I've been holding off on posting because I've been in the doldrums. Several times I almost posted some serious waaa waaa waaa, but told myself to wait. Not that I minded crying here. It wouldn't have been the first time I've cried in public. I'm sure it wouldn't have been the last. The thing was, I couldn't quite put my finger on what was wrong, or, rather, on how to capture what it all felt like. This is a place where I like to be articulate. Even if I don't know what ails me, I need to be able to write about it with lucidity, to satisfy myself.
One day I was over at one of my favorite knitting blogs, Nik's Knits, enjoying an entry on a baby sweater she'd raced to complete in time for a shower. At one point, she described the disdain she felt upon walking into her apartment and seeing an "exploded view" of the sweater. She posted this link to illustrate what an exploded view is. I saw the picture and immediately thought, That's it, my whole life looks like that picture. Only take away the numbers that correspond to the diagram. And scramble it up some. Make it really blurry. There, you have it.
I started writing about this revelation and again a voice said Stop. So I didn't post, went on doing whatever it is I do.
The thing about shouldering on is that while you're at it, sometimes light creeps in through a side door and things start to make sense.
I think of myself as immune to the holidays. Especially now that Schmin's grown up and I don't have to run around town hunting down DuckTales, Transformers, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Bubba and I are pretty low key. I like to send out New Year's cards and some years I get to it, some years I don't. Holidays schmolidays.
But this year doesn't look like any other year. You know how you look around and wonder how you came to where you are? It's not that you reject this place, it's that you have a piercing memory of having been some other place and what you can't figure is how that time came to be over and why it's impossible to get back to.
What I'm saying is that I miss my mother. Her death is my greatest loss. What it's like to dwell in the space she left is ineffable. This is my 8th Christmas without her and it's particularly painful because damn this has been a hard year. It's been a year that's left me feeling abandoned and bereft, low right down to nothing, only to circle me back and make me know that people care, I am never truly alone, and that Somebody is hauling me up by the armpits.
This holiday season has proved to be a microexperience of the year's emotional landscape. One day up, one day waaaaaaay down. So far outside the boundaries of PMS that there's no scapegoat. Here, two days before Christmas, I've had a soft landing in a place of gratitude because, I will grudgingly admit, that which hasn't killed me has made me stronger. (Grudgingly because do we not want, just one time, our rescue fantasy to come true? Perhaps I should make a New Year's resolution to let this go.)
I have also landed on terra firma because I make things. And it is my great good fortune to be surrounded by other people who make things. From noise (see all entries containing the word "Schmin") to music to clothes to words on a page or a website. I think many people underestimate the power of The Make. I know I did, before I got down to brass tacks and started knitting and sewing. When you make things, opportunities for uplift abound. I present my case:
Even if you've never touched a shred of yarn in your life and don't ever plan to, how could this not appeal to you? All the warmth and color and play.
These paddy cakes came to be because of my good friend Ellen, whose generosity really provided me with a lot of light this weekend. Go on her blog and see what a tremendous talent she is (bask in the whimsy of the dolls she made for holiday cards). I'd bought myself a ball winder thinking I could make do without a swift (if anyone else ever wonders if this is possible, the answer is NO) and I mentioned to Ellen that I was planning to buy one. At our SnB holiday party Thursday night, she gifted me with one of hers.
I brought it home and got to winding up yarn I don't plan to knit for years. It's obscene how much fun it is to wind yarn this way. As opposed to my old system.
Ellen's swift is cantankerous and seasoned, and I love it. When she gave it to me, I got the feeling an Elvis fan would get if The King himself were to take off his blue suede shoes and hand them over. I prefer things that have history; it humbles and thrills me to think of all the incredible art I've seen Ellen make, much of which started on this swift. Now it's my turn to dance a little bit.
Like I often say, Sometimes God She Smiles on You.
Though my mother won't come around this year to cook our holiday meal, lie around with me and Schmin and Steven, be happy about whatever Christmas present we buy for her, no matter how big or small, it will be a two Schmin Christmas. My boy and I have plans, just the two of us. We're going to see Dreamgirls -- because we're not that jaded -- rent some DVDs, and scrounge for food, probably at Ralph's.
I hope no matter where you are or where you thought you would be, you have a very merry Christmas day.