My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Friday, November 19, 2010

a weekend retreat

me, Austin and Purple Michael... Christmas 2007... he was a bright spot in an otherwise really sad holiday...

When I get off work tonight... I have decided that other than the absolute minimal weekend requirements... weigh in and bringing in provisions... I am having a weekend retreat. I need some down time. I need some "away from the general public" time. I need to conserve money and energy and I am going to just have some hard core R&R. Until Sunday morning... when I fully intend to break the PJ Sunday Cycle that I seem locked into and drag my lazy butt off to church. Austin isn't having spend the night company this weekend so my house can be my own.

The purpose of the retreat? To reflect on my recent dip into the dating waters... and the valuable lessons I learned - or relearned, I guess. To meditate on who I am and who I want to share my life with. To come up with a workable budget for the upcoming year. I'm strapped again this pay period and I'm sick of it. Something has got to change... whether I take the sperm donor to court or take a second job or sell a kidney.. I'm sick of barely making it from payday to payday. I work too hard to have to worry about how to feed my kid and that's where I am again... taking inventory of the pantry and figuring out what we can do with what's left. People on welfare live better than we do. 2011 is going to be the year of freedom for me... no more bondage to this fear of financial failure.

I got permission to share a really cool story with you and haven't had time to put that together... that's on my agenda this weekend too... some real heart to heart blogging. You know that whenever I take a deep look inside my soul, I always share whatever I find there... because I think sometimes people just need someone to articulate what's in their own heart. And I think sometimes people need to know that they're not the only one who feels what they're feeling. We don't want to be the psycho freak with unreasonable expectations and overwhelming disappointment.

Yesterday I started my day with a huge amount of anxiety... there were a few extra tasks on my to do list and they were distracting me. I took an early lunch and got them knocked out of the way... and then went after work to get my oil changed... collecting on a bet from the Georgia / Florida game... free oil change (other than the cost of the oil and filter... still a bargain!)... and then I came home and ate a small meal and had a glass of wine and went to bed by 9. (There's a rhyme for you... glass of wine, bed by nine, feeling fine...)

Accomplishing those few tasks made me want to accomplish a few more... since the holidays are so stressful and depressing for me... I thought that *maybe* if I clean house emotionally and get my head and heart straight before it all gets started... then I'll be better equipped to handle things.

I've also realized that the past few discouraging holiday seasons have held a few of the same characteristics: illness, isolation, lack of purpose... There's a lot I can't change. I can't bring my brother David back into the family. I can't spend time with his babies and be the family we were before they walked out of my life. I can't make my children little again... I can't instantly manufacture the Norman Rockwell stockings by the fireplace Christmases that I tried to give my babies when they were babies... I can't magically have the kind of money I want to be able to buy the kind of gifts I want for the people in my life. I can't put more hours on the clock so that I can bake and decorate like Martha Stewart. But... I can... celebrate and focus on the people who have remained faithful friends to me throughout my life. I can send a few cards. I can make a few things. I can make time for people I want to spend more time with who are present in my life and want to spend time with me. For every tradition that I've lost... I can create a new tradition. For every person that I've lost... I can reflect on the way they've impacted my life and celebrate their legacy (or celebrate their loss, in some cases).

I guess what I'm saying is that preparing for the holidays is about more than decorating the surface of your home or making a list and checking it twice. It's about the attitude of your heart... and that's what I'm going to work on this weekend. I may also start working on that Christmas card list so if you want to get one from me... send me your address by facebook or by email at

Love and hugs, y'all!


Adirondackcountrygal said...

I know how you feel about having to live on a budget. I get so angry sometimes that my husband and I are so broke and there is no reason for it. I feel he could go out and get a job, he does make some money but it is not enough. I have learned that getting angry doesn't help because he always turns it around and makes me seem unreasonable. Anyhooo.. the holidays, I don't like them either. To me, its all commercialism and greed.

Anonymous said...

I think the holidays are hard on lots of people for lots of reasons. Our Christmas budget is waaayyyyy tighter than I would like it to be this year, but I am thankful my kids are happy and healthy, but also reasonable enough that I can realistically discuss with them both that Santa's sack may not be as overflowing this year, but the heart and the love is just as strong. My dad has been depressed at Christmas my whole life. I don't really know why and I am always sad for him because of it. I think maybe he misses his parents. I think that over the years he has also felt the money crunch over the holidays and feels like us kids were slighted in some way, but we weren't. We have wonderful, happy childhood memories and I don't remember a Christmas at all that I felt slighted. A lot of it is about perspective. We all have to accept that we can't change our financial limitations overnight (please don't sell that kidney, you might need it later), but we can change our attitude about our expectations.

Lainey Laine said...

It's all pressure isnt it, trying to get everything right for the christmas holidays. It is hard with less money and yet we still do it. I try to enjoy it as much as I can even thought it costs an arm and a leg!

Becky said...

This post touched my heart in a big way. I love the idea of taking time before, or even during the holidays to reflect, to give thanks, to reach out in love and compassion, and to clarify our true intentions and desires.

I feel ya on the tight money situation... but, you know, I look back on Christmases where there was a big buildup and the presents were abundant and the dinner was a feast... but then, after the chaotic and rapid ripping open of gifts all simultaneously, having that sense of "Is this all there is to Christmas?" and feeling that I'd happily forego some of the abundance of material things in exchange for a little more heart-to-heart and sharing the meaning of the holiday somehow.

It makes me think about Our Town, when Emily gets the chance to come back to life and observes everyone rushing around and asks, "Can't we just LOOK at one another?"

So many people are struggling financially these days as you and I are, but you know, I think people really are finding their way back to finding pleasure in simpler ways. Last year my daughter and I just got/made one another one or two little things (she painted me a recipe box which I will always cherish!), made a nice dinner together, and watched White Christmas and Little Women with wine and dessert. It was really perfect, especially in comparision to the previous several
Christmases with the Scrooge who used to live with us. I do hope to see my one brother and sister this year, but like you, I also have one brother who removed himself from the family several years back, for reasons no one seems to understand. And I miss my folks terribly even though they've been gone for 20+ years. I wish they'd gotten to know my daughter.

Anyway, God bless, and hope the holidays will have some lovely moments for you, including the occasional winter treat from Starbucks. : ) Hugs.

Becky said...

PS- Have you ever thought about changing that e-mail name?