This is the time of the year I dig down, deep. I dig down to find the bone I buried on another day when my energy and enthusiasm were over-flowing because I knew I’d need it and want it for these days around the holidays. My dogs do that. They actually bury their bones, at least on occasion. Mostly they gnash and chew and thoroughly enjoy them. But once in a while, they bury the offered bone.
Here we are on the 21st of December in my family that celebrates Christmas. My husband and I usually have three Christmas’s, this year we’ll have four. I’m not depleted right now, but I’m beginning to feel my expectation of being depleted ramping up into higher gear remembering the many ways I was depleted in the last few years.
So far, this year has been . . . not perfect, but good. Even fine on some days. So, what to do about the increasing sense that it’s all about to fall apart? The dread of some of the patterns from the past years has crept through my resolve to enjoy Christmas.
Indeed, I am enjoying Christmas this year. My husband helped me decorate and we had a great time. We used a live Douglas Fir tree we had in a pot in the yard and moved it to our porch outside the front window. We dressed it in lights and basic red ornaments. That combined with our usual icicle lights strung across the front of the house and our Boy Scout wreath, and we’re definitely in the spirit.
We used an old card tree that cards slid out of almost every time a new card was added. It’s in the shape of a tree anyway so we hung it up and draped it with ornaments. I also set up my Santa collection. Finally, there’s the slew of candles on the mantle that I light every day. All combine to leave me satisfied and contemplative about the contemplative things of the season.
Even so, the dread is mounting and it’s doing me much good to remember that I am not the only woman going through the holiday scramble. I send this shout out to all you stepmothers who’ve been reading the blog. Dig down. Not to be the perfect woman. Not to look like a Barbie for Christmas. Not to make the most perfect meal a woman ever made. Dig down for the whiff of yourself you buried on one of those last days you were sensing a surplus of you. Go find that self, that bit of you you buried. Bring it back out into the light and carry it with you, either in a locket around your neck or in your pocket like a talisman.
You can find it.