Christmas music either makes me want to strangle someone or it makes me cry. Rarely is there an in between. The other day Patrick was listening to it on one of those radio stations that plays it 24-hours-a-day from even before Thanksgiving. I wanted to scream, kick in the stereo, and then squeeze the life out of someone. If I hear Jingle Bell Rock one more time...
The problem is that I like Christmas. It has never been my favorite holiday (OK, maybe it was when I was a kid and all I wanted was Atari and a puppy). It's stressful and expensive. It brings out the worst in a lot of people. There's too much competition. I like getting together with my family and I like baking cookies. I like decorating the tree and even wrapping gifts. The music, though. It can really get to me.
Today, however, I'm having the other reaction. I hear the music and I want to cry (the only reason I'm not is that I'm at work and I don't feel like explaining myself to any of my coworkers). Certain songs make me cry more than others - Silent Night makes me think of the year my parents bought me an inexpensive keyboard for Christmas. I desperately wanted to learn how to play the piano and they got me this before they invested in lessons. It was cheap, but a wonderful gift. Silent Night was the first song I learned how to play...and I played it all day underneath our Christmas tree. Little Drummer Boy makes me miss my mom. We spent every Christmas Eve with my aunt and uncle just about a mile from my parents' house. One year on the drive home, I was so sleepy that my mom put me in the front seat with her and my dad...my head on her lap. Through sleepy eyes, I stared at the green lights coming from the stereo and listened to this song as my mom rubbed my head. O Holy Night makes me cry and I'm not sure why. I end up thinking about family members I've lost...especially my aunt, who hosted Christmas Eve every year, even after she lost her house in a fire, and after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was her holiday, and her home was the only place we wanted to be.
I hate that everything has changed so much. The year after the fire, we celebrated in her tiny apartment and tried to ignore the fact that my uncle was gone. After her diagnosis, we celebrated in her rebuilt home, trying to ignore how different she looked and how the chemo affected her stamina and strength. After she passed away, we didn't have Christmas at her home anymore. My sister started hosting it. It was fun, but different. Too different and I didn't like it at all.
We're trying something new this year - a new way of celebrating that I hope will make me less sad (and less angry at all the holiday music). I just need to find that happy medium. I know it exists in me...somewhere.