I am struggling to get into the season this year. I think it is mostly because time has flown too quickly for me in 2011 and I don't feel ready for the end-of-year celebrations and reflections. I am frustrated by what I haven't done this year, hamstrung by invasive health issues. A black cloud of depression makes it hard to reflect anything, even wonderful, positive experiences.
So the festive season perhaps feels like one more thing I am having to modify and I resent that. This has always been a favourite time of year, full of traditions which bring my close family even closer. Even though my children are now all adults, there is no sign of them scaling back on childhood rituals - they are, in fact, even more determined to keep them going.
This week we made our annual trek to the Christmas Tree Farm to select our tree. Rather than a leisurely day trip followed by trimming the tree and decorating the house, it was a window of opportunity at the end of my working day - just an hour between my returning home and the tree farm closing for the day. This due to clashing work timetables making family time on weekends impossible. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, all three off-spring made the most of that time and smiled as they selected two trees: one for the family home and one for Melissa's. Kaitlyn and Ashley decided not to get a tree this year as their rental home has been put on the market and they are looking to move.
Arriving home, I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep. It had been an especially big day: the builders had finally arrived at the office to commence our long-awaited re-fit and Kieran had been allocated to receive the delivery of our new mattress at home, which needed unwrapping and the bed re-made before I could crawl under the doona anyway. So, we compromised - the tree was mounted on its stand by Kieran, watered and left standing bare, like a lady waiting to be dressed! She had to wait til I came home from work the next day. Kieran and Kaitlyn went to Melissa's house to help her get her own tree standing and decorated, so my little helpers were away in any case. Rodney had been away all week for work.
So Thursday, Kieran put the lights in place and I hung ornaments. We made the "annual dash to Big W for ornament hooks and light globes we could have sworn we had extras of the year before" and then Melissa came around to get her share of the globes for the extra lights I had passed on to her. I set up my Willow Tree Nativity and Kieran hung the card holder, on which I hung the first card received - the one that each year is a celebration in itself, a hand-made creation from an old friend. Yet, still, I couldn't feel in the season. The remainder of decorations sat in their boxes for another night. I finally got back to them on Saturday, yet as I write on Sunday, boxes remain.
As I have throughout this year, I am trying to put it in perspective: in the course of my life, I can look back and know that most years I greeted these tasks with delight and will again. 2011 is a blip that will fade into memory and the future will bring better times. Just as my health dips down, it will rise up and my activities will be less restricted by pain and fatigue.
And those boxes will still be there tomorrow.
(There was intention to photograph the completed tree to adorn this post, but taking it just seems like too much effort in itself right now. More evidence I am truly not myself.)