It happens over the weekends when I work. I try to get up and do everything I need to get done by 7 am, when I go to work, but sometimes, I don’t. And then, the last few days, the gratitude lists have suffered due to not feeling well, sleeping in, and holiday socializing. And then the internal recriminations start. You know, like when you blow your diet, or skip going to the gym for a day or two (or six months). However, I’m not giving up on gratitude.
On Christmas Eve, I had a meltdown. I had some things I wanted us to do. G and I had talked about all of us going to the movies, specifically the new Tyler Perry Madea movie. Just so you know, I ADORE Tyler Perry and I love Madea. I’m grateful to my daughter for ragging on me until I finally watched “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and discovered them both. Anyway, we all three wanted to see this movie and I thought Christmas Eve would be a great day for it. Then I wanted us to go to the Christmas pagent at the local Catholic church. Our down the street neighbors are very involved there, and we have gone there for functions in the past and everyone has been extremely welcoming of us, so we like to support them. Their granddaughters were to be Mary and the Angel Gabriel, and how could I turn down the chance to see a girl be the Archangel? Then, one of our parenting class families invited us to their house for a get together. Prior to this year, G and I hardly ever did anything social around Christmas, so I thought it would be fun for all of us.
Unfortunately, when I presented the idea, E had a teenaged reaction to the word “church”. I found out later that until this Christmas Eve he had never been in a church before. But I just took it wrong and had a melt down and said some not nice things about not getting my way. Then G got all hurt because she had wanted to take us out to breakfast but we slept late, and things just snowballed until E was sobbing and we all felt miserable. Finally, we rallied and decided to just go get a coffee at Starbucks just to get out of the house. On the way, E asked what time the movie was and if we had time, he’d still like to go. So, we put off coffee and went to the show.
What a relief! We all laughed through the whole thing. I am SO grateful to Tyler Perry (and Madea) for saving our Christmas Eve with his humor. We got home from the movie just in time for E to check the mail and get his mother’s Christmas present (a $100.00 gift card which he had been looking for since last week) and then regroup for the pagent and headed out again. It was just lovely. I love the church because it’s more rustic than ostentatious as many Catholic churches can be. The father is from Nigeria and loves to sing and uses music as a message and has a very powerful way of speaking. The girls were great in the pagent, and the older one sang a duet of “Oh, Holy Night” with the father that got me all teary, as that hymn always does anyway. We sat with our neighbors and got introduced to more folks. E saw a lot of people he knew from school, and he actually helped G hold the hymn book and tried to sing. I was losing my voice by that time, so I just croaked a little, about an octave lower than everyone else.
After that, we headed over to our other friends, where the house was loaded with kids, food and presents. Dave, the dad, hadn’t bought presents for three of the boys from the parenting class, so he slipped them each $20.00. There were tamales and empanadas, green chile and nachos, and more desserts than you could imagine. We laughed and chatted and played Bingo and all the kids opened a ton of presents. It was an absolute blast. We came home happy and full of food and friendship. Honestly, it was one of the best Christmas Eves I’ve had in years. The sadness and tears of earlier in the day were completely wiped out by the simple joy of celebrating a well-loved holiday.
I’m not happy that I backslid into self pity and lashing out, but I’m human. I’m not going to beat myself up over it, even though I will do my best to learn from it. And I’m going to go back to my gratitude list in the morning, you can bet on that and once my voice comes back (I’m still croak-y), G and I will take up the Magic book again.
Wishing you all the love, joy, laughter, and fellowship that we experienced on Christmas Eve and yesterday, and hoping they will continue throughout the new year.