My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Friday, November 26, 2010

holiday planning...

I'm curled up on a comfy bed in my old room at my parents' house anxiously anticipating a reunion with my dear friend Mary at breakfast. Mary and I met in 3rd grade... we were in Mrs. Armour and Mrs. Rose's third grade class (back when "team teaching" was all the rage). Mary had curly blonde hair with those "Nellie Olsen" spirals... the kind that boinged back when you stretched them. We had just read Ramona the Pest where Ramona gets in trouble for pulling on a girl's boingy curls. I pulled on Mary's. We've been friends ever since. Mary and I were in brownies together, on yearbook staff together... we were in the gifted class together... she was a jock and I was a cheerleader and then, when I quit cheerleading, I was the manager for the basketball team so we could hang together. She introduced me to my first husband. We've seen each other through a lot. And now she lives in Alabama and I live 4 hours or so away in the mountains... but every year we come home for Thanksgiving and we've made it a new tradition (this is the 3rd year) of getting together for breakfast on the day after. It's a blessing and a perfect start to my holidays.

After that... I'm collecting my Auggie from his daddy's and we're heading to Stone Mountain, along with the newlyweds (Cody and Marquee) to visit with Purple Michael and enjoy a Stone Mountain Christmas. If you've never been to Atlanta... Stone Mountain is literally a huge rock mountain. It's pretty cool. They've built a theme park around it... lots to do... and Michael is working as an entertainer in their Christmas shows. Google Stone Mountain Christmas... check it out!

After that... I'm heading back to the hills. I miss my kitties and my nest. I'll have a good night's sleep... then tomorrow it will be back to Weight Watchers where they'll be revealing the new program to us. I'm so excited! From what I understand... you get more points in a day but they're going to assign higher point values to less nutritious food to steer people toward a more balanced diet and you know I am all for it! Red Flag Guy is considering clearing out some of his land and doing some organic farming... I volunteered to help, if I can reap some of the benefits. I know absolutely NOTHING about growing stuff in the dirt but I love the idea of having that kind of control over what I eat and I love the idea of learning how to do it. And... of course... as much as I love my farm folks... being able to supplement our meager food budget with a bountiful organic garden would be awesome.

There's a lot of good grudge football matchups tomorrow and I really want to be sure to catch them. I'll miss Alabama and Auburn today because i'll be at the mountain and traveling. Tomorrow there's the Florida State / Florida game (and i'm not expecting good things... it's been a tough season for my Gators)... and there's the Georgia / Georgia Tech game ... (I always cheer for the SEC) ... I've got plans to spend time with Next Guy and... I've got plans to meet up with my friend Amy for breakfast either Saturday or Sunday. THEN... Sunday... I'm taking photos for a friend that they can hopefully use for Christmas gifts... and...

See how fast this four day weekend is going to go?

I was not among the throngs of people who headed out for Doorbuster deals this morning for several reasons: 1. I hate crowds. 2. I am stretched really thin until payday. 3. I won't be buying much for Christmas... and I definitely won't be buying any of those big electronics that go on sale on Black Friday. If it was up to me... if money was no object... I would love to create some Christmas magic for my loved ones. But everyone in my life has everything they need. I can't rationalize having me and Austin go without groceries so that a relative or friend can have some new doodad that if they really wanted they would have already bought for themself. Every year this is a source of stress for me and I just can't let it be. I'm going to do the best I can... make sure the one who lives with me and has no one else to buy for him has the things he wants and needs and then move out from there. This is part of my strategy to avoid getting depressed over the holidays.

Another strategy is to stay connected. I have a horrible tendency to withdraw and isolate myself during Christmas. Not being able to afford the kind of holiday most people take for granted always makes me feel sort of inferior and... deficient. There's a boastful aspect to it all... people can't help themselves... they want to tell you what they got and they want to ask what you got. When you're a single mom... you don't get much... and as much as I try not to be jealous... it hurts to see people with their new bangles and baubles and bows and wish that there was some significant someone in my life to spoil me with bangles, baubles and bows... so I keep to myself and keep away from public gatherings and in doing so... rob myself of the OTHER joys of Christmas... the things that in the long run mean far more than this year's hottest ticket item. Stuff breaks, rusts, gets lost, loses it's value. People... relationships... memories... that's what really matters and I'm going to wrap those up in a bow and give myself as many of those as I can fit into my life this year.

