Ahhh, the holidays. That magical time of year when all of the family dynamics, good and awkward, are laid bare and magnified. For years, it began before Thanksgiving when Bubba and I would square off to pitch our respective holiday preferences to each other. My family or his? Or neither - should we just stay home?
Over the last fifteen years the discussion has evolved from a careful, quiet waltz to a quickstep. We know each other well enough now that we can state our case without hurting feelings and we know when to offer compromise and when to dig our heels in. Whew! Some things do get easier with time.
Others, not so much. Like the inferiority complex I get when I begin to envision the holidays with Bubba's family. This year we are hosting Christmas dinner at our house and, while I have had an enormous amount of fun decorating and planning the menu and shopping for gifts, when I woke up this morning, that same old feeling sprouted in my gut and took hold. I have 24 hours to feel it, acknowledge it, and yank it out, roots and all. In the past, I would have eaten Christmas goodies to bury it and watered it with wine and coffee and mulled cider. In the past, all I got for my efforts was an acid stomach and a sore jaw. This year, I'm trying something different.
I'm going to spend some quiet time listening to all of the reasons I feel as though I don't measure up. I will anticipate certain gestures or phrases that I know very well fertilize that seedling of self-doubt in my gut and think about how to shield myself from them. I will do my best to remember that this is my Christmas celebration, too, and that while I am now part of this family, I am under no obligation to do things as though their blood runs in my veins. My house, my rules:
4. Generosity of spirit
Those are my rules for this holiday. Anyone who wants to break them is welcome to step outside until they can honor them once again. My gift to myself this year is to take the time to get right with me before everyone comes to celebrate with us. I have a good feeling about it.