“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Christmas is often a difficult time for me. My fractured relationship with my mother, my separation from my extended family and my longing for a peaceful holiday usually combine to send me into roller coaster type swings of emotion. I am in the throes of depression one minute yet smiling with joy with the arrival of a song, a movie or a memory. The stress is often so overwhelming that I dissolve into angry outbursts that ruin the holiday for those around me who have little understanding of what is going on in my head.
This year, in an attempt to stave off the inevitable, sweetheart decided that we were due some “us” time. No stress, no cooking, no cleaning, no worries over who could visit or who might feel left out. I was skeptical at first. Visions of Christmas With The Kranks wandered through my head. I worried that everyone would think we had lost our minds, what with our history of tradition keeping and requirements.
Yet here I was. Sitting on the deck of a cruise ship. Headed for a tropical destination that was as far removed from everything Christmas as one could be. Sitting in my bathing suit while sipping fruit juice and contemplating Christmas eve was quite surreal. We had brought along one of my favorite Nativity sculptures as well as stockings to hang but somehow it just didn’t seem the same.
Christmas day came and went with all of its usual trappings. Santa somehow found the ship to the delight of all the children. Turkey and ham were served in the dining room along with eggnog. Carols were sung by the crew to the passengers. There was even a Christmas Eve midnight service.
Our arrival home was greeted by a cold rain. The silly dogs were glad to see us. Sweetheart was the first one to succumb to the lure of Facebook while I spent the next few hours calling all the children to catch up. I suppose I was disappointed that no one was upset at our absence. One likes to think that they are an indispensable part of a holiday celebration of any kind. But alas. (I always wanted to say that!) It seemed that Christmas at home happened just fine without me around to “make” it happen.