I'm going to send more cards (which I CAN afford)... with more heartfelt words in them because I've learned that a kind word can go a lot further than anything I can afford to buy. Last night I got an email from a dear lady that I met doing summer theatre. She reminded me of a note I sent her family one Thanksgiving... I can't even tell you how many years ago but I know it had to be 7 or 8... and she told me that THAT note still meant a lot to her. Sometimes people just want to know that someone notices them... thinks about them... validates them... How many of you can remember what a random friend gave you for Christmas 8 years ago?

I'm going to walk more... breathe more deeply... appreciate the music, the sights, the sounds, the tastes... I'm going to stay healthy. Being sick last year made everything harder. I'm going to work at adapting some of my favorite holiday foods into healthier versions. I'm going to embrace the blessings I've been given and not take for granted the ways my life has improved over the past year. I'm going to honor God. Seek God. Worship God. It seems like when I put Him first... the other stuff seems to fall into line.

Last night Cody and Marquee and I were logisticizing for Christmas. Ryan and Cody will spend Christmas Eve with her family. Cody said that I'm welcome at their Christmas Day gathering but that the Christmas Eve thing is more "intimate" (in other words... "you're not invited"). As a mommy... I'm so glad that Ryan and Cody want to be together at the holidays and I'm so appreciative to Marquee's family for how well they love Cody and respect his bond with his big brother. I can't help feeling a bit left out... and feeling left out for Austin. But... it is what it is... and at least this year I know a month in advance instead of finding out - and being heartbroken - on Christmas Eve. I think that this year I may just appreciate the time we have together at our Christmas Eve Morning Brunch and ... do my own thing for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day... spare myself the drive to the southside... maybe go out for a special Christmas Day meal with Austin... make some new traditions. Marquee is an only child... if she's not there, her parents have no one. I have Austin... and I trust that when he's grown... if his plans take him away... then my plans will take me away somewhere too... maybe my future Christmas tradition will be to travel somewhere... leaving out on Christmas morning... who knows? The old saying is that "a son's a son until he takes a wife but a daughter's a daughter the rest of her life".

I didn't take a single picture yesterday... nothing to share. We had a nice meal. I ate exactly what I wanted and was so stuffed that I barely wanted any dinner. I managed to squeeze in a piece of pumpkin pie around 10pm to top off my "no counting day"... I was at a new low weight yesterday morning so maybe it will all even out. I'm allowing myself to gain as much as 2 pounds without freaking out on Saturday morning. I doubt I will. Jamie was still feeling a little less than herself yesterday but she and I did go on a nice long walk and we giggled and crunched in the leaves and walked in the tall grass to see if we could and challenged each other to races... it was precious. I also spent a little time in the attic room with Angie and Tobie (my cousin's wife) chatting and sort of decompressing. Someone said something discouraging to me and I had to pull myself away from the fray a bit and view things in the light of truth. I think if you can realize that not everything that everyone says to you about you is true... and being strong enough to discard the untruths and wrap yourself in truth... you can find a lot more peace in this life. Tobie has started going to trivia at a coffee house their church runs... and I would SOOOO love to do that. I said, "OH... I wanna go! I'm smart! I know all kind of things!" Hello... desperate... party of one... your table is now available. She's going to let me know the next time they have it.

Well... I guess I've rattled on long enough. I hope that you all had/have a wonderful holiday and that you'll find a peace in your celebrations this year.

love and hugs!


Ken Riches said...

Sounds like an action packed four days.

Adirondackcountrygal said...

Stone Mountain looks like fun. The closest thing to that we have here is the Victorian Street Walk in Saratoga. Costumed characters, Saint Nick arriving. Singers and performers. They close off the whole street downtown for it.