I was really rattled this Christmas when I suddenly realized that I could scale back the baking considerably. I was also more suspicious than relieved. The need for a pyramid of mincemeat tarts, hamper-sized bags of potato chips and a massive raft of San Pellegrino usually associated with the weeks leading up to the holidays would just not be required this year; worse still, even though I have had neither of my boys living at home for more than a year now, I have somehow been unconsciously assuming that the situation was temporary and that soon everything would revert to its Normal State.
Whatever that is.
Christmas is a bit tricky too because there’s no one at home and then everyone returns home for a day or two, here and there, maybe dropping in for a dinner just long enough to reignite all the same maternal brain-patterns as before: sock donuts may be left tucked into the couch, fancy Christmas hand towels are hung up with the pattern on the inside or not hung up at all and why doesn’t someone text if they won’t be back till 3:30am when they are staying over …
There may also be polite observations that the fridge is not stocked quite the way it used to be.
And they’re right, it isn’t! But who wants to roast a few random crowns of lamb just in case they drop by?
“You’re waiting for your own life to start,” The General pronounced with a characteristic sageness he only uses when he knows he is right, either in life or whilst watching ‘Jeopardy.’
(He also seems quite cheered by the excess mincemeat.)
Well, I am waiting – but I did not know I was waiting.
I think part of this is due to the inability to accept that my previously cherished role as a Happily-Married Person-with-Children is over. (Although as Frasier commented “We are still a happy family!” which I appreciated so much -and felt my cheeks burn with shame that he’d had to point this out).
I have struggled so hard to re-brand myself and my place in the world and now I believe that there was no need because really, I never did change.
I just happen not to be married anymore.
I have also recently come to understand that clinging to the pain and pressing it, pinching it like a wound (even in my dreams) to see if will still bleed is just another way of refusing to let go of my old life because frankly, the pain is the only connection that unites me with that life and that person.
Which isn’t helpful.
So maybe I’ll just stop waiting for permission To Start.