There's a theory of 'desensitizing,' where a person slowly reintroduces themselves to the environment of a traumatic event, and they begin to see there's no inherent danger, that maybe this can really be okay.
This is my plan. As much as it depends on me, I will enjoy this holiday season, the songs, the lights, the worship, the joy, the giving, and even the malls. It's not taking me down this year. This year, I intend to celebrate. So I must start early, because if there's anything I've learned, it's that my heart will not be rushed.
We are two days into November, and Christmas is underway around here. I've tuned into Christmas playlists on the iPod, iTunes Radio, and Pandora. I have a new house that begs to be dressed from head to toe with new nail holes and hooks, and I don't want to wait until December 15, have four million tasks I feel I 'need' to do, only cross off a few of them because I'm maxxed out in every way, cry for a few days while I remember how it was and how it isn't now, and then take it all down December 27. Nope. We're doing it big this year. Go big or go home. Let the holidays begin.
This whole idea seemed so much better last night - it was cold outside, it was nighttime (Isn't everything more festive at nighttime?), and there was a certain charm to the post-Halloween exhale.
Today, we came home from Hobby Lobby with new stockings, a nutcracker, Santa hats (traditional for Tucker, zebra stripes for Tyler), blocks that spell Merry Christmas (even though I know some schmuck will think it's oh-so clever and oh-so-never-thought-of to rearrange the blocks to say something nonsensical or inappropriate), two magazines filled with Christmas cookie recipes, a small tree for each of their bedrooms, and a tall and simple pre-lit tree for my writing studio.
Suddenly it was like 77 freaking degrees in my house, the sun was shining into all the windows, and I should feel encouraged by such balminess but it stole the spirit right out of all this red and green. Where are the frosty windows and chilly noses? I want to heat some wassail, not pour some lemonade. Still, I moved forward.
But I neglected to explain the desensitization process to the boys. I forgot to tell them that this 'whole process' isn't happening today. I don't have a list or a plan, and there's no system of attack. We're just doing this and that, the pieces that feel new and manageable to me, so none of this feels overwhelming.
We're not trudging up all the boxes from downstairs. We are not putting up the tree in the living room. We are not putting up the tree in the family room. We are not hanging tinsel and lights. We are doing a F-E-W things.
But out they came from the Christmas closet downstairs, with more and more things to add to the process, to clutter my house, and to remind me of a dozen past Christmases.
"No. No. No! Listen to me! We have to do this at my pace. That means as slow as I need to go, and I need to go s-l-o-w-l-y. Put the tree skirts away. And the nutcrackers And the outdoor lights. No. Put it away."
And just like that, I'm the Scrooge, even though I'm the one who decided we will extend Christmas into 1/6 of the year.
So now I'm sitting in my bedroom. It's blasted hot in here, plus I'm agitated and sweaty from the tasks I didn't yet want to complete. Enough for one day. Clearly.
We shall continue our pre-celebration another day. And I may or may not do it while elves are at school, so I can take my time, make my decisions, do it my way, and then let them add frosting and ornaments to top it all off.
Good grief. Merry Christmas.