(I was going to throw in a quote from TS Eliot’s “The Wasteland”, but skimming the poem just blew my mind. I assumed that I had read it before in high school. I was wrong. I am intrigued by it and I will pour over the thing later. But enough about that.)
So here we are at the arse-end of Christmas, sick of indulgent food and tired of our families. That’s not to say that I did not enjoy the holidays. I did, and I’m still enjoying them. But, there is a festive fatigue that settles in during this time of jolly chaos, and I suspect everyone is happy to return to routine.
Christmas day gave me an insight into a gap that lies between my childhood and being a grown up. When we reached noon on Christmas day, all the presents were open and played with, phone calls had been made, and the empty expanse of the afternoon loomed in front of us. When we finally all went stir-crazy, I marshalled the family out of the house for a forced snow march, and I felt a touch of resentment for having to take charge. That made me realize that I only really knew how to interact with Christmas as a child, not as an adult. I was waiting for a parental figure to call the shots, but that figure is supposed to be me.
The breakdown of my family years ago started when I was just about to enter my teens, though you could argue the decay had been evident for years. From the age of 12 on, I had little to no positive interaction with my father, and our family celebrations pretty much collapsed into chaos. My theory is, learning to transition roles of responsibility in holiday situations takes place during your teen years, and since I had no good male role model to pattern on, my development was arrested. It’s not a big deal, but it is something I need to keep in mind when festivities approach. As much as it would be nice to sit back and passively ride along on the holiday fun train, somebody’s got to be the conductor.
I don’t want to give you the impression that Christmas was full of brooding introspection. I received a pile of wonderful gifts, my little dude was bouncing off the walls with gleeful enjoyment at all of his new toys and books, and the wife liked the things I picked out for her. We topped it off with a wonderful meal at our friend’s place (the lad’s fairy godmother), and cookies galore.