What a concept.
As we finally decompress in the days after – the house is clean, the unacceptable gifts (wool sweater which I am allergic to, and thrift store shirt three sizes too large) donated to local homeless shelter, cat allowed outside during brief dry spell – I find myselfd grateful as usual for only one thing. The holiday is over.
I must grant that I enjoyed my dinner with my blood family. It was good to see them again and to catch up on their lives and foibles, to see those I truly care for, those I actually like, and remind myself of why I avoid the others.
Some are doing well, some are in status, one or two are spiraling the drain, but in a large family this is a dynamic to be expected.
I was pleased to see a beloved cousin secure in the arms of a new man with whom she is finally happy, building a stable home for herself and her children with this sane and rational and most importantly loving new person.
She is distancing herself from the rest of us, but who can blame her, she has found happiness, something the rest of us merely aspire to.
It was also good to see a “adopted” cousin who has found both his music and his soul mate. He too seems happier and stabler and she is without a doubt a good influence upon him.
Another cousin proved himself both talented and with impeccable good taste. He seems also to have found a calling where he fits in and where his personality quirks are assets rather than causes for pain. He is being validated as the being he is meant to be rather than vilified for what he is not. To see him transcend his environment is a godsend and an inspiration.
Others were sadder cases, stultified and trapped in old patterns. It was somewhat depressing to see them as they not only were no longer growing but seemed to have forgotten that growth was an option.
And to see myself against this backdrop was illuminating. To see my small growths and largfe failures, to see what the future offered and to finally come to terms with the fact that some things will never change.
There were some total losses here, which hurt, but there were moments of gratification as well.
So while I did not get to feast, I wassailed much. While I did not have the option of being a new person – most could not cope with me as a man rather than a disturbed child, I at least had the option of being a surprising one.
And so I start the New Year with some new ideas...and some hope.
Not a bad exchange.