Monday, November 23, 2009
Why is it that when things start to balance out, feel normal and calm, seemingly routine, that you get instantly thrust into emotionally stressful situations that make you over think and project and fester and analyze and contemplate and overall doubt your momentary sanity?
The most minimalist of things really, but monumental to everyone. That one thing that drives us and divides us all the same. That leads us to do what we do every day, to make us get up in the morning. That's right. Money, or moreover, lack thereof.
It's amazing what a piece of fiber and paper can do to a person. How it can cause both happiness and pain. Both stress when you have none and pompousness when you have abundance. How it creates rifts in families or in societal niches.
And you think you're ok. You get along, living paycheck to paycheck. Working just enough to get by. And usually it’s enough. Sort of. You make too much to get help, and too little to survive. It's a shame how these systems work really. But who am I to tell them what to do, I mean I'm just a single mom with no child support, what do I know of struggles?
The impending holidays always make me worry more. I want for my son to have the best memories possible. I want him to think back on his childhood fondly and not know that there was ever trouble in his life. Isn't that the job of a parent? Creating illusions for their children?
I remembering being a kid and coming downstairs at Christmas to have wall to wall presents, and as many of those holier than thou people will tell me that it's not about the gifts it’s about family and yadda yadda yadda, it wasn't the exact gifts I remember. I remember sitting giddy at the top of the stairs waiting to go downstairs to see what Santa had brought with my brother, so excited in fact that I would usually throw up from the sheer anticipation and anxiety of it all.
I remember waking up my parents and having my father go downstairs to "make sure" Santa came. Of course as I grew older I realized he was making sure nothing was forgotten and that the video camera was properly placed to document the merriment, but it was still a great feeling to watch him tread those stairs that morning.
I remember getting the OK from him as he bellowed from the stairs, and somehow my brother and I making it down in one piece as we fought tooth and nail to get to the bottom of the stairs first. Overcome with excitement and wonder as we would enter the living room, wide eyed at the site of a living room transformed into a magically room full of gifts, wrapping paper and bows as far as the eye could see. My sister gingerly following us in her teenage angsty way, trying to mute her excitement, but failing.
I never knew my parents struggled. Back then they didn't, and things were ok, but as I got older and my dad's health declined, as the economy got worse and inflation started to make things harder to come by, I never knew. It wasn't that I was oblivious really. I knew in other ways we had scaled back on things, but holidays, holidays were the one time where as a kid you should never know struggle. You should never know hardship or sadness.
You should wake up, surrounded by toys, by games and my love. By family and feast. A table ornately set and decorated. Full of people arguing and laughing. Making memories.
And yet, I fear my child is losing out on what I had. Partly because I can't afford to give it to him and partly because my family has lost the spirit to want to participate in any of it. Lost on traditions. We have our traditions, we have our ways. And sure over the years they have changed and molded, but I want the heart of them the same. The feeling of them. That giddy anticipation from parent and child, I want to make new memories for my son.
I fear that funding make cause a fundamental problem in holiday cheer.