Words of wisdom

Words of wisdom

Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's Christmas time in Chicago.  Twinkling lights, cookies baking, families gathering, snow falling, noses red , toes cold, children smiling, Santa coming....

It will be such a very different Christmas for me this year.   For the very first time in my 66 years I will be spending it alone.  My first grandchild is scheduled to arrive on January 3rd and I didn't want to over stay my welcome by flying to CA a week early.  And though an invitation was extended from #2 to fly to Raleigh, with losing my job just 2 weeks ago, the price of a flight just wasn't in the budget.  

So here I sit, warm and cozy in my beautiful apartment with Christmas carols softly playing in the background.  What are my plans for Christmas you might ask?   I'll be babysitting my cousin's 3 cats - feeding and petting while they are gone for the next 8 days.  My wonderful sons gifted me my 'most wanted' gift - a iPad.  They said to open and use it immediately instead of putting it under the tree and opening it on Christmas morning and I did and have enjoyed taking several free workshops at the Apple store learning how to use this great techie toy.  Yesterday I did my end-of-year file clean-out - shredding un-needed receipts and moving those required into a file for this year's taxes.  I finished sewing a cute jacket and pulled a few other pieces of fabric out of my stash to contemplate what they may become in the New Year.  I'm reading a couple of books I got from the library by people who have walked the Camino de Santiago and downloaded a couple onto the iPad so I won't have to haul real books with me to CA.  

Several friends have invited me out for holiday lunches and dinners and I've enjoyed a few holiday celebrations with the new groups I've joined.  On New Year's Day I've been invited to join a walking group in the Loop where we will walk from State Street to the top of Michigan Avenue and back; then enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of Macy's Chicago flagship store (which to those of us who have lived here, will always be and still wish it were Marshall Fields).  We'll conclude with lunch in the The Walnut Room, where carolers will sing and their massive tree will dominate the scene on this, the last day the decorations will be still up and shinning.  

I will come home and take down my tree, put the ornaments away for another year and start packing my suitcase for my flight. It all sounds like fun, doesn't it?  Sounds as if I've been busy - and I have. But it's almost like I am forcing myself.  I know there are many, many, many people who spend every holiday alone.  I even know some who prefer it that way.  But I'm not one of those.  I'm lost with no one to cook a big meal for, no one to bake cookies for, no one to watch the original Die Hard movie with on Christmas Eve (a Scott-family tradition), no one to talk to except via a phone or Face-Time.  It will just be so lonely and sad and even now, typing this, I feel tears gathering and think 'how stupid are you being?'  Grow up!  You're a big girl and this is dumb!

But I'm a people person.  I love being with and around people, especially 'my people' and this year I won't be and that makes me sad.  I think about and wonder how many Christmas's I'll have left - I know - maudlin and stupid - but I learned the hard way 13 years ago that nothing is permanent or lasts forever so to miss spending even one holiday without those I love it really difficult.

So before I get to the point where I can't type and my keyboard gets ruined from getting wet, I'll just say this - enjoy your families.  Enjoy the time you have together - even if it's only for one day and even if some of them you don't even like - try for just one day of peace and love and togetherness.  Take a moment to remember those who are no longer with us and say a prayer for the parents of the children lost at Sandy Hook.  Count your blessing and then turn and give those you love the most a great big Merry Christmas hug!

Until next year......


  1. Hi Re, Just a note to let you know that I will also be spending Christmas alone, and yes, I get a bit teary at times, but it is really OK. I will celebrate my 66th birthday on the 26th, and I think my son and his family will be coming for that, if he does not have to work. So, I will be thinking of you and sending warm wishes to another 66 year old spending Christmas alone......Anna

  2. I will be thinking of you, ReAnn...life throws us just enough curve balls so that we can't allow ourselves to get TOO comfortable...as you said,
    Enjoy your families...but also, enjoy where you are right now, for the one thing we can count on, is change...

  3. Wise advice, Margy. Stay warm and cozy, ReAnn. Maybe you should join me (virtually) in your own sewcation!

  4. ReAnn, First of all, Merry Christmas. I am so sorry that you are spending Christmas alone. I've done that numerous times as my daughter that lives nearby works as a CNA at a hospital, there are no holidays. My other daughter lives in another state. Over the years I have learned to enjoy the time alone. It is a good day to indulge yourself in whatever pleases you. When I first had to adjust to Christmas alone I decided if Bob Hope's family could do it all those years as he entertained the troops that I could do it too! Even though we sometimes cannot be together on Christmas we still celebrate. This year it will be Christmas. I will think of you with the hope that you are enjoying the day. It does sound like you have many good options.
    Donna M

  5. A little late here, but I just want to give you a smile :) and a hug {{{ReAnn}}}. And another, while I'm at it. :) I spent Christmas alone this year as well - mostly by choice, I admit. Sometimes it's hard to differentiate between what other people expect for/from you and what you want for yourself...I agree with Margy - enjoy family, but practice enjoying, or being just fine with, where you are right now...wherever that may be.

    And it's OK to be sad.

    BTW, that top pic of the tree is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen!

  6. I am always late to the party, but wanted to say thanks again for watching the cats and that I wish I had realized earlier that you were on your own for Christmas. You are always welcome to ride along with us to SoIll (pun 100% intentional). Let's have lunch soon.

  7. Where the heck are you?? Everything ok??