Saturday, January 10, 2009

Next Year…Maybe Not

I set about the task of de-Christmasifying the house when I got home from work today. Husband was firmly entrenched on the family room couch, attached by some invisible umbilical to the idiot box. The outdoor lights that he had promised to deal with were still swinging from the gutters. When I asked him why he hadn't taken care of them, he cried, "It's my day off!" "Oh, goody!" I cried back. "Do I get one of those?" My days off are spent scrubbing toilets, chasing giant dust-bunnies, crawling around on the floor cleaning up cat puke, paying bills, scouring countertops, planting flowers, polishing windows, sweeping decks, dusting furniture, vacuuming stairs, putting up Christmas decorations, taking down Christmas decorations…

It occurred to me, as I stripped the baubles off the upstairs tree, that I'd hardly had time to enjoy them. The only opportunity I had to handle them, and to let the memories wash over me, was when I put the tree up. And then again this evening as I took it down. And it struck me. I love these things. They are beautiful and shiny, whimsical and sweet, and every one of them means something to me. To ME. Only to me. And not to another soul in the whole world.

My husband does not love them. He stays as uninvolved with them as he possibly can. His major contribution is to whine while he pulls the boxes out of the garage, and whine again when he has to put them back. The rest of the time, I'm on my own. There are two people living here, and only one of them gives a damn about any of these pretty things. And it's the same story, really, with everything in the house. It's my furniture, and my art hanging on the walls, and my china gathering dust in the hutch, and my flowers in the garden every summer. He doesn't love these things. As a matter of fact, I have no idea what he loves anymore.

Football. He loves football. And the television. Hour upon hour of it. The TV is the only thing in the house he would save if the place caught fire. In fact, I think he might just grab it before he grabbed me. After all, I should be able to save myself…

Now that I spend 90% of my waking hours at the restaurant, the trappings of my life…my former life, the one where I had a home, a family, a loving husband and a friend or two—don't make any sense anymore. Christmas just makes that all the more clear. The season used to be about sharing with my beloved, and my family and our friends. And then it became about cherishing the memories. And then the memories just made me feel lonely and sad. And eventually I have come to where I just go through the motions, and I don't even know why anymore. The family and the memories and the friends—and the beloved—are all so far away.

It crossed my mind to just pack it all up and drag every last speck of glitter to the Goodwill. It hurts too much to be surrounded with so many things that only remind me of the things that are beyond my reach.

But I can't do that. Not yet. Some day, when I'm less tired, less isolated, less bereft, maybe my pretty things will make me happy again.


  1. Oh, Lisa. That hurts just reading it. Hugs, lots of hugs.

  2. I'm with Jackie. Holding you close and near.

  3. I'm afraid that I understand this post all too well.

  4. This entry really makes me want to hug you and tell you it will all be okay.

  5. This post completely hit home with me. I've had the same feeling about the things that have come from my mother's house. They mean so much to me, but the just don't belong here.

    Dealing with the Hanukkah decorations was also bittersweet. I held the things my kids made in my hands and longed for my babies. I put things up like I usually do...but alone, with no help from kids full of anticipation. When holidays feel like this, they're no longer holidays.

    I hope you have happier, more fulfilling holidays in the years ahead.