You come every year and I start remembering you in August. And I wish my first reaction wasn’t dread. But I dread you.
And then my June-born daughter (June is your summer sister and I find her much less demanding) begins skipping through your delights and making her plans long before Thanksgiving. She wants us to get the tree up because she already has packages lined up in her room to put under it. She hung her cinnamon pine cones and baubles from red twine weeks ago.
Her twinkle helps me a little. And they say it will snow a lot tomorrow, which would be a lovely gift. Because where I live when it snows, it stops. The noise, the doings. We Californians hunker down.
Why do I dread you? Because it’s so much. And I just don’t race well between all the feelings. But it’s choral performances and magical church services. It’s dress-up the house, the kids, the food. It’s the company holiday party and new music and lights hung outside and my stomach turning every time I see the deflated decorations on the lawns in the day time. We really need to be green and authentic in this new era, but we keep letting Made in China invade America’s world and storage units and I get so sad!
But it’s not your fault my in-laws and my mate and I both made babies in March. That it’s my mate’s birthday, my first-born’s birthday and Jesus’ birthday all in a row. And the places they each hold in my heart are deep, deep waters. My longings for them to be celebrated and remembered come from a place that almost scares me, the love is so powerful. And the cruelty of it is that sons leave their mothers. Mine turns 18 this year and Mary gave birth to a son for death. It is a death. It is such a death. It brings tears to my eyes as I write. I love him so tremendously, I would die in his stead. But he has to go and walk his own road to death and I have to let him. Oh, Mary. You have made me cry every year since I held his week-old self to my skin and fed him from my own flesh and blood. How did you do it?
Dear December in America, Please tame your tinsel. Grant us Silent Nights. The fluorescents and canned music and bargains rob us of so much. And they dazzle so easily, especially children. I need you to give me space for the feelings. I need to cry, connect, wonder, meditate, and comfort. I don’t want to just get sick from the sugar and depressed during Winter Solstice from the let down. I long for you to be known not in the red bullet of Target or the greenbacks we don’t really have. I want to share your starkness and ring a few silver bells. Celebrate the birth of the men I love. And feel full, not stretched.
Hear my cry.