As I scrunch my nose at all of the stuff I'm supposed to buy for everyone, I remember.
As I take the cross looks from some members in my family because I want to stay home instead of go to the mall, I remember.
December has become my least favorite month of the entire year.
Everyone wants my time.
Our dwindling stack of money.
I feel stressed that there's so much to do.
I have started saying no to people asking for my body to be in different places at all times.
And I remember.
I remember that a few years ago my daughter was enduring a hell I can't comprehend.
I remember that she had years of drugs ahead of her before she would be cured.
IF she could be cured.
She missed many functions at school.
She was exhausted as if she had run four marathons one after another.
She barely ate.
She still barely eats.
Two Christmases later, she's still tired.
My husband and I are trying very hard to keep her strong.
Both physically and mentally.
She has a personality that can turn on a dime.
She gets frustrated very easily.
She snaps at her sister.
At her mom.
At her grandma.
My thoughts wander to the two years of chemo, did they alter her personality?
Or was it the radiation to her brain?
Or is this just who she is?
All of the wants and stress of the Christmas season are really wearing on me this year.
Last year wasn't much better.
I'm a humbug about this month now.
The FB posts about people and their little, tiny complaints.
I have a cold.
My eye hurts.
I am out of Elf on the Shelf ideas (something I refuse to participate in!)
Why do people need to cram so many presents, good deeds, donations into one month?
And I remember.
That Jake and countless other kids aren't here for Christmas anymore.
Because cancer was too strong.
And they were too tired.
And those moms and dads are the ones who really struggle during the holidays.
I feel a depression settle into my body.
Can I hide?
Hide in my house with my kids and husband?
We can hibernate like a Christmas groundhog and come out after the holiday is over.
We can do what WE want to do instead of what everyone thinks we are supposed to do.
Because for me, Christmas has become unfun.
It's become stressful.
And my ho-ho-ho has been lost.
I need to figure out how to fix things for my family.
How to take back this month.
Maybe my cheer IS there and I need to close out everyone outside my home and look deep into my Christmas tree.
I wish we could go away during the holidays.
To our own secret space where the outside world is left there.
And try to find the real joy of the holiday and remember that what we have gained is the most important gift of all.
A second chance.