|Renaissance Festival, 2017. Only Eleanor and Bruce had|
actual costumes. Betty and I just sort of randomly
over-accessorized and called it a day.
Granted, life has its share of irritations. There is a rhythmic noise coming from the living room that suggests Bob Cat is destroying something. I can still smell the acrid smell from when I got a little too close to our overly assertive fireplace the other night and my hairspray-encrusted hair got singed. I don't get to see the kids until Tuesday, which isn't too far away, but still just far enough to remind me that the day is coming in a few years when they will grow up and leave home (or--heaven forbid--move away).
And, WOW, the busy-ness! I knew it would be a busy year, with the reorg at work, working on the novel, and kids in every school level...but this fall has left me gasping for breath and wondering where all the time (and sleep) has gone. I can hyperventilate just thinking about my to-do list.
And, yet--I'm appreciative. I remember where I was--physically, emotionally, mentally--not too many years ago. It's kind of hard to forget, actually. I have a super supportive friend who has metaphorically wagged a finger at me and said, "Remember how far you've come!!!!" every time I've gotten frustrated or discouraged to the point where my inner cheerleader now has that friend's voice.
So it probably shouldn't be too surprising that my favorite Christmas movie is "It's a Wonderful Life."
|Conces Christmas Party, 2011. Eleanor's really getting into|
the whole staged fratricide gag picture thing.
I mean, okay, it does bother me that, at the end, all these poor people are giving George Bailey their money and they didn't actually need to because Sam Wainwright authorized a loan that would have covered Uncle Billy's deficit three times over. I hope he made them take it all back after they got through with Auld Lang Syne, although they were just dumping it on the table and singing, and it's pretty clear nobody knows who gave what. And, even if they knew when they started out, Mary was yelling at Martini to bring on the wine (even though Uncle Billy has a problem and George has been drinking heavily in two realities), so after the next few carols, I'm pretty sure Zuzu was gonna be fertilizing her flower with twenties. Which, if you think about it, shows some pretty irresponsible business skills, George. I'd like my $242 back, please.
But, aside from the ethically questionable Money Blizzard, I love that movie. I watch it every few years, and I cry every time at George Bailey's joy at appreciating the simple beauty of home and family. It is all too easy to get overwhelmed by all that doesn't go right. And some of those things (like George's looming threat of jail and bankruptcy) are real and big and serious. Big enough to get lost in.
And that's why we have each other--to find our way out of the dark places. The same friend who has cheered me on for so long is having a rough Christmas, and it's my turn to say, HEY, YOU! REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE AND HOW FAR YOU'VE COME! In other words, to do what I can to shine a light into the dark places and hope it illumines a path, as so many friends and family have done for me over the years.
|Canada, 2016. There is a special place in heaven for tour guides who volunteer to take pictures of a single mom and her kids so that she can actually be in the picture with the most important people in the world.|
So, Merry Christmas, or however you celebrate the season, and remember, in the immortal words of Clarence Oddbody, "no man is a failure who has friends."