I am in a funk again.
I'm in a funk because my kid is having surgery, which is eating up all of our Christmas money and preventing me from going home to be with the rest of my crazy family or see my friends. And yes, I am feeling sorry for myself.
But I can't show it to my kids -- especially not the oldest girl who is having the surgery.
I have to be the happy, bubbly, optimistic mom who is thrilled to be making new traditions instead of celebrating the perfectly good traditions that have been in place for 37 years. I have to pretend that it is okay that I am forfeiting one of 2 trips "home" to Alabama a year. I have to fake being excited about making my own breakfast pizza on Christmas morning and not having homemade oatmeal raisin cookies that my mom made. I had to tell my parents and my in-laws not to buy gifts for my husband or myself, because the only thing we need is money for my daughter's surgery. Don't get me wrong -- we are not destitute or anything, but it just seems like every freaking year we have some major expense. One year , we moved from Georgia to Texas, one year we had Jackson and a tubal, one year the girls had their tonsils out, one year the husband had a mastoidectomy (they cut off his ear and removed a bone in his ear canal), and EVERY year, we spend thousands of dollars on a lost cause -- the van.
I'm having trouble finding the bright side, and I'm having trouble faking it.
I want to go home for Christmas, but it just isn't possible this year.
It's not just that.
I will miss the giving and getting of super awesome, jaw-dropping gifts. I know that Christmas is not about the gifts, but I LOVE giving presents. I love the look on my friends' and families' faces as they get something that they weren't expecting -- especially my kids. I put a lot of thought into the gifts I choose to give. I am not a big "gift card" person and I don't like the generic gifts. I like for the gifts to be something that the recipient REALLY wants -- their favorite wine, the perfect accessory for their favorite outfit, a bootleg CD of their favorite artist -- you get the idea. And we usually do a couple of angels off of the Angel trees, but not this year (yes, the surgery is THAT expensive). This year, we are seriously budget conscious. We are always budget conscious. It gets old.
And I would be a total liar if I said I didn't also love getting presents. I mean, its not that I was expecting a new min-van (although I could really use one to replace my 1999 Town and Country), but Christmas is usually the ONE time a year that we are a little frivolous. Christmas is the one time of year that we cheat a little on the budget and try to get whatever usually seems just out of reach. Christmas is the one time of year when I can expect something like a gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure, or to get my inch long roots attended to, or a nice pair of earrings or a sweater or something else that I would never buy for myself. Before the news of the surgery and medical bill that is coming along with it, the hubby was going to get me a netbook. But not now. Now I'll probably get a candle and some bath salts from the kids and nothing from the hubby. And the parents and in-laws usually do even MORE for us -- I mean, there is usually the practical stuff -- a grocery and/or gas card, a Costco membership, a little cash to help meet that renewed deductible -- but then there are the extravagant gifts too -- a cashmere sweater, jewelry, electronics, etc. And I love getting the helpful things and I really love getting the gifts that I would never get for myself. I was going to ask for a Nook or a Kindle, but instead this year, I'm getting help with a medical bill. YAAaaaay.......
So, in an attempt to snap myself out of this funktastic funk, the hubby and I are going to exchange a special "gift"with one another. We are going to make a list of things that we'd like to get each other, accompanied by a statement of what we are thankful for in one another. I don't mean the things that we would NEVER buy -- no Tuscan Villas or private islands -- but stuff we wish we had the money for this year. For example, I wish I could replace his 1997 Buick Le Sabre with a newer, nicer car. But I am thankful for him working a job that he doesn't like so that I can stay home with our kids. He might say that he wishes he could get me a netbook to write on so that I didn't have to worry about the computer locking up on me every time I try to write a blog, or a new camera, or that Nook or Kindle I wanted. It's hard to stay all sad and cynical when you are thinking of things you are thankful for. And I really WANT to be happy. I want to be appreciative of the fact that my daughter's knee problem is fixable and not all that serious. I want to be thankful of all of my many, many blessings.
But for now, I seem to be stuck here on the dark side. In Texas. With no homemade oatmeal-raisin cookies.