I had great intentions for this blog this month. Really upbeat and positive intentions: I'd planned on writing about all my favorite holiday things -- baking cookies with my little one, picking out and trimming the perfect Christmas tree, wrapping gifts with a bottle of wine in front of the fire -- but so far the month has gotten away from me. (As I'm sure it has for you, so you probably haven't even had time to stop here and notice the lack of posting going on.) I love Christmas, especially now that I have a small child to share the wonder with. But it's a difficult time for me, as it is for most of us I'm sure, because every now and then I'm just knocked down by a wave of melancholy -- I think of my mom or my grandparents or the Christmases of my childhood, and even though they're all good memories, there are holes there now.
I've been trying hard, really hard, to keep the melancholy at bay this year. After all, I want Christmas to be as fun and exciting for my son as it always was for me as a child. We've been enjoying the season, and I was feeling all sorts of Christmasy a couple weeks ago -- poppy Christmas songs on the radio, cookies baking in the oven, lights twinkling all over the house. But then I got bad news about a friend, a dear woman I worked with, who died on December 4. I attended the funeral on December 10, and even though it was a really upbeat funeral, relatively speaking, the melancholy has crept in and I haven't been able to shake it. The rational side of me knows that I should not be so deeply affected by this loss, but I worked with June for 10 years, and I guess I took it for granted that she'd always be there in the office, popping in to tell me about a silly article she'd read or something she saw in the news that reminded her of me. And I'm sorry that I never got to tell her in person how much I cared for her, how much I appreciated the friendship she showed when I first met her at that crazy time in my life, how much I learned from her about being a good editor, or how much her mere presence in the world filled it up. I'll miss her, for sure.
Then today, just as I had started to get through these feelings over losing June, I got word that a friend's baby son died this past weekend. He had just turned 1 in September, and I had just met him a few weeks ago. I was on my way to pick up my own son at preschool when I took the call, and when I walked into the preschool -- when I saw all those beautiful, healthy kids running and playing without a care in the world -- I was overwhelmed. I stood like an oaf in the middle of the preschool gym and I cried. My heart is broken for my friend and her family. But at the same time, I realize how blessed I am, how fortunate I am that my son is here in front of me. How unfair life is.
So here I am, a week before Christmas, not feeling so jolly, despite every effort to keep smiling and singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 1001 times with Sweet Boy. I haven't done much shopping at all, haven't wrapped any gifts, haven't sent a single card. And tonight I don't really care if I do. I'm just not feeling it. My Top 10 Favorite Christmasy Things post can wait until next week.