A Bit of a Scratched Christmas Season

Gentle reader, here at Nogglestead, it has not really felt much like the Christmas season at all this year. What follows is a bit of a personal cri-di-coeur, so I’ll tuck it below the fold.

Thanksgiving came late, as you know, and my mother-in-law was ill and could not attend the holidays, which highlighted how few we probably have left with her.

After Thanksgiving dinner which was attended only by my immediate family and a single friend, I learned that my aunt in St. Charles had passed away that morning.

I had planned a little weekend getaway with my beautiful wife for that weekend, a polite fiction that would have allowed us to visit my aunt while having a date night with my wife. However, it turned into an extended stay ending in a memorial service.

Over the extended weekend, my remaining aunt, the caretaker of my recently passed aunt, walked with me through the house so I could earmark anything of hers I wanted. My aunt had decorated her house in fine wood furniture and antiques, many of which had been in the family for generations. But I have a complicated relationship with the possessions of dead family members. My father had once said about my sainted mother that she was sniffing around for money or would be when someone died. I don’t know what prompted him to say that, but it gave me a lasting fear that people would think that I was interested in benefiting from the deaths of my family. So I have always minimized what I accept after the death of a family member. Which sometimes leads to internal conflict when I think I could really use that, but it’s a practical need and not something to remind me of my aunt.

So I ended up with a collection of books, a nice console stereo, an entertainment center, a pair of cat sculptures, and some wall decorations. Which presented a logistical challenge for getting them from St. Charles to Springfield and have enough adult bodies to carry said furniture. I planned to to drive to Poplar Bluff with my youngest son, pick up my brother and nephew, and go to St. Charles, where we would rent a truck and drive the truck from St. Charles to Springfield, unload my things, and my brother and nephew would continue to Poplar Bluff to unload their things and drop off the truck. We could not do it the first weekend of the month, as I had other plans.

The other plans, unfortunately, were not fun. My wife and boys were going to Camdenton for the First Lego League state competition. Last year, we turned it into a weekend in Osage Beach just down the road from Camdenton, and while the boys were competing, my wife and I could do some Christmas shopping and having a date day somewhere else. Unfortunately, this weekend was the first weekend I had to work on a Saturday, so I had to work instead.

While in Camdenton, my wife aggravated a slight sports injury into a major case of sciatica which, after she drove home on Sunday, left her barely able to move or walk on her own, so she needed pretty attentive care, and her debilitated state left us unable to attend any of the school or church Christmas programs–including a concert she was supposed to sing in as part of the church choir. She’s moving better now and is almost back to normal, but it did wipe out the Christmas program season.

She convalesced in our parlor, where our existing record player is, which limited access to the annual rotation of the Christmas records. And, of course, I could not leave her for my circuit of Poplar Bluff-St. Charles-Springfield, so I had to rely upon my beatified brother and nephew to bring my aunt’s furniture to me. Which he did.

The weather hasn’t helped. I’m from up north, so I expect winter to be, well, snowy. Even though my boys have had three snow days already this year, we have yet to see measurable snowfall. Kansas City and even the St. Louis area have had proper snowfalls, but nothing here. As a matter of fact, it’s spring-like, with temperatures predicted in the 60s through the week.

And, to be honest, I’m a little disappointed with the gifts I’m giving this year. I usually like to have something that I think will wow the family, but this year, the gifts are pretty rote and predictable. I also like to have something for the family from Santa, something a little out of left field for the whole lot of us, but this year, I haven’t thought of anything. Which is just as well. As I look back over the years, a lot of times those gifts have gone unused ultimately. So maybe this safe Christmas of giving will be better than previous years.

If it happens. The oldest boy has been under the weather a bit, so an abundance of caution might prevent my mother-in-law from attending Christmas dinner and gift exchange.

I am glad that I kind of follow the church calendar and mark Christmas as the beginning of the new year, as I am about ready for a new beginning. I’m off work for the next week and a half and hope I won’t blow the time sitting at the computer doing nothing. Except, perhaps, tapping out something on a mostly unread blog.

Meh, it’s a mindset that makes a feedback loop, where negative things leads me to see the negative things. I need to shake it, and I’ve generally found that when I’m finally able to talk about it probably means I’m on the upswing already.

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