So I was just reminded that my last post was a super-angry rant, and that's not particularly OK with me, long-term. Yes, I'm still pretty angry; but I'm working on it. It is hard. (Well, duh.) It is spectacularly hard, sometimes, but I'm trying not to wallow as much, at the very least.
I am also having a spectacularly difficult time summoning my Christmas Spirit this year, which, is not unexpected and completely normal, but also kind of sucks. Because I love Christmas, but Christmas like this - Christmas-without-Grandmother, Christmas-where-everybody-is-still-hurting, Christmas-with-uncomfortable-truths-being-faced, Christmas-with-the-righteous-anger, Christmas-with-the-wounded - is not all it's cracked up to be. I'm very thankful that there are children in our family who I have to fake Christmas cheer for, because sometimes, if I fake it long enough, it starts to feel almost real.
Case in point, this weekend, two such littles (who aren't that little) helped us decorate our Christmas tree. No Longer Youngest Nephew is 12 ("and a half", he would insist) now, and can reach the top of our pretty tall tree well enough to help string the lights. Which is both amazingly helpful, and terrifyingly wrong. [Stupid kids and their growing up. Grumble.] Lil Girl was very critical of the placement of certain ornaments (which habit, I fear, is something she probably comes by naturally), and the tree turned out quite lovely, after all.
My favorite part of the day, though, was the 45 minute battle the two of them had over who got to sweep up the most tree needles. Because if your sibling is doing something, then it must be worth fighting about, is basically Lil Girl's theory, at this point. And her big brother can't resist arguing back, even over something so insubstantial (and chore-like!) as sweeping up big piles of needles and then vacuuming them up. It was annoyingly normal, and just what I needed to keep the smile on my face. (And, of course, in the end, Mum and I wound up doing most of the actual cleaning.) But here is a picture of them, working their hardest to outdo the other in the Battle For The Most Pine Needles 2012:
Take your smiles where you can get them, people. Definitely a lesson I've learned this (horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad) year. And I'm working on that, too.