Fragrance of the freshly baked stollen fills the room. My tree is a thing of beauty, decorated as it always is with a lifetime of accumulated trim and baubles. Almost every gift is wrapped and many have already been dispatched to points afar. Several kinds of cookies are stacked in tins on the porch.
Christmas is here. And yet in all the doing, there is at this time of my life, a sense of — emptiness is not the word — a feeling that something is missing. The old traditions have had to yield to the demands of life changes. Children are grown, established elsewhere, and no longer need to have my “production” of the Christmas event. Should I go to one of their homes, I am a spectator, not a participant. If I stay home I am in a situation of trying to do the old thing with a friend who does not share my traditions and does not feel comfortable with gifts, either given or received. My downstairs friends have spent weeks in preparation for their family time away; celebrating the season here is not part of their deal.
Some of my family want me to travel across country to celebrate with them. Oh, to be translated! Travel by plane during the holidays is even more stressful than it normally is. When asked, “what do you really want to do?” I am at a loss. Be with people I love, without having to pack up to get there. Or, have a quiet time at home. Or, go to a five star resort and be pampered (for a price, of course.)
So, instead of the delight and joy that should be mine, there is an inner stress. What do I really want? I know, what I want is someone to make the decisions for me for a while. Take me by the hand and say, “this is the way, walk ye in it.”