Christmas wishes to you all.
I have had a very quiet month online. This, of course means that my life has been overwhelmed by my work, my kids, my husband, my extended family and the world at large. So much so that my thesis has sat untouched for several weeks as has my blog. Amongst all the usual chaos of kids finishing school and Christmas shopping, my husband ended up ill in hospital for 4 days (he’s out now and slowing getting better) on the same day that I found out my favourite student was killed by a(n alleged) drunk driver. Nicole was sweet and gentle and so keen to be a librarian – I have no words other than to say that she should not have died in such a way.
All these events have drained me. This year was tinged with sadness to begin with as my favourite uncle died in July. There have been a number of other world and family events that have deeply impacted me and left me with a cumulative sadness that I would never had anticipated at the beginning of this year. I would not call my sadness depression – it is just downheartedness. I’m feeling the losses of this year.
Last night, at 8pm I realised that for the first time since my husband and I have been married, we still didn’t have our Christmas tree set up. So we brought it out of storage, my husband went to bed, my sons helped me decorate it, then they went to bed. I filled the stockings with small token presents (no big presents were bought this year due to spending the past week in hospital with John) and yes – there were socks! The tree sparkled with 20 years of Christmas decorations. Balls, lights, dolls, birds (doesn’t everyone have a faux feathered parrot perched beside their star?), tinsel, Santas, boxes, bells and so many more. This made me smile.
I looked back on my year. Sure it was filled with sadness. But it also was filled with happiness. I had a journal article published, one that I toiled over and angsted over for much too long but one that I feel strongly about.
I published a book (not my own) and Shallowreader is officially a publisher. Even if I never publish another book, I loved discovering this process and I will be eternally grateful for my late uncle giving me the opportunity to publish his book before he died. It was a deep labour of love.
I read favourite books.
I still love romance fiction (37 years and counting!).
I discovered How I Met Your Mother.
I watched (and loved) Bridget Jones’s Baby twice!
I listened to my kids’ music choices.
My youngest son started at a school whose care for students comes before their school ranking – the principal so far has demonstrated all that one would want in an education leader. Fairness and kindness.
I swim at Fairlight beach.
We caught up with old friends once a month and the four of us are surprised that we let the busyness of life let us fade apart for so long. Our once a month will continue next year.
I love Sydney.
I twittered and blogged with wonderful friends. I do not consider the online communities that I chat with to be virtual. There is nothing virtual about the warm, wonderful people with whom I chat. I appreciate every single one of them.
Miss Bates introduced me to Sister Vassa – a Greek (Russian? USian/New Yorker?) Orthodox nun/sister with her own Youtube channel where she talks theology and throws in sweet zingers – she is the only light for me in a religion that I love yet feel constantly exacerbated by its patriarchal institutional failings.
I spoke with Miss Bates – this thrilled me as much as the day that I spoke with David Sedaris.
I spoke with Valancy – she be so interesting and funny.
I might go to Canada and the US. Planning, even if the end goal is not in sight, is fun.
I got a permanent part-time job at the library I had been working at as a casual. I love my library and I have wonderful colleagues who make me laugh all the time. I love going to work.
I meet great borrowers.
I have the best book group EVER!
I have wonderful friends both close and far.
I am especially grateful to Anna, Rachel and Sandra for putting me up in their homes this year. All three have blood worth bottling (in a good, allegorical way not in a creepy houseguest way).
I do love long train rides.
I got a new bed with a wonderful mattress that is ever so comfy.
I have good teeth (my dentist told me!).
I have grown my hair out and it is long enough to wear pigtails again.
My clingy, needy dog Cleo who sheds ridiculous amounts of white hair all over my black floors is ever so cute and I am so glad that she did not die from her mystery illness at the beginning of the year.
I have a great romance fiction PhD cohort.
Bookthingo and co are just excellent even if they have cut me and interviewