HOLIDAY'S SHARP EDGES SEEM SOFTER NOW
by Cindy Hasz
American Reporter Correspondent
San Diego, Calif.
SAN DIEGO -- It is at the same time a profound and a silly thing, b= oth theater of the absurd and nursery of things beautiful and tender. It ca= n delight and elevate, irritate and exasperate all within the space of a fe= w hours.
It is messy, and when lacking honesty becomes perfunctory. Its dar= ker side breeds obsession and violence. Much like sex, the one place that o= ught to be an Eden of unconditional acceptance is often a minefield of expe= ctations if not mortal wounding. Even when expelled from Paradise its seeds= germinate within us for a lifetime.
I speak of the magical, mystery cabal otherwise known as the famil= y.
The holidays, like it or not, most often mean the family, such as= it is, will convene. I do not doubt that is the source of much of the depr= ession and ambivalence surrounding the end-of-the-year festivities. Either = we miss someone sorely who may have been with us in celebrations past, or w= e may jolly well wish someone still with us were not.
In this time of love and grudging good cheer we cannot admit our discor= dant feelings without a several sleighfuls of guilt. Who wants to be the on= e who says that life sucks at the Thanksgiving table or that big guy from t= he North Pole has no clothes?
Just back from the Thanksgiving trip north to see my own cabal, I n= otice that something has changed. While I used to be drained after seeing t= hem, often suffering a migraine within 24 hours of the visit, now I am head= ache-free. I feel an odd sense of happiness, groundedness and true thanksgi= ving that, quirky as we all may be, we are still alive.
I am not sure who changed. Did I? Did they? Maybe as Mother gets fr= ailer and less demanding, brother gains humility while losing his hair and = sister-in-law is no longer the Latino version of Martha Stewart. The Bombec= kian "ties that bind -- and gag" have been loosened if not released altoget= her.
Maybe I am not so judgmental, maybe my resentment about the hairpin= turns of the track these last few years have diminished; maybe my hard edg= es have eroded as I've gotten ground into the pavement of life, gotten "fub= ar" in the winepress of middle age, gotten bludgeoned -- oh, sorry. But may= be it's me who's not so high and mighty anymore.
All I know is that = the very things that used to drive me into an absolute lather, like mother'= s hyper-politeness to everyone while ignoring me, my brother's bombasity an= d my sister-in-law's perfections and cloying religiosity, all seem endearin= g this year. Poised as we all are on the precarious, even faults seem preci= ous. Maybe it's just that we consumed more alcohol during the holidays, but= I don't think so.
Something has happened. I think we've forgiven ea= ch other for being human, for the countless misunderstandings and hurt feel= ings, the disappointments, betrayals and times when we just didn't care. = Jeff and I, pushing 50 with teenage children of our own, understand n= ow just how difficult and fragile this wild and crazy life is. We understan= d just how wonderful it is to have a family to share laughterand a peculiar= history with; a turkey we almost couldn't get out ofthe oven, a few bottle= s of Korbel and, Lord willing, a mere five weeksfrom now, a Christmas tree = with at least one bad side, colored boxesunderneath full of ... well, thoug= hts that really count.
What an amazing grace. We have moved past dem= ands and expectations into gratitude for the simple and flawed grandeur we'= ve already been given.
Cindy Hasz is a nurse and writer based in San D= iego. She can be reached at email@example.com