In The Midst of the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us (ALL the holidays… Hannachua, Christmas, KWanza, New Years, Winter Solstice… lots of them) and RA doesn’t discriminate based on what hoiday you celebrate.  Probably not an incredibly popular centiment, but you know what… I’m so totally passed being worried about people getting bent with me.
I sit and think about all of the Christmas’s past and all of the Type A memories I tried to make for my kids.  For years I made batches of cookies that no one ate but that I made becuase that is what I grew up with… making cookies.  I hustled and bustled and busted my behind.  And I made memories.  But the memories I made didn’t actually corespond with what I thought I was making.  The memories… Sitting in the chairs of the laser light show and watching the “jello” dance across the ceiling.  Putting up the Christmas tree and letting the kids decorate the bottom.  Dominick the Donkey and I Want a Hippopotomos for Christmas and Santa Baby bringing smiles because of their connotation.  And going to see the Christmas Lights regardless of where we are.  You don’t necessarily have to “do” to create the memories, you have to be.
Now that I’m celbrating with the addition of RA, I rethink what I do and what I plan to do so I don’t turn Ho Ho Ho into HoHumBug.
I know i can’t “do” traditional eggnog or a hot toddy or even spiced wine.  Meds and alcohol don’t really go together well.  It’s not that I have done any of this anyway, I know I’m a cheap drunk and it isn’t good for me to drink on a good day.  But I also know that a lot of people who are on similar meds do or have.  There are ways to celebrate in less alcohol rich ways.  Apple cider is wonderful, spiced grape juice is an awful lot like spiced wine and is <ghasp> healthy.  Look for the little things.  Look for ways that you can find your own bright spots.  Music sometimes help, too.  All things considered, finding the bright spots are going to be the best treat you can give yourself.
I know that it is especially hard, particularly when many of our families themselves don’t “get it”, but try to set expectations realistically.  You know how much you “need” to get done, be it wrapping, or baking or decorating or cards or whatever.  Be realistic with yourself and with everyone else. And don’t discount hiring out some of the things you feel you have to do.  Buy your cookies from a bakery or from some orgaization having fund raiser bake sale.  Have your gifts wrapped the same way (lots of stores hae charities who come in and do wrapping for a donation).  This has the side benefit of having a bunch of different wrapping paper that no one has seen before (hint hint, wink wink).  There is a big trade off between time(stress… effort) and money.  Even today when money is more tight than ever, sometimes spending a few dollars that you might be able to write off as donation to charity to keep from overtaxing yourself is the better option.  Save your engergy and effort for things that you really enjoy or that bring you happiness.
Find the easiest way to do whatever it is that you are goin to do.  I know this sounds obvious, but it is sanity.  ANd not just during the season, all the time.  A lot of getting by is just learning new ways of doing things.
Ask for help.  When you can’t figure out a way to do something without hurting, ask for help.  This was the biggest deal for me.  I have always been the one to try hard to do things for everyone else.  I’m not sure if that is a girl thing, or a mommy thing, or what.  It is what it is.
Keep in mind, though, that there are also tradeoffs for cutting back, especially if you cut back too far.  When you cut back (or out) on things that really matter to you, or that really matter to those who are important to you, sometimes th cost is your depression or even more stress than actually going through with whatever it is that you cut back on.  Those tradeoffs aren’t worth it.  Sometimes, in those cases, it is better to cut something else out or at least cut back on and find a way to deal with the added stress that the events or the tasks might cause.
So… I guess it all boils down to… do what makes you happy and enjoy the holidays!!!

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