Moving into my new digs I found ancient pictures of both my nieces on Santa’s knee. What must it be like to believe in Santa? Never did I think at 75 I’d be asking Santa for anything. My forty one year marriage ended when my husband phoned to say he wasn’t coming home but planned to live on his sailboat. True to his prediction the divorce papers were served. The day after our divorce became final an email arrived from a friend informing me my now ex-husband had remarried.
The weirdest part of shock is numbness. It’s like being a tree: rooted in place yet losing leaves, being snowed upon, and fearing fierce winds.
Step one seemed to be, move out of the house the 3 of us had lived in for 18 years. My only child had an issue with her father, I haven’t seen her for twelve years. My family now consists of a feral cat with the social grace of an egg plant. Friends pitched in and moved me to a retirement village where I paid $500.00 to bring my cat. She is on my lap as I write this Christmas letter. This is a Christmas letter?
“Get busy,” my Dr. advised signing the prescription to double my Prozac, so I taught a writing class and driving there the first day I got a ticket that cost more than I paid to call my cat room mate. I spent Thanksgiving with friends. Through out the meal a guest related tales of her third honeymoon between occasional nips on the neck from her old-new husband. The only thing that made sense was the mashed potatoes.
Getting close to Christmas, my brother, who jump-started my acting career passed away, leaving only one sister and one brother from the original ten of us. Life looked so bleak I cancelled the big celebration I had planned for my housewarming. Enough with loss I screamed at God but He was busy clearing his throat since my ex-husband requested I apply for an annulment so he could work again. Did I tell you he is a R.C. Theologian? Hello, is this the Pope? Say, I have a question.
I went back to my Doctor (at wits end with me) she advised writing a letter to Santa. Well you can’t blame the woman, me comparing myself to an uprooted tree. So I told Santa what I wanted and lo and behold! my two nieces flew in, drove to my writing class then to my cottage and spent the weekend. We didn’t sleep, we didn’t eat, BUT we never stopped drinking Chardonnay Cupcake wine and laughing. They knew me. I was okay in their eyes. In fact: they love me. They cherish me. They think I’m alright. I like myself when I am near them. Hey, there’s a chance I’m not a tree.
They are home now, getting their own families ready for Christmas. I’m here with the feral cat and my laptop. My Dr. was delighted Santa answered my letter. I told her the only thing we ate all weekend was what they called 36 hour chicken. “Why ?” she asked “Is it called 36 hour chicken?” Because they claim it took us 36 hours to get up and make it.
Why am I writing this at Christmas? Cuz if anything in your heart or well of memory has gone numb, go to who has known you since they were a child. Someone to say you look like your brother when you laugh, you have liver spots like Grandma. You answer the phone like somebody stomped on your foot, you’re a lousy cook but serve good coffee and so on, till you can say aloud: I am not a tree. Well, maybe a Christmas tree without lights. Who needs electricity? Ornaments can be made from anything. Just be the best you can be. Work with what you’ve got. Santa told me it’s the gift that everybody wants, they never come out and say it but its true. Be the real you, it’s more than enough to offer those left to love. That’s from Santa to me to you for Christmas 2011. No trees were cut down to bring you this message. xo in’12, MRB