I have to admit, I am a bit glum this Christmas season. For reasons big and small, the weeks leading up to the big day have been fraught with more than the usual amount of pre-Yule stress and I don't cope well with stress these days. I also find myself reflecting on the season in a not entirely happy way. For some, the holiday season is tied to tragedy. My own mother was admitted to the hospital during the first week of December, 1998, where she would die later that month on New Year's Eve. My dad passed away almost three years ago and my siblings all live far away, so really, I haven't a Christmas with my side of the family in many, many years. I miss that.
Earlier this week, I learned that a teenager that lives a little further down the street died a couple of weeks ago. A parent's worst nightmare is losing their child. At any time the loss must just be crushing, but the tragedy just seems compounded because it happened during what is supposed to a happy time of year spent with family. My sympathy for them is at times almost unbearable.
Still, I am managing to find some enjoyment amidst all of this. Our nine-year-old daughter's excitement is so unbelievably sweet and infectious, I can't help but feel all that's good about the season bubbling up through the murk. I can't wait to see what Santa brought her and for my wife to open her presents. And, at the risk of sounding greedy, I really am looking forward to opening my own presents, too.
Also, after knowing my wife for 20 years and being married for 13 I certainly consider her family as my own. My brother-in-law and his wife have two small beautiful girls - the eldest is three and the youngest 6 months - and they are here for Christmas and let's face it: the more kids around at Christmastime, the better it is.
Though I miss my Burrows family, I also have a lot of good memories of Christmases past and, for the most part, I reflect on them fondly. Plus, I like that Kate and Lena and I are building our own memories and traditions together. The two of them, more than anything, keep Christmas special even during the odd year when maybe things haven't gone as well as hoped. I love them both more than they can ever know.
Actually, I am feeling much better having written this. I just hope that nobody feels worse for having read it. I hope whatever your circumstances are this season that you manage to find at least a little, well, comfort and joy.
A Merry Christmas to all of you who stopped by and read this.