Archives for category: church

It’s funny — Chad was reminiscing about how he used to be able to sit in front of the Christmas tree, basking in its beauty and contemplating how, on a level, it represented the divinity of Christ’s birth, and our continued celebration and devotion to that. But then his sad conclusion was that he didn’t know if he could ever do that again.

I feel exactly the same way. I have vivid memories of sitting on Dad’s ex-wife’s couch, marveling at the individuality and weirdly sacred nature of the Christmas tree. I am pretty sure that, on a few occasions, I even brought my comforter down and slept in front of the tree, just wanting to be near something that I saw as so special and important. The entire Advent season was one of joy in religion for me, and though a Christmas tree isn’t necessarily a Christian symbol, for me it did symbolize that entire period of the year.

But now I hate the holidays. Well, not really. But I dread them, and finding that innocent magic in them is becoming more and more difficult. I had hoped that having a child around would help me to find that joy again, but E is just too little. It was a joy to have her touch Christmas lights and play with wrapping paper, but the meaning behind it all won’t come for some time, and so I was left mired in my own conflicting feelings about the holiday.

I think it has to do with time, and money, and the awkward feeling of being an adult surrounded by other adults. Does that make sense? It’s never been easy to find gifts for my massive family. Each branch, each separate unit, is sprawling. Chad’s small little nuclear unit hasn’t even been a significant change to the overwhelming numbers of people that I would like to bestow gifts upon. It was fun trying to find creative, cheap ways to make gifts for family when Joanna, Emily, and I worked together — but this year I was lost in a morass of denial, so I just delayed the inevitable and, honestly, didn’t really get a soul Christmas gifts.

Part of me feels OK with this. I think Christmas should be about spending time with each other, not buying stuff for each other. But a larger part feels awful about this, because the gifts of cash and other things from parents and grandparents has been so invaluable to us, and when the heck am I gonna grow up and bestow such gifts upon others? Perhaps I will feel differently about my own kids — I KNOW I will feel differently about Elinor and any others that may come, actually. But I am an adult now, and a huge chunk of me wonders if I should just suck it up and be that adult, spending inordinate amounts of our income on gifts for the many that I really do love ….

This has all just been sitting in my head, marinating in the grey matter for the last few weeks.

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We went to church — the first time in almost four weeks. Oi. It is just so much more difficult and less rewarding with Elinor. Getting anywhere at a specified time is a miracle in and of itself, and then, within minutes, Elinor will make her hungry little o-face and I will shuffle off to the nursery to nurse, half listening to the sermon being piped in through an intercom, half dealing with my ravenous little girl. Dads of screaming toddlers will come in and will be slightly embarrassed to see me nursing, and will try to quiet their kids since Elinor is obviously falling asleep, and I will feel guilty. I wish I felt comfortable nursing in the service. Hmmm. Gone is the quiet contemplation of church for me — here is the vigilance of a new mom.

I did, however, make it back up for communion this Sunday, a first at church since her birth.  She actually fell asleep as we sang and finished out the service. A miracle!

Then we came home and both Elinor and I fell asleep for almost four hours in the afternoon laze. I woke to watch Chad do manly things, like take apart the ancient tile in our lower bathroom, clean the cat’s corner, and save a bitty mouse that Iza cornered in the laundry room after he left the outside door open. It was a cute mouse, and my city girl was at odds with my country girl over whether or not to let Iza do her thang. Chad rescued it. Ahh. He was productive; I was not.

By the time I had made a dinner, hung out with the little one, nursed her to sleep, and collected myself,  it was almost ten. I was desperate to get to the grocery store — our fridge was sorely lacking — and I decided to just go, at 10:30 at night, as Chad tumbled into bed and Elinor hung out in nod-land. Fun, right? The grocery store so late on a Sunday night?

It kind of was. It was nice to get in the car, open the garage, and be me, driving into the weirdly humid night, arriving at a parking lot nearly empty, steering a squeaky and slightly left-leaning cart down empty aisles as the stocking crew rode loaders past me.

On the drive home I rolled the windows down and thought about the me of fifteen years ago, so young on summer nights, hanging out in grocery store parking lots or BelMar beach, basements of friends, reading in my room. Even just last year, on break from the schoolyear, summer nights were times to stay up late and read books and make outrageous plans for change — easily forgotten in favor of just being. It might take awhile to readjust to this type of summer.