The more I try to convince myself how happy and fortunate I am to be together with my two children, healthy, in our home, with a smattering of friends around us, taking some much-needed time off from work and study, the more depressed I become at the prospect of the looming Christmas, crouching like a big black beast in the shadows of my mind. I wish fall semester would never be over.
A lot of it, is of course, the fault of brother “Hassan” and Somebody That We Used To Know. Previous Christmases, we would get together, eat a huge meal and drink wine, and laugh at our sadness and loneliness and how horrible Christmas is in Halifax. Then Somebody chased brother “Hassan” away. Now we are alone. It’s pretty simple.
You can measure my mounting despair by the fact that I was seriously considering a twenty-four hour road trip to Toronto (ugh!), to spend time with some distant family members of whom I have no good memory (double ugh!). Apparently however, those family members are even less willing to see me and my children, and word quickly reached us that they are spending Christmas somewhere very implausible and very distant.
It is pretty well-documented (I refer you to “Hercule Poirot’s Christmas”, by that noted social historian, Agatha Christie) that Christmas is a time of madness, crime, misery and despair, as we are bought starkly face to face with the lack of true love and spiritual comfort in our lives. The fact that we have “friends” with whom we may drag out those long grey moments is of little comfort, when we think how much more we would have preferred to spend that time with other people, who unfortunately live in distant countries and across oceans, and so that is impossible. Being with other people with whom we have little true emotional connection and just for the sake of avoiding loneliness simply reinforces the unbearable lightness of our being.
O please, let this horrible Christmas finish quickly, and let me get back, as soon as possible, to the wide busy hallways of Dalhousie. Please let me not go mad by enforced idleness in a small condo with two demanding small children. The princess, ever indefatigable in her quest against boredom and routine, has already planned to get a tree, presents, marshmallow s’mores (which sound revolting). Please let the depth of my burning depression not set the small plastic Christmas tree on fire.