In about fifteen minutes I'm heading to Christmas Eve mass alone. I will watch families gather, little girls in their holiday dresses, little boys with wet hair, trying to keep a stubborn cowlick down, just for an hour. I admit, it's hard to watch. My little boys are in a different city with their father. It will be this way every Christmas Eve so I need to learn to accept this new normal. God, I hope he wet down their hair.
Despite all the holiday TV ads, country music specials and festive decorations, the holidays can be the loneliest time of year for many. The pressure to be happy and excited can be overwhelming! I get emotional thinking about past years or the way I imagined the holidays would be. I get all wound up in what I thought life would be and that precludes me from being able to just stay in the moment and be grateful for what I do have.
If you are alone this particular night, without friends or family, the good news is that Christmas is just 24 hours, like any other day. I find when I break things down into 24 hour increments and remind myself to stay in the moment -- not focus on how I want it to be or how it used to be, I can make it through. Admittedly, sometimes I need to break it down further and focus on getting through hour by hour. Nevertheless, knowing the day will pass in 24 hours, just like all the other days that have come before it, helps me weather emotional holidays.
If you are feeling alone, just know that you are one of many feeling that way. It's normal. No, I'm not a psychiatrist, but I'm human and therefore speak from experience. It's ok not to dance around with scissors and scotch tape singing, "Fa-la-la-la..." I believe it's most important to take good care of myself so when those happy moments come my way, I'll be ready to enjoy them (thus I plan to avoid dancing with scissors at all costs, or honestly, since I've gotten sober, any dancing at all.)
Hey, Merry Christmas, hang in there. And remember, you're not alone.