So, one of my sweetie peeps asked me why I didn’t blawg over Thanksgiving weekend and the ‘easy’ answer is that I’m just too doggone busy with grading, preparing finals, and roasting my famous turkey I handed out to my neighbors (bless their hearts…no salmonella yet 🙄). However, the ‘true’ answer is this: I have a love/hate relationship to holidays.
Now, when I was a kid I loved loved loved the holidays and I still do! Ma and pop always made me and T’s birthdays and Christmases awesome. Every birthday, pop would call us up from work in the morning after we got up, to wish us a happy birthday before we left for school. Yes, I know this sounds ‘boring’ to my grasshoppers who have grown up with cell phones and constant contact, but for pop to call us from work was a huge deal ‘back then’ (I’m sure the local operator who had to connect the wires was a nice gal 😐). We loved getting ‘the call’ and then ma would pack up cupcakes and Kool-Aid for us to take to school for our class party. Now it literally (well…not literally or I’d be dead…but I’m trying to be dramatic here) breaks my heart that schools around my area don’t allow for homemade treats anymore. Sigh. Things were sometimes better in the old days. Anyhoot, after dinner, gramma and gramps would come over and we’d get to open our presents and bask in the glory of being in the spotlight that night. (Also, ma would let us pick our dinners and I always chose Kraft Mac and Cheese with green beans…every year…she got off easy, huh?)
Now, I love love love to open presents and I readily admit it. And yes, I know it’s much better to give than to receive which is why I just adore finding stuff for people that is funky or unique or really shows the person that I ‘know’ them. But, I do LOVE getting presents too! I love the wrapping paper and the shaking of the boxes and the anticipation of tearing off that first piece of paper and then seeing what the gift is. It always amazes me because because somehow, no matter what, the present is always something I wanted. Ma says I’m still like a kid when I open presents…and she’s right. (Of course, I’m just a couple decades out of ‘childhood’ so… 🙄).
Christmas was even better. T and I would always wake up and she’d come into my room and we’d dare each other to wake up ma and pop so we could all go in the living room to see what Santa brought. We’d say: “OK…on 3 we are going to yell WAKE UP…ready…1….2….3….” and we’d chicken out. Of course, the folks were already awake and wondering what the hell was taking us so long! Pop would say he wanted a BIG breakfast before we could open but T and I would yell NO and we’d unwrap our loot. Ahhhhhhhhh….the smell of paper, boxes, fresh plastic, etc. always takes me back. That afternoon, we’d schlep over to gramma and gramps where there were more presents and a special dinner with my aunt, uncle and cousin. It was a GREAT day every year.
And, I love Christmas with my little guy so much (he’s 6″ 😳) and he still gets so excited about the holiday too. However, ahem, it would be so much better if only I had a grandchild, ahem, to enjoy buying cutsie little clothes for, ahem, and every toy ever produced by Fisher Price…ahem…but I digress. *Note to son: read this paragraph again. And again.
So, why do I say I have a love/hate with holidays? As I’ve gotten into my 40’s (shutty the mouthies, peeps 😉) I’ve realized that holidays are a wonderful way of celebrating so many things: being thankful, the birth and resurrection of Jesus, the love of our lives, being an American, etc. But, here’s the thing: shouldn’t we be doing this all the live long day?
One year I was in Walgreens buying a Valentine for Hubby 3 (the mouthies are still shutty 😐), and I told the old gal at the register “Happy Valentine’s Day!” I knew her from going into the store every single day and she said this: “It’s not really a happy day for me…my husband died last year.” Ouch. I felt so so bad for my blunder and gave her a hug over the counter. I went home that night and really started thinking about why we assign 1 day a year to celebrating our ‘love’ by giving flowers, candy, cards, stuffed animals, etc. Then I started thinking about all of the other holidays and felt the same.
Look, I love eating turkey on Thanksgiving (but not yams…I hate yams…🥔) but I think that we need to have thankfulness in our hearts everyday. Every single day. And, I think we need to share this with those around us while showing our appreciation for all we have. I don’t want to have ONE day where I say I’m thankful for my family…for piss sakes, I’m thankful for them every single day and I try to tell them often. Everyday, I’m thankful for my students, my pets, my friends, my neighbors, my precious blawg readers, my home, the food I have, the money I earn, my health, etc. The list can go on and on. Even at my darkest, I had blessings. When things were falling down all around me, I still had my ma…my son…my family. Even though this fucking (sorry ma 😳) bipolar makes my life hellish at times, I still have my physical health. I still have a doctor who helps me fight the damn thing. I still have people who stand behind me. Right?
And Christmas? Look, I know you all aren’t Christians because I have readers from all over the globe (that humbles me more than you could ever know 😘), but I know you all have spiritual beliefs and like I’ve said before, I believe God is the alpha and omega…the one and only…and the true God for any religion you practice and follow. Anyhoot, I talk to God everyday. I thank him for all he has done in my life and every night when I pray, I thank him for sacrificing his son for my sins. And I’m not going to ‘just’ thank Jesus for this salvation once a year…I thank him everyday as well I should.
And, here’s a little rant for ya: I hate the materialism of Christmas. I mean really…when you think about it why do we give gifts to each other on a day we should be celebrating the gift given to us? Like I said, I love presents and all the trimmings that come with Christmas, but actually, wouldn’t us giving the gift of time, money, help to those who are sick, homeless, poor, etc. actually be more appropriate for what the holiday is really about? I also have a problem (please don’t send me shitty messages…this is only my opinion 😐) with people who are scornful…disdainful…of my beliefs in Jesus only to be the ones who decorate and ‘buy’ for Christmas the most. Hmmmm. They laugh at me (yes, to my face…I’ve had colleagues tell me I’m ‘stupid’ for my beliefs…that I’m too ‘smart’ to believe in a higher power 🤨) yet natter on about how they much they love Christmas break and how much they got for Christmas and how much they ate over Christmas and how much they celebrated over Christmas. ‘Nuff said.
And back to Valentines day…I don’t want someone giving me flowers once a year to show their love. How about getting my car washed in the summer when it’s filthy? Or leaving me a card on a random Wednesday because you luv me? Or buying me the book you know I’ve been wanting to read? As someone who has had some…cough cough…experience with relationships (🙄), I’m here to tell you this: they need to be nurtured everyday. And yes, I do this myself.
The 4th of July? I love the fireworks and eats and the patriotism every year, but I’m here to tell you that I love America. Yes, we have some very big issues we need to tackle. Yes, things aren’t always just and fair. Yes, as far as we’ve come in terms of race relations, equality for women, understanding of mental illness, etc. we still have a long ways to go. However, I can talk about these things without fearing retribution from my government. I can practice what I believe. I can question, protest, vote, petition, and write what I want. I have the right to marry who I want, wear what I want, be educated, access info on the internet, own property, start a business, etc. Yes, I’m truly thankful to be an American every day of my life.
And other holidays? Thank a veteran every time you see one. Think about those who have passed and maintain the memory of them. Celebrate men like Martin Luther King Jr. regularly and strive to be more involved in your community. Tell your ma and pop often how important and loved they are…not just once in May and then June.
Look, you don’t have to make everyday a holiday…that would become tedious and disingenuous. Have fun with our holidays…cook turkeys, bake cookies (BTW, I’m a great taste-tester…just wanted you to know 🙂), wrap gifts, shoot off fireworks, and have a ball with family and friends. But you can also be thankful and loving everyday. You can have an open heart everyday. And most of all, you can keep that wonderful feeling of celebration all the year through.