Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Effect and Affect

Last night I polished off the last of Gram's chicken soup, with some toast made from her homemade wheat bread (which all by itself is probably last-meal worthy for me), and realized I had finally closed the loop on the first round of holiday madness. Most people have a satisfactory conclusion to Thanksgiving by Friday night, Saturday morning at the latest. They're ready to shake off the cranberry haze and escape the stifling embrace of their loved ones and move on the next thing. Obviously I'm not these people.

It's not like I wasn't happy to have some calm and order restored to my home when my guests cleared out on Sunday (we like to keep the party going all through the weekend). I did enjoy the quiet, the return to comforting routine and the reunion with my big cushy bed. Even the prospect of getting back to work was cool. I've just come to realize that an essential part of every great time for me is a brief period of mourning when it's done. I spent a lot of Sunday, into the evening, feeling blue and weepy because something I had looked forward to for so long had passed. This happens always. After my camping trip. After Mexico. I know it'll happen, hard, after Christmas because the next thing to look forward to will be so far off and undefined. But it's OK. For one thing, I know it's coming. It doesn't blindside me with its timing. I can predict the onset of that pit-of-the-stomach funk as sure as I can identify its cause. And it makes me appreciate my mental health, because I have the luxury of wallowing around in my deep purples. I know I'm all emotional because a good thing happened in my life that I didn't want to end, that's all. And I'm doubly lucky because I know that feeling won't last. I've never, ever in my life felt down--even in the midst of a secret bout of PPD--in a way that I couldn't see my way up. I've been sad and heartbroken and terrified in my life, but I've never once known what it's like to feel hopeless. And I guess the awareness of another example of dumb, in-born luck, goes to the top of my thankful list for next year.

I don't mean that to overshadow the holiday itself, which was a loud, colorful, awesome succession of days marked by feasting and toasting and family and friends. My boy got to go wild with his cousins, which was something I've always looked forward to. Our table was overflowing with loved ones from both sides, food was delicious and plentiful, wine flowed, grandparents and aunties and uncles were indulgent, Mike and I even got to have a night out, many a conversation was had, and it was a holiday like all the other holidays, and also very much unique to us and our people and the time in our lives. And last night, curled up on my couch with a hot, fragrant bowl of soup after a busy Monday while HR slept and Mike was working, I let go. Of any remaining blues. Of the lamentation of time and its swift passage, taking with it all that's great and awful. And started thinking about Christmas, of course.

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