Darrin had been out of a job for a month and I was starting another job--which made, at the time, six jobs. Fortunately, my teaching contract for the university last year was only for fall semester, so I was finishing that job up and only had the final projects left to grade. But I was tired mentally, emotionally, and physically. When it came time to put up the Christmas tree I wanted to weep. I had no energy left to decorate or spread cheer. Somehow, though, I managed to finish Christmas gifts and make cookies. I went through the motions of most of our traditional baking and singing and parties. And I played in Messiah.
It was grueling. I think I cried every night as soon as I was sure everyone was asleep. I didn't send Christmas cards.
It's not like I was trying to be miserable. I did things to keep moving. I crocheted four afghans. I gave away Christmas carols to blog readers. I helped write music for our church Christmas program.
But I also worked like a crazy person. I worked six days a week, and I worked through the holidays, as well. I didn't take Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's off, and the trend continued until July when I was told in no uncertain terms that I MUST take a vacation.
This year Darrin has a good job. He just started it three weeks ago. I've been told I need to quit one of mine, but we're still playing catch-up. I'm not sure when that will happen.
I've been playing Christmas Carols for the past two weeks. As long as there's snow on the ground, Carols are allowed to be played in our home--one of a few traditions I kept from my growing up years--and I'm making plans to bake with my mom for the first time in many years. I think it's time. I also think she needs me to help.
My mom had a mini-stroke three weeks ago. At her follow-up the doctor said all indications point to the fact that this was probably not the first. She'll have a bunch of scans done in the next week, to locate any damage to the brain, check for cancer and clots, and see if there's atrophy of any kind.
My siblings and I are not exchanging gifts this year. We started drawing names when I was in junior high because there were so many of us and the tradition has continued until now. But one of my sisters is now living in Armenia. She wrote of the need for clothing, basic necessities, and the corruption in government which makes it difficult to obtain medical assistance for most of the people. We decided to use the money we would have spent on each other to contribute to the needs of those people. My sister has sent us information about items needed and reputable places to send monetary contributions. It feels better to do this, somehow. We've always enjoyed exchanging gifts but we've done it for so many years now, it's nice to have a change and one which will, hopefully, make a small difference in the lives of others.
I'm still tired, but it's a different kind of tired. I don't feel beaten down. I'm not waiting for the next disaster. My life is utter chaos but it's okay.