I was born and raised in Ontario. So were my parents and grandparents. You'd think I'd have developed the kind of tough blood that can handle a Canadian winter but I tell you, ever year around the end of October I honestly believe that I will not survive this year. I'll freeze to death in my own house. I can't do it. I will have to hibernate. You think that's bad - my mom is getting worse! I really do think she'd hibernate if she didn't have to work for a living. She'd plan every trip into town between snowflakes.
It's not just the cold, though. Cold is nasty but I can deal with it as long as I've got the appropriate clothing. That's a piece of wisdom I got from my dad, my ol Man, the hippest hick I know: Dress Accordingly. That means long johns under the jeans, woolly socks, a long sleeved shirt over a T shirt and a hoodie sweater over the whole combo. Then a warm toque, with the hood over that. Then the thermal coveralls. If that's got a hood, even better. Industrial strength boots and huge leather mitts with fur inside finish it off. Dressed this way, he's ready to get on the tractor and blow snow, and I'm ready to settle in and watch a movie. See, I can handle the cold...
December stirs up a whole storm of emotions for me.
Anxiety. This is the Christmas season, and I don't deal with it well at all. I hate hearing radio ads, hate reading the paper, hate being bombarded every time I leave my house. Shop, buy, get, give, obligate. People apparently will like me more if I get them good stuff. And I have to get it now. Get it now before someone else gets it. Have you got it yet? Get it. Hurry. Everybody's hurrying. More traffic, less parking spots. Less big parking spots. Hurry. Have you got your lights up yet? But only high efficiency lights. Have you got your tree up? But only an eco-friendly tree. Buy some cheap tree ornaments. Now. Hurry. Have you planned your Christmas party? Plan it now. Have it now. Make it good. People will like you more if your Christmas party is fabulous. Hurry. Now.
Guilt. I'm a Christian, which means that this is the most important event (after Easter) and deserves to be celebrated, yet here I am, cynical and sarcastic, that it's been turned into a giant retail thing. I don't have a problem, oddly enough, with religion being taken out of it. Not everybody shares my religious beliefs, and I'm totally okay with that. We deserve the break, the distraction, the reason to celebrate life during the darkest days of the year. Isn't that beautiful? But I feel guilty because I often wish the whole damn thing would just go away.
Sadness. Not everybody feels they have something to celebrate.
Anger. The remnants of a childhood jealousy at all the other kids, the ones who got truckloads of presents -- my sister and I would come home and report how spoiled they all were. Their crap was all broken by the time school started again, and we took such care of our one present each. We shared an anger that while we appreciated what we had, we were made to feel poor by the others.
Screw them all. I got a pony for my Christmas birthday.
I had one pair of pants, one dress and two sweaters but I had two ponies, damn it all!
Regret. Every December brings another year of my life to a close. Another year older. It's so tempting to think that I haven't accomplished enough. I know it's not true; I know I need to focus on what I have done, no matter how small it may seem. The clock keeps on ticking though, no matter how long I lose track of time.
Wonder. Huh, would ya lookit that. We all made it another year.
Gratitude. Here I am, still in love, breathing, living.
Panic. I'm running out of time.
Memory. I had a mental meltdown four years ago in December. I have a hard time shaking that.
Weariness. My husband needs a break. Yesterday was his first day off in six weeks. yeah, read that again. No exaggeration. It's good to have work, but even farmers take a nap on Sunday afternoon. We all need to slow down for a week or two.
I'm going to get through the next two weeks, wrapped in layers of clothes and breathing out slowly to expel the tightness in my chest. And soon I'll be able to relax, and spend a few long minutes listening to my horses grinding hay with their huge molars while I lean on the wall and stare at their perfect hooves.