Tuesday, December 29, 2009


My mom would say, I think, that I have the post-holiday letdown. I saw the earliest symptoms of it in my older son on Christmas morning: all the gifts were opened and he was happy, even grateful, but feeling a little down at the same time. In his case, he started getting jealous of some attention the younger brother was getting from their dad.

Likewise, I have had a good Christmas in so many ways. Both of the boys had parts in the church tableau. My ex-husband and I have been getting along, and he was here on Christmas day to open gifts with the kids and have breakfast. That made a big difference to the boys, especially the younger one. Later I dropped him off at his place and took the kids to my mom's for a relatively small family gathering of twelve for dinner (the full family gathering, more like 26 people, didn't happen until Sunday). Great visiting with my brothers and sisters, especially my brother and sister-in-law in from Michigan, and my nephew Luke down from New York City.

Gifts also were great. I have a secondhand laptop on which to really take the writing somewhere. Assorted journals and music, a beautiful set of a necklace and earring from my boys, a CD... I was not raised with the idea that the holiday is about big gifts, or gifts that somehow make life worthwhile, and I am easily pleased with fun things that I like.

So, why do I feel so crushingly alone and without direction? I know it's a feeling and that things are not likely to be so bleak in reality but wow, I'm feeling low. I always think that if I understand it, it will be easier to get past it. The jury's still out on the accuracy of that belief. Apart from winding down from the drive to provide a magical Christmas for the children, there was a tremendous amount of energy expended in the past 14 months to separate and divorce and even to establish a working relationship with my exhusband. Here I am divorced, which I really wanted, but now what? I haven't even been writing. Am I any better off than I was a year ago? The answer is yes, of course, but the momentum has petered out and there's little to struggle against. I'm accustomed to struggling, so it feels strange.

It also feels strange to choose what's going to get my commitment and energy. For years there has been pretty constant chaos. Now there's the very necessary drives of work and the children's needs, and when those take all the energy I have, I feel like a loser, not committed enough to my goals. But, that's just reality, that sometimes the kids and survival are going to be all I can manage, and if I can do that and pull Christmas together, hey that's just fine.

So, maybe Mom would be right. It's a letdown, which is really a chance to catch my breath and regroup.

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