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jannica merrit

humor. honesty. sometimes both.

Month

December 2016

Holiday Blues

I have started my Christmas blog a couple times this week and gotten nowhere.  I wanted to write something cheery or funny about the season.  But, when it comes down to it, I can’t lie.  This has been one of my hardest posts to write, and even harder to share.

Because here’s the truth: I fight depression most Christmases.  I am fine the other eleven and a half months of the year, but when Christmas rolls around, it comes back like that credit card balance you thought you’d paid off before you saw something awesome on Amazon.

I think it started young, with my dysfunctional, disconnected small family, Christmas Eve screaming fight semi-tradition all the while surrounded by media images of large loving families and warm celebrations.   And when I was older, returning to school after Winter’s Break to all my peers recounting their amazing holidays and toy hauls when I was the child then of a single Mom who couldn’t afford to get me much.

I try harder for my kids’ sake than I ever did for myself.  I bought decorations, a fake tree, tons of presents and hung our stockings with care.  I sent a cheerful card to family and friends of the kids looking adorable.  I drove around looking at lights for the benefit of my preschooler, and he loved it, and I enjoyed his excitement and my toddler slept through it. We have been singing Christmas Carols in the car and around the house.  We will even try to go to a Christmas Eve church service. 

So hopefully they will not feel the impact because I never know how hard it will hit…anywhere from slight melancholy that is almost unnoticeable to nearly paralyzing depression that leaves me unable to reach out, and canceling plans with friends at the last minute because I literally cannot leave the house.

I am hoping for my kids’ sake that I can cover it.  At least be cheerful enough not to ruin their holiday.  If it doesn’t hit hard this year, it should be relatively easy.  If it does, well, I don’t have a plan for that yet even though I should.  I will get us through it somehow; I always do.  It just isn’t pretty.

 

How Much Is Too Much?

 

Before kids, I barely celebrated Christmas.  It was a holiday for families, kids and more religious people than I was.  My family is spread out far and wide around the country and there wasn’t one set point where everyone got together.  Most years, I was single.  I don’t live near any of my family, so Christmas was either spent with other single friends or as the well-meant-but-uncomfortable-add-on to someone else’s family celebration.

After my first child was born, it was hard to think of us as a whole and complete family, even though we were.  Now, with both my kids, I am slowly growing our own traditions and celebrations of Christmas.

But, the question I come to every year is how much is too much?  I see their unstuffed stockings, and a present from me, a present from Santa (who last year came and ate his milk and cookies, though I am not sure if anyone but me noticed) who came down our chimney where I cleared a path from the clutter, toys, and Christmas tree.  And, with what I have already bought I don’t know if I should stop or keep going.

I don’t want them to grow up spoiled and entitled, but I also don’t want them deprived.  They are still young enough not to know how much they are getting vs. how much their friends are getting but I feel like I am creating precedence.  They get toys and small presents throughout the year, as I see things I know they would like and the house is full of their stuff.  They are getting presents from family and friends. So, maybe they are already spoiled and I should go minimalist?

And maybe it isn’t about the presents.  But they are too young to understand the meaning of the Holiday.

Though they do find joy seeing the houses decorated with lights and Santas and reindeer and other assorted decorations.  My son was jumping for joy as I brought the Christmas tree down from the attic in pieces in dusty garbage bags, grumbling under my breath as I got scratched by the branches and the clouds of dust all over the bags made me sneeze, and the heavy awkwardness of them as I tried to drag them safely down the seven foot ladder.

Some years, we have gone to church, some years, I have had to work, and some years, I fought hard against the seasonal depression that grips me most years, and every year I wonder where the line is…

Advantages of Being Young

There are many disadvantages of being young (like not being able to set your own bedtime), but there are some distinct advantages.  Things that adults just can’t comfortably get away with.  Many of these are things which, once gone, cannot be recovered and still be deemed a socially acceptable person.

For example, when you are young, peeing your pants is encouraged.  No pesky “holding it” searching for a bathroom or having to stop what you are doing to poop or pee.  You can keep doing what you’re doing without stopping to take care of business.

Along those lines, farting loudly is not only okay, it is handled as a big joke. Instead of hidden, and hoped no one heard or smelled, it is celebrated and brought to everyone’s attention, “Look, baby tooted!”  People laugh either way, but when you’re young, it isn’t mocking, uncomfortable laughter.

