‘Tis the season…..for stress and regret. Ugh – I have had a really hard time finding the holiday spirit this year and that just isn’t like me. I regret to say that I haven’t been a very good friend of late. I was not only short (way too often) with mini-me but I was unavailable to my friends – both physically and emotionally. Partly by circumstance and partly by choice. The circumstance was work, work and more work. Crazy days – including weekends - (and unfortunately every.single.night) at the office have made it so hard for me to commit or even step away and relax with my friends. The choice was that an exhausted and stressed me is not fun to be around – I simply don’t have the energy and my snark level was at an all time high. It really was best for everyone involved that I was hermit-like.
Unfortunately, these crazy times came at a price. I missed celebrating T’s birthday in our usual manner – and what is worse is that I’ve just remember that I forgot. So….she will ring in her new year with what should have been admired in November. Luckily, she knows I’m not a total jackass all the time and she will forgive me. This is just one more reason she is my Big Susan.
But it was during these long days and nights of work that my thoughts turned to those that I truly miss during the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need a stressful time to miss these folks – but in times of extreme stress and when emotions are running high, their absence seems to fill a larger part of my heart.
My mom really loved the holidays. She decorated the house, she hostessed, she wrapped and she received (man, did she love to receive). She loved knowing she would have a full house. I remember walks through her neighborhood after dinner – her area had the best light displays – and we all went. The grown kids, the little kids – it didn’t matter. I really miss my mom during the holiday season. I wanted her there to taste the stuffing and tell me what it needed (or what it didn’t need ‘cause she wouldn’t hold back.) I wanted her there to drive around and admire the lights. She “oohd” and “ahhh’d” more than anyone else. She loved to hear what all my friends were up to and tell me about hers. I wanted her to watch mini-me light the menorah and stammer through the prayer with a giggle.
My dad loved the cold weather during this time of year. He only brought out the super heavy coat if it was in single digits. We had an annual tradition for the ten years I lived near him as an adult. He would miraculously have a trunk-full of coats, sweaters, mufflers, gloves and blankets that he no longer needed. We would drive down 14th Street in DC and he would randomly pull over and pass out warm clothes and blankets to homeless men. He shook their hands, he wished them better times ahead, he talked with them. For a man driven by money and tax write-offs, this amazing act overwhelmed me. Under his often bawdy (and wildly inappropriate) exterior, he was a kind man who truly knew how lucky he had been in his life. I just shared this story with one of my sisters – she had no idea. I miss doing this with my dad and wish we could do it one more time – bringing mini-me along to show her some true holiday spirit. I’ve not talked much about my dad in here and I should. He was a loyal friend and though he knew a ton of people, he truly cherished those he called friend.
I miss Rona during the holidays. She never understood my family celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas but she never criticized. It was just there. But, she loved to make holiday treats and she made the most wicked caramel brownies ever. They were a major pain in the ass to make but she did it every year. And, every year she bitched about it but did so while laughing. And we should shop together – people watching, laughing, lunching.
It’s so easy to talk about those I miss that are gone – their absence is real and I can do nothing about it. But, I have also missed my friends that I have simply not had or made time to see. My mom posse lives on my street and around the corner – they have seen my harried self and shared a glass of wine or three. But seeing many of my other friends takes effort that I simply could not put forth. There is my regret. That taking time to see my friends should not be a luxury. That perhaps a quick coffee or visit with one of my amazing friends would have eased my stress and made this overwhelming time a tad bit easier. But, as I’ve said before, I really suck at sharing.
A friend recently said that she doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions – she makes goals. I like that better – seems more attainable. So, my New Year’s goal is to make time with friends a necessity before regret turns to longing I can do nothing about.
May your New Year bring you no regrets.