The Black Beast of Christmas
As an adult, Christmas has been a tribulation: Plague and pestilence (the year my sister brought the Norwalk virus home from Boston is particularly memorable), financial disaster, and a logistical nightmare iced with guilt, arguments, and ill will. For me, Christmas is a Black Beast, my own personal Grendal.
For the first time in years, I’m getting into the Christmas spirit. I think I may have evaded the Black Beast of Christmas. It just doesn’t seem possible. When things start looking good, I get anxious. I know that it’s just there to distract me from whatever doom is barreling down the road at me from the other direction. It’s hard to enjoy things when you’re always looking over your shoulder.
I’m still trying to sort out why this year seems different.
The first good omen was the bottle of Crown Royal I got at the company Christmas party. Normally, it is a white elephant gift affair, but this year I got the best gift with out a doubt. The dark was illuminated by a beam of pure, white light. I saw the light, and it was good.
What I’m really excited about is that the “official” family Christmas will be held at our house (not the Devil Queen, but our Smurf Blue House).
My wife and I both have divorced parents, three of which have remarried. This makes for a precarious juggling act. Divorced parents are volatile chemicals. If mixed in the wrong combination, a fatal explosion can occur. As part of out juggling act, we have traveled over 300 miles on Christmas Day in years past. By the end of it, we’re both tired and in foul mood. We spend the whole day worrying about getting to the next place on time, so we never relax or enjoy ourselves much.
Apparently, this juggling act isn’t all that uncommon, check out Opinionistas’ entry about it here. I don’t think I could say it better myself.
Not this year. Since our son is the first and only grandchild for everyone involved, we have a lot of leverage. He’s a massive sun pulling all the planets and space junk into his irresistible orbit. They didn’t stand a chance.
On a more somber note, a lot of the traditional Christmas traditions of my family and my wife’s family have fallen into disarray over the last few years. Since my grandmother died, my family has lacked its center of gravity. My wife’s grandmother hasn’t been in the best of health so no one wants to burden her with Christmas at her house. My mother-in-law has had a hard year, and her heart isn’t really in it. Our Christmas is an arc for refuges of Christmas past.
In any case, it should be an interesting Christmas. And, like any hopeless house whore, I'm already trying to figure out how much time I can devote to the Queen over the 5 day weekend. I'm a sad, sick bastard.
I'll be off with family and working on the Queen for the next few days, so no new posts until Wednesday. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and wonderful holiday weekend.