One of those days, when I awoke with the feeling that I was somehow cracked, or broken. It was Christmas morning, we had our little nuclear family traditions that had to be completed. Which somehow felt as if something or someone was missing. There was someone missing...me.
I was dreading the rest of the day, the visit to my parents house, our third and final Christmas of the year. I don't know why, I usually don't mind the holidays with my side of the family, everything happily messily chaotic, with about five conversations going on at the same time, always getting interrupted and then trying to rejoin one conversation as the speaker continues on without realizing that I missed half of what they said. There is at least one small child crying or screaming somewhere, or, I am constantly having a set of headphones put to my ears as each new CD must be listened to. The constant rotation of food and more food being set out, eaten, cleaned up, and set out again. Amongst all of this is the main role I play...I am always the one looking around to make sure no one feels left out of the chaos...using jokes and encouragement to get things moving. But because of all of this and more, smiles and laughter are the mood of the day, even amid all the upheaval and stress that my extended family members seem to be constantly dealing with, we are a good natured bunch and the jokes and laughter last much longer than any tears or boredom.
I was feeling melancholy, and I didn't want to play my role, I didn't think I had the energy, I didn't think I could "fake it", I was enjoying my moody sadness. Then about half way to our destination, I realized, me playing my familiar role, was exactly what I needed.
I have allowed myself to wallow in my little world of woe for too long, and 'playing' my usual role would get me back. I would find the me who can look at the world with wide open eyes, and be glad I am here, be glad the people I love are here. It worked. Using my smile muscles worked.
Sitting back, and observing my weird wacky family, and being able to giggle, laugh, and joke was the mood elevator I needed. Just watching my 20 year old son playing with Legos with his four year old cousin. Watching my nine year old niece give her teenage cousins makeovers, feeding my one year old great-niece sweet-potato casserole, until I thought she would burst, hugging the thin shoulders of my father (and remembering when they seemed so very huge), giggling with my 21 year old niece (being a bit mean in our descriptions), as we listened to her father talk about joining a Russian online dating site, because after two bad marriages he preferred having his women friends 6000 miles away.
Within in minutes the familiar patterns emerged, the mingling and intermingling of groups. Observing the many different, oh, so very different personalities, but still able to see the similarities as well.
Going home, sometimes just going home to all that is old and familiar can allow me to look at my life, to know, there can be mountain and molehill sized problems, but that these 16 people will always be there for me in one form or another, to give me a hug, a kiss, a laugh, a giggle, or even a frown on occasion.