Like many mamas, this mama wants to have a clean, festively decorated and comfortable home for her child and his girlfriend when they come for their Christmas visit. I am acutely aware that my lack of consistency in providing my own roof is troublesome to my child. This is one of my most painful difficulties. It might be called a “character defect” in some circles, but I don’t find that term helpful. I feel like it isn’t a defect of my character, because to me, character is something you have in yourself, and that implies having a self to begin with. Until recently I had no Self.
Now that I have a Self, I can begin to choose what kind of Self to be. I can discard the values of addiction that I learned, choose my own values, and make deliberate decisions on how best to uphold those values to continue to build this new Self. At times, the old fractured me and the new me get a bit at odds with each other. The Holidays are a great time for this.
My child generally perceives me and where I live as a welcoming, warm, comfortable, roughly orderly, homey, festive, and sufficient place to spread out and relax while visiting. I value these perceptions and that he feels he can bring his girlfriend and her things. I am always pained that my instability from my lack of Self has meant that I reared a child just as I was reared; Steady Eddy dad freaking out over change, and Nomadic Norma whose constant change caused freak-outs. I am always pained that I was unable to settle into a roomy 2 bedroom condo for my son to have a sense of permanence and to “come home to for the Holidays”.
Another thing that is bothering me this year is that normally wherever I live, I really live. I nest the heck out of it and make it homey. This time I was too broke, too traumatized, and too disbelieving to settle into my new space. Very unlike me, I have done almost nothing to make the studio my trademark home. I constantly have small piles of unattended paraphernalia to put away, give away, throw away, or create away. I have a half painted kitchen, that is a remnant of this fall’s battle with rodents and a three year climb from debt to have an operable stove, to finish painting. My door is barren from a thief stealing my beloved grapevine wreath. The only festive decor are my Christmas lights around my bedroom and living area windows, and they are blue to match my regular decor, likely remaining after the Holidays.
My previous shame filled, fractured, outward-facing, looks oriented, unforgiving self, would be in full freak out mode. I would literally not sleep until I had run to my storage unit an hour away to fetch and put up my Christmas decorations, cleaned away all my piles, finished painting my kitchen, and gotten the stove hooked up if at all possible. My previous self would have spent my last dime on a spy camera to protect a new wreath I would have acquired. Nope. Not going to give in to shame and it’s addictive behaviors. I am going to sleep and save my time, money, and energy.
I may tackle one small pile. I may make a festive, snarky sign for my door. I may get out the few decorations that are already here in the studio. I may finish the wall the sink is on to give one area some completeness.
I have already purchased real food, snack food, and beverages for entertaining. My Christmas shopping is done. I have gotten out and cleaned up things my guests may need to use.
I will move furniture to set up a comfy bed for them. I will free up shelf, table, and electrical space for their belongings. I will find sox to stuff with small fun treats. I will wrap their gifts and have them under some kind of tree. In my home, it will be Good Enough.
Then I will avail my whole self to them. I will share meals with them, relax with them, play with them, create with them, celebrate with them.
Happy Holidays from my home, worts and all, to yours, worts and all.