For the past several years, I’ve been spending Halloween in Europe, and finally this year, the inevitable happened….with one ‘child’ (my youngest) a senior in college, four others in their early twenties, and the oldest three grown up and married…..NONE of my children dressed up for Halloween this year. I never thought that day would come, and just thinking about it, a bevy of their costumes come to mind….the Octopus in Little Mermaid…..the Little Mermaid herself….(the hooker in “Pretty Woman”…oops), witches, nuns, the year my oldest daughter dressed up as a pumpkin, with green dyed hair and an orange face, and then couldn’t get the orange dye off her face for 2 weeks…her boyfriend dressing up as her dog, dropping plastic ‘fleas’ all over the house….vampires, fake blood, and finally, my own Grand Finale dressed as a Whoopi Cushion a few years ago. Definitely, some memorable moments. I’m actually really sad to see this era end. But there it is….no more Halloween costumes for us. It took a while, many, many years in fact. And for all those years, they started planning their Halloween costumes as soon as summer came to an end.
With the disappearance of Halloween as a major landmark in our lives, our early warning system for the impending holidays seems to have failed. Suddenly, it is mid-November, and with a gasp, I realize that it is nearly Thanksgiving. I’ve been busy working on new books, going back and forth to Paris, working on the songs (I write the lyrics) I’ve told you about, and suddenly, holey- moley, it is almost Thanksgiving. It will be a bittersweet year for us this year, our first Thanksgiving without my children’s father, my now late ex-husband, with whom I stayed very close, and who came to all our family events and holidays. Six of our cousins will be joining us, and several friends, but we will surely feel my ex-husband John’s absence acutely. Life….with all its joys and losses, and one feels them even more at holidays. But now, suddenly I have to get ready. The kids will be coming home, relatives arriving, friends joining us for the Thanksgiving meal. The house will be exploding at the seams with boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, my many children. I hope it will be fun.
And right on the heels of Thanksgiving, everyone will be home yet again for Christmas. I love holidays, particularly Christmas, and an excuse for all of us to be together, but no question, holidays are always a mixed blessing for all of us. And in some cases, holidays are just damn hard, and some years for some of us, downright grim. So while I am looking forward to seeing my children during both holidays, and friends, I am also acutely aware of how hard the holidays can be: with the people we’ve lost, the disappointments we’ve had, the people we once loved no longer there, the family events we hope will be peaceful but are often an opportunity for stress in families. And whatever is wrong or absent in our lives is magnified by these supposed to be so wonderful days. And I remember only too well the years when I was totally alone and had no one to spend them with, the tears I shed on disappointing holidays when the people I loved just didn’t come through. I think the holidays put a huge amount of stress on most people, and are seriously depressing for others. And even in happy, healthy, close knit families, people feel the strain and pressure of Christmas. It’s an opportunity for some lovely times, but for some tough times too.
I hope that your holidays will be easy and warm, starting with Thanksgiving, and onward after that to the subsequent ones, Christmas, Chanukah, or whichever holidays. Sometimes it’s a good idea to plan ahead and try to figure out what to do with those days, if there are no immediately obvious solutions. If you don’t have family to spend it with, it’s a good idea to round up friends, or figure out what to do so the day doesn’t wind up seriously depressing. (New Year’s Eve is one of those dates for me, I never know whether to spend it with friends, or just go to bed and forget it, and not even try this year. It’s a dilemma I face every year, with no easy solutions).
So, here we are, the holidays are almost upon us. Here they come again!!! I’m not ready for them yet, although I’ve almost finished my Christmas shopping. When they roll around, I hope the holidays will be good to you this year. We all need some good cheer, some love, some hope, and some good times among family and friends. I hope that the holidays will be peaceful and easy for you, and that all your holiday dreams come true!