Well, Yule is just around the corner. For me, that means more time to focus on the family and on my friends and reflect on the things that I want for myself in the coming year. For me, this is a time of renewal, where I think about making my life better and the lives of the people around me better. I also take time to think about how fortunate I am.
Now, I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I come from a relatively low class background. I don't mean my family is not classy (although we can address that later) but I do mean my parents we lower working class folks. When I was a kid Christmas and Easter were a time when I got new clothes because my relatives bought them for me, and if I was lucky, my grandparents would pull out an awesome toy or two. We received the Christmas and Thanksgiving baskets from the charitable organizations in our town. I don't feel ashamed, and unlike Punk, I am not mad at my parents for it. They did the best they could for me.
I do, however, think now about how very lucky I am. I have a roof over my head, and that roof belongs to me and Kitten. We own our home. We've got a reliable vehicle. Its warm inside. I don't lack books or other forms of entertainment. Our pantry is full. Honestly, my life is full. We're happy. We're in love. We have a wonderful chosen family and we don't have much to wish for. I mean, we can all use more money. A bigger home would be nice. But all of these things aren't things we need. Which is my point.
Well, the beginning of my point. I think (along with many people, I'm sure) that this season has become painfully commercialized and self centered. I called my grandmother today to tell her if she didnt have Christmas plans to come over on the evening of the 25th for dinner. She immediately apologized for not having presents for me and the girls. It made me sad. I don't want gifts from her. I don't see her enough. I just would like her company. I tried to tell her not to worry, and to tell her I was more concerned that she has the things she needs, but I don't think I really got through to her. If she does stay in town this holiday, I hope she comes to see us.
This year we've decided not to exchange gifts with eachother, me Kitten and Oscelot. In part, like I said, because we have everything we need. In part, we realize money is tight and we'd rather give to our family and friends than to each other. Then we got to talking about two of the girl's coworkers, who are dating. The lady has a son and she's terrified she won't be able to get him a Christmas present. We had already decided to get them some things (Kitten picked out a gorgeous sweater for her, I love it) and put it together as a gift for them. We decided last night money isn't so tight we couldn't go grab some more things for them that we know they'd enjoy and pick up some toys for the kiddo too. I like this idea so much better than getting something for ourselves. It seems right, you know?
Of course, this cued me to have to google what the heck seven year old boys like for toys. I was suprised. I saw nerf on the list, as well as some other toys and games that we played with when I was a kid. Of course, once I got to toys-r-us this morning I almost died when I realized a really good nerf gun costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 and that isn't including all the stuff you need to really trick the toy out. Did you know they make semi-automatic and automatic nerf guns now? That they make mock kevlar vests with holsters and ammo holders now? Its a far cry from the toy I remember as a kid. Cooler, oh yes, but much more advanced. Anyway, I've gotten some ideas for them, and I'm pretty excited that by the end of the week we'll be able to pick up some seriously fun stuff.
So, anyway, what I suppose I'm trying to say is that despite the fact that everyone else seems concerned with the gifts they're going to get; I'm excited to see that we can enjoy a holiday of just giving. If you have the spare money, I defiantely encourage you to give something to someone who is less fortunate than you. I know, without exception, my friends are very lucky, very blessed people.
In other holiday news, I had the official Holiday Fight with my mother this morning. I called her to see how she was and to remind her that we had set aside all of Christmas Day night for her to come spend with us. I planned on cooking dinner and whatnot. She told me she wasn't making any plans, because she didn't know what everyone was doing. I pointed out that was why I was trying to tell her what we were up to. She asked then (as she has for the last three years) whether or not she could bring my brother, or if we would consider having dinner with him too. And, as I have for the last three years, I told her no.
I don't feel like I need to reiterate why it is I am estranged from my brother, or why I feel it wouldn't be healthy to have him in my home. Even if he had apologized to me, his temper is volitle and I don't want to expose Oscelot to it. Or Kitten for that matter.
Of course, this brought on a shouting match with mom. (well, she shouted) She accused me of being unforgiving and childish. I pointed out I forgive him, I just don't feel the need to expose myself to that kind of disrespect. I also don't think its healthy for my family. She seized on the word respect and said it was disrespectful towards her for me to not spend time with him during the holidays for her sake. I countered that I thought it was disrespectful of her to expect me to, seeing as how he told me he wished I would die of AIDS. I don't really think I should have to be around people who actively wish me ill. She told me to grow up and then hung up on me.
So, as always, I'm left to think what I will, since she swears she won't spend Christmas with us because I won't welcome my brother into my home. Honestly, its no skin off my back, since we don't celebrate Christmas, we only do it with our families out of respect for their holiday traditions. But, I am sure, she will inevitably ignore me until an unspecifed time right before Christmas, and then call and try to confirm some sort of plan at the last minute. Last year we each guessed a date that she would call. Oscelot got it right, she called two days before Christmas. This year, Kitten and I have bet on the 21, which is our Yule. Perpet has bet on the 23rd. We'll see. Honestly, it seems pointless. Last year Kitten's mom came over and had breakfast with us and we played board games all day. She only left because my mom came over and made it apparent (with a TON of rude remarks) that she wanted her to leave because she was encroaching on her time with us. What really killed me was she only stayed for about half an hour, even though we had made dinner for her and everything. She didn't even eat.
Ah, well. I see now why Kitten used to hate the holidays. I don't mind it so much now. We have a good way of working things out. WE go to midnight mass with Dad, have breakfast with her mom and dinner with mine. Its easy. We take thir gifts to them and we spend the rest of the time relaxing. I think we're finally beyond stressing about it. Although, I must confess, I am sorely tempted to make plans the night of the 25th if my mom doesn't call by the 20th. I refuse to sit around the house hoping she'll drop by. That's mean of her and pathetic of me.
Anyway, so the holidays are not so bad this year because we have things to cheer us up. Also, I might note, Mrs. Boss knows when Yule is, so she was kind enough to give me my religious day off so I could celebrate. I didn't even have to ask. She is so cool sometimes.
Also, I'm trying to get together enough money to get her boy a copy of the Count of Monte Cristo. He loves to read and we both just finished the Eragon books. We sat and talked about it, and he flattered me by asking if I would help him with his homework on the Hobbit. I plan on rereading Lord of the Rings whenever he gets around to reading it. He's so smart. Only in 6th grade and reading the stuff I like too. He's bringing me a book about the assasination of Abraham Lincoln, and I think I'll enjoy it. I figure I could repay the favor and get him something good too.
So that's the holidays thus far in a nutshell. Tomorrow we're going to start making ornaments for Yule with blessings on them. It'll be fun.
How's your holiday going?