Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Kind of a strange day today.

Due to logistics and the annoying way in which Christmas fell on a Wednesday this year, my side of the family decided we would be celebrating OUR Christmas this coming Saturday, the 28th.

All of which is fine and good.  Except it meant that, as of nine o'clock this morning, I've been alone.  Once Anthony left with Amanda to celebrate with his side of the family, it has been me, my thoughts, and nothing but.

For starters, I am pretty sure this is the first Christmas that I haven't seen my parents or my sisters.  None of us ever moved or lived or traveled so far away that we were ever unable to be home at this time of year.  If it weren't for the Santa-frenzy in my living room early this morning and the constant stream of photos on my Facebook feed, I would really have no way of knowing that today wasn't just a random Wednesday.

After Amanda left, I managed to pack up the gifts still under the tree that I will need for this weekend's celebration.  I assembled her Barbie Dream House (which, incidentally, is so tall it comes up to my chin).  I realized, in horror, that one unopened gift appears to have been accidentally thrown away, and I'll be going throw garbage bags in the morning to find it, procrastinator that I am.  I got through most of Season 1 of "Sons of Anarchy" and I took a nap where I was so out of it that when I woke up, I panicked, thinking I was late for work.

Sure doesn't feel like Christmas.

Honestly, it has been a bit of a downer.  Again, those pesky thoughts I was left alone with all day presented themselves front and center.  Being alone on December 25 can put anyone in an "oh, woe is me" frame of mind.

But there's this thing...this thing called perspective.  Perspective changes everything.

Every time I hear the word perspective I hear my mother singing me a jingle to an old Sesame Street skit:

"That's about the size, where you put your eyes, that's about the size of it."

Gaining perspective might be one of the best tools a person can achieve.  I haven't had a banner year.  In hindsight, though there were definite highlights, I am not fondly reflecting back on 2013.  I have had to face some truths and some obstacles bigger than I ever could have imagined.  I had a couple of things happen to me this past year (which I will NOT speak of here) that I thought were insurmountable problems.  Interestingly, here is where perspective comes into play: I only confided these problems to a couple of people in my life, and their reactions were drastically different.  While one person told me that the problems were minor and manageable if I faced them head on and dealt with them, another person told me that they would never be able to deal with the same issue themselves and that they didn't know how I was possibly going to get through it.  The reason there were such variations in reactions is because everyone brings to the table their own ideas and thoughts about what constitutes a "problem."  One person's impossible is another's bump in the road.

All that said, while I may be a bit mopey at the moment, and I may be reflecting back on 2013 with an undertone of bitterness, I am able to take a second to put it in perspective.

I look around me and I have friends and family dealing with all sorts of stuff.  Some of it isn't enormous, some of it is just plain horrendous.  I know people who make mountains out of each and every molehill; I know others who wear a carefree smile everyday, hiding unimaginable pain behind that facade.  The tragedies - and I do NOT use the term lightly - tragedies that I have witnessed so many people I love and care about endure in the past six months alone breaks my heart.  I myself have gotten to the point that I no longer even know what to say to some people, because words don't help and are grossly inadequate.

I may be a little down today, but in a few short days I will be where I belong - with my parents and my sisters and their husbands and all the kids, celebrating.  THAT will be Christmas.  Today was about Santa.  Christmas, however, shouldn't really be about him.  Christmas, for me, means family, which is why my Christmas is still to come.

Perspective.  Having it is a gift - best gift I could have received this year.  If I have learned nothing else, I have learned this:

As good as you might think other people have it compared to yourself, you don't know what is really going on behind the curtain.  So stop comparing your own plight to them, and stop judging.

As bad as you might think you have it sometimes compared to others, take the time to step back and recognize what you DO have.  You will probably find that things aren't nearly as awful as they may seem in that moment.

Acknowledge those around you who are hurting.  They might be dealing with something enormous, or they might be not coping well with something trivial, but they are still in pain.  Remember that everyone has their own set of tools they use to cope, and they may not employ the same tools that you do.  Pain is pain, and if you love someone, support them, even if you cannot understand what they are dealing with.

In a word, kindness.  Practice it, not just today - on Christmas - but on any given random Wednesday too.

Merry Christmas to everyone.  Love to you all.