Seems I have a lot of explaining to do!
The roller coaster I ride called "My Life" always has something new for me. It is never the same ride, always a new hill to climb, then a great thrill around the corner, maybe even some moments of sheer terror, and of course the free fall adrenaline rush of making it over the hill.
There is one big difference in "My Life" present, than in past. All of my past... childhood past, grown up too soon past, tweaker past, victim past... The big difference is I do not want off until the ride is over. I am never really afraid of the next hill. Sometimes I get bored waiting for my next challenge, but I never have that feeling of , "STOOOP THE RIDE, I WANT OFF!"
I don't reflect nearly as much as I used to. In fact, reflecting in the past was more of an obsessive, painful, over analyzing state of mind, always followed by expectations. Now it is more of a brief moment to look at how I have gotten to where I am, what I have learned, followed by hope and goal setting.
All of this being said, I do not have expectations for much, and Christmas is included. It is a good thing, because this year, "My Life" through me a sharp fast turn that left me completely disoriented as I began a loong loon slow climb up my next hill.
Here is a random breakdown of what I see up ahead on my hill. By the time you read this, a few things may already be behind me.
- lease is up
- rent is too expensive here
- health problems
- no insurance
- criminal record
- credit problems
- children and Christmas time
- no one will do a 6 mos lease
- applications for rentals are strict due to increase in evictions
- student loans not resolved due to "clerical error"
- one vehicle is broken down
- 2nd vehicle needs tired
- moving requires deposit before we get our current deposit back
- moving 4 days after Christmas
- eminent bankruptcy
- garnished tax return (for afore mentioned student loan error)
- won't finish college as planned
- year long road trip moved out a year
All of that and we are armed with about a whopping $140.00 to get through a week and a half (food, gas, 2 adults, 3 kids -one in diapers), followed by one more check before Christmas that has to include a moving truck, expenses for 2 weeks and our electric/heating bill and transfer fees. We have gotten each older child one gift, and nothing for the baby yet. We are not decorating, because I cannot forsee moving a 4 bedroom house in one day, with a 2 year old, four days after a Christmas that included decorations. All of this almost sounds devastating in my head as I type it out.
It's not. If you can stand it, my kids are amazing, and they were so scared we weren't going to have ANYwhere to move, that when we found a much smaller place, with no yard, and all we could get is a year lease- they were OVERJOYED that we will still have a HOME. When we explained that they would only get one major gift ($50 each we spent) and a few little things (that I will be getting courtesy of the amazing Jeffco Action Center Santa shop) and that we would have our own little housewarming celebration in January- they said "it's ok," with warm smiles and they meant it.
I do not speak of religion much, because I do not feel it is my place to sway someone who is not looking for new direction in that area. I have come to my own conclusions based on my experiences, my wisdom, history, and how I feel. I do not believe in the "God" that most do. I have my own system of morality, and basically I equate "God" with good and so everything that IS good is what "God" is to me. My own personal belief is that the idea of religion and faith are strong principles and they work for many people who need them. I believe prayer works because it creates "good" energy. I believe that when people "give it to God" they are surrendering to their inner most powerful good and of course "God"is in all of us because there is good in all of us.
That being said, our family celebrates Christmas not out of Christian beliefs, but in a sense of spiritual coming together of all that is good, to acknowledge the good that is within each of us and to share that good with others, and of course national tradition.
Many of you who have gone back to the beginning of my story, or have been here all along, are familiar with my varied religious upbringing, the lack of "family," and the many confusing Holiday seasons following so much loss. I have had to recreate what many aspects of life mean to me and I choose to define them my own way, filled with love and hope. I do the same for holidays and celebrations. This is after all, "My Life," shouldn't it be the one I create and define instead of the one my nosy neighbor thinks I should have, or my condescending, judgmental grandmother prefers, or that ever annoying seems to know-it-all d*mn talking screen in the living room says it should be?
This year will be just as special as any. I think likely it will be one of the more memorable years. Not because of Bryson's famous stuffing, not because the kids got the newest most expensive high tech gift, and definitely not because of our richly decorated home, filled with people, food, and gifts. Those things just cannot be afforded.
This year will be special because we have each other, because everyone in our family appreciates that, and because we are still filled with love and joy and hope, not expectations.
Perhaps next year will be a different celebration. Who knows, we may be moving at the end of our lease again. Perhaps our planned life trip will beginning to rematerialize. Whatever happens, our love remains. Ever changing... growing... adapting... but ever present.