unsettling. Last weekend Blue Eyes and I went to a large Christmas concert spectacular in our city with a symphony and a choir and world-renowned headline opera singer. When she sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and I started sobbing. As in, uncontrollable tears streaming down my face, difficult to breathe kind of sobs. Since then, every single mention of this song—even just typing out the title—brings tears to my eyes all over again.

(Hi, I’m a wreck. How are you?)

This year has been really, really hard. Blue Eyes has been working out-of-town for about 49 of the 52 weeks in 2013 (and 2012) (and 2011), there have only been 2 or 3 times the entire year where I saw him for more than three days in a row. We’ve had some pretty intense family drama that has taken a lot of time, money, and emotional reserve to try to deal with; we didn’t have any of those things in spades going in, nor any real idea that it could get so bad. I don’t think I want to get in to it all right now, but when a seasoned judge with salt-and-pepper hair says “You know, I’ve been doing this for a long time and this is the most contentious case I have seen in years!” and instead of feeling surprise you feel validated…it is a pretty ugly mess, really…also, the fact that we ended up in court and/or with court officials to discuss and try to iron out these issues no less than FOUR TIMES this year should help frame that a bit. Anyway, so we’ve had long-distance marriage struggles, and family drama to a spectacular degree, and job stress and money worries and emotional upheaval and turmoil and medical issues on top of it all. 2013 has probably been the most difficult year of my life, I am only too happy to see it out the door.

But, before the New Year rolls around, there is the little thing called Christmas.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light. From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay, from now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

This seems like such an impossible dream right now: a light heart, troubles out of sight and miles away. My heart has been heavy for far too long and my troubles have been front and center, mucking about with my regular routine. A whole day without the stress of those two things seems…impossible. Unthinkable. Unimaginable. A lifetime of it is like trying to comprehend the Universe, or quantum mechanics. I just…I don’t have the ability to process that kind of future scenario, neither in my brain or my heart, despite desperately wishing that dream-life will come true. Thankfully, Blue Eyes will be home for the holidays, he’ll be here for almost 2 weeks and that will be the most I’ve seen of him in a row for, literally, years.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

More than ever, I think, I cherish my friendships and support groups—my people—because they have taken such a strong stand beside me this year. My wonderful friends—the ones inside my computer and the ones inside my living room—have laughed with me, cried with me, raged on my behalf, kept me company and involved me in projects and purpose to keep me occupied with something healthier than more of my own wallowing. If I could give a gold star and a magical unicorn to each one I would; a Christmas card just doesn’t seem to suffice. More than any other time I can recall, I am hoping that my dear friends and loved ones also have a wonderful holiday; I am praying they have lighter hearts and fewer troubles.

Through the years we all will be together, if the Fates allow.
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

I truly hope that next year will be better, and the year after that will bring us more happiness to Blue Eyes and me. “Next year will be better!” is on constant repeat in my brain and my heart. I dream about his work responsibilities changing to be closer to home, I fantasize about having dinner with him every night, brushing our teeth together and crowding the mirror before snuggling into his shoulder to finish whatever chapter I started that day while he races motorcycles (or tractors, or go-carts, or whatever) on his iPad. Hell, I even am looking forward to cleaning the beard trimmings (that he seems incapable of noticing) out of the bathroom sink on a daily basis!

Yes, next year will be better. I don’t think I’m running away from or trying to ignore The Ugly that has taken root in our lives, but as I have very little control over the outcomes all I can do is wait it out. Sure, I could probably figure out how to change my attitude so that The Ugly no longer bothers me, but it would most likely require illegal doses of mood enhancing and/or altering drugs, and I don’t think that is any better or healthier than hunkering down and waiting for spring. So, for now, I will listen to Judy Garland sing about having a Merry Little Christmas and bawl my eyes out–again–wishing with all my heart that things will be better soon.

For the record this post has taken 11 tissues to write, each soaked to a soggy mess.

Harriet sig

Music for “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” composed by Hugh Martin, lyrics by Ralph Blane; find the story behind “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” here (or there, rather).