I do believe everything is a process and this is simply another example. I am the pop-up card that has not been unfolded. I remain flat, inhabiting the territory between subdued happiness and just subdued. I have been places so much worse. Here, it is what it is, filled with clearly identifiable reasons for joy and gratitude, no reasons for discomfort. Nothing is wrong. I have learned not to overextend, learned to keeps the lights low, the voices muted. This year I could listen to Judy Garland singing, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and not think, for the first time since I understood the words, that I would be waiting another year to have troubles banished. For the first time, THIS is the year that when troubles are out of sight, a miracle and I'm not kidding.
Here is what I think: we spent so many years, a lot of us, especially of my generation and middle-class circumstances, being engulfed by Christmas everything from Thanksgiving onward that to have negotiated a truce in which the tone is low-key feels unnatural, at least unfamiliar. I have not yet adjusted to the fit, the itch, the look of this quiet celebration and in amnesiac moments panic temporarily, thinking something is missing. It is not. It is all here, all is well. If it takes a last-minute trip to Trader Joe's for dark chocolate covered cherries to sedate nagging doubt, I won't be too critical. And I will spend far more energy in love and wishes and hope for all who need it most, managing to remember this year I am not on the disabled list, if I ever really was.