I’m starting to feel the numbness creep in that I thought I would avoid this holiday season. It’s Chanukah, and, even though I’m not Jewish, I keep that holiday. The burning candles comfort me and bring peace in to my life. That’s worth celebrating. Tonight is the last night. The entire row will be lit. I’m hoping the warmth of the candles will take away some of this numbness. It’s a feeling that you can’t feel anything. Does that even make sense?
This year, I have done festive things. I have participated in a Chanukah Shabbat service, attended a gift swap, and even have two Christmas parties on my weekend agenda. These are better efforts than I’ve made in years past. But the numbness is taking over now.
I have to be very careful with this numbness, as it tends to lead toward self-injury. There’s a need to see blood for proof that I’m alive. The warmth of the blood against my cold skin awakens me. It’s a sick process founded by a sick mind. I have to be diligent and aware.
As the numbness creeps in, the happiness and feelings of family and love begin to fade. I am in a fight against my mind, once again, and I don’t know which of us will win.
Lily, my internal five-year-old, would like to tell everyone in America that ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ is coming on television 16 Dec at 8:00PM Eastern Standard Time on the ABC network. Since we’ve been here, she has come to absolutely love the Peanuts cartoons. I’ll have to agree!
My best friend, who is one of the absolute most wonderful people I’ve ever been privileged to have in my life, took the kids to see Christmas lights last night. They had an absolute ball. Lily is by far the most verbal of all the kids, so she chattered away most of the night. She and my best friend even sang Christmas carols! I did pop out mid-song once to tease my best friend, though. I love him dearly, but it was my duty to take advantage of a situation like that. 🙂
The kids were ecstatic. In fact, they’re still chattering away this afternoon. Lily kept pointing out trains for Timmy, who was watching eagerly from inside. Willow, too, was in awe. The lights amazed them, but so did the fact that an external ‘big peoples’ would *want* to spend time with them and take them about like that. We’ll be taking my best friend’s nephew out to see the lights soon, but he made last night strictly about my internal children. The fact that he would pick a time for us to go alone specifically so they could be themselves openly is tribute to the person he is. It shocks me that someone would do that for them as well. The really cool thing about last night is that my best friend had a great time, too! I’m very fortunate to have people in my life who are not only supportive, but who actually enjoy spending time with my insiders. It was definitely a special evening.
I was watching a performance by the group Celtic Woman on public television tonight, and at the end of a certain song, I was filled with the kind of warmth that can only be brought about through unconditional love. It’s amazing how something as small as a song played during a concert for a public television funding drive can leave you feeling better, even in the midst of chaos. The song ‘Christmas Pipes‘ has a special meaning for me. Last December I stepped off a Greyhound bus to spend my sixth Christmas with my family of choice. I could never express in words the difference they’ve made in my life, but since I won’t be able to come in for the holidays this year, I’ll try.
Near the end of ‘Christmas Pipes’ the bustle of the choir quiets, and two of the vocalists alternately sing the line ‘good to be home,’ each turning to the other as she sings. As I sat on that bus last year watching that familiar station come closer and closer, knowing I was meeting people I loved and who loved me, that line kept repeating in my head. Good to be home. Like always, I felt my shoulders drop a bit and my jaw loosen slightly. Some of my stress seemed to fall away immediately. Home.
Now, whenever I hear that song, I think of white hot chocolate, the beauty of my sister-of-choice’s smile, her inner child who has brought so much joy to my life, and the warm comfort of my brother-of-choice’s presence. I think of that night when relatives of my FOC were in from a distance away and how we all spent time together, simply enjoying each other’s company. I was half oblivious from 26 hours on a bus, but it fit. Once again, home.
When I was still at school, I would listen with absolute wonder to the stories my classmates told of happy times with their families. It seemed unreal and impossible that families could work like that, but now I understand and have stories of my own.
I’d love to be boarding that Greyhound bus again in a a bit over a week, settling in as schedule 4666 brings me closer and closer to my FOC. Financial issues are preventing that, but we’ll all still be together in spirit. Distance can’t really touch the love that holds a family together. And over the holidays, I’ll be sure to play the song ‘Christmas Pipes.’
Good to be home.