Over eating is cute!  When was the last time as an adult that someone texted a relative to state in a happy, celebratory way that you ate five bowls of Cheerios?  As an adult, that would be hidden unless you are a Professional NFL Player.

You can sleep whenever and wherever you want.  If you are out and about, someone will carry you to the car or home, and try not to wake you up.  As an adult, sleeping in the wrong place or at the wrong time, can get you kicked out or fired…and if it’s alcohol-related, possibly arrested.

When you are done with your drink or food or toy, it isn’t a huge deal to simply throw it on the floor and walk away; you never have to look back.  As an adult, you are expected to clean up after yourself.

You can decorate your body and your whole world with pretty stickers and wear them proudly, even if they came from the grocery store checkout line and say, “Not Returnable”, just enjoy the pretty hot pink colors.  Even if Mom doesn’t appreciate the beautiful stickering job you did on her end table, relax, you know it’s a beautiful improvement!

You can meet someone and immediately ask them for candy without it being awkward.  It isn’t even socially unacceptable to just go up and take what you want, if there is an open candy bowl anywhere.

You can also go up to a complete stranger, say hello, and proceed to tell them about all the toys you want, while they listen patiently and encourage you.  Doing this as an adult, you will not be met with as generous a response.  You could even be told to shut up or get a job.

I hope my children enjoy this wonderful range of benefits while they are young, because they definitely won’t last forever.

#firstworldKIDproblems

 

There is a wonderful thread on Twitter where one can share some of the troubling things in life, that just possibly are tied to us being spoiled and privileged called #firstworldproblems.  I love to share some of my many struggles on there, and sympathize with others doing the same as  we all trudge long in  this life.  It’s kind of like an online support group!

But at #firstworldKIDproblems there is a similar thread where my kids could share some of their most troubling problems as well—if only they knew how to type.  I imagine they would go something like this…

  1. Mom didn’t believe me when I said “My sister want ice cream” so I don’t have any.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #helpforhungrychildren.
  2. Mom won’t let me watch Power Rangers on her phone and I have to use my tablet. #firstworldKIDproblems #crummytabletresolution.
  3. Mom is making me wear pants today.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #soOCD.
  4. Mom yelled at me for clamping down on her nipple to catch myself with my teeth when I fell off the couch.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #whosenursinghereanyway.
  5. My individual pizza with my favorite toppings was cut wrong and she expected me to eat it anyway.  No way! #firstworldKIDproblems  #Ijustcantdoit.
  6. Mom made me get down from the top perch on the cat tree.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #slowingmyroll.
  7. Mom brushes both of our teeth. every. single. day.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #itsjusttoomuch.
  8. A box came from Amazon Prime and there was no Rescue Bot Action Figure in it.  What? #firstworldKIDproblems  #wherescustomerserviceAmazon.
  9. We have strawberries, raspberries, bananas, and pineapple.  But I want blueberries now.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #IcanteatTHAT.
  10. Going to my Godmom’s house to get spoiled, but I want Grandma to spoil me.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #nobodycareswhatIwant.
  11. The TV show Mom wants me to watch is educational. No robots. #firstworldKIDproblems #boring.
  12. Two kids.  One tablet. You do the math.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #Iwasherefirst  #itsmyturnnow.
  13. My toothbrush isn’t any type of Power Ranger or Rescue Bot. #firstworldKIDproblems #endchildhoodsuffering
  14. Mom won’t let me drink her Diet Coke.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #ifitisntgoodforyouwhydoYOUdrinkit.
  15. Despite the decorations, it isn’t Christmas today.  Decorations, but no presents.  What?  #firstworldKIDproblems  #OhcomeonitsChristmas.
  16. I sang “Happy Birthday” to Mom, and she seemed happy but wouldn’t cough up any cake.  Come on, it’s your birthday!  #firstworldKIDproblems.  #itisnttoday.
  17. The cat won’t give me horseyback rides.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #kidwhatdoyouweighanyway.
  18. Mom still won’t let me drive.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #IcanreachthepedalsifIslidewaydown.
  19. We have to leave the playground when Mom says, NOT when we are ready.  #firstworldKIDproblems. #hecknowewontgo
  20. Mom wants to sing with me and I want to sing solo.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #myturnnowandalways.

And so on and so on goes the list of trials and tribulations my children face on a daily basis.  It’s a wonder, a testament to their resiliency that they even can continue on in life.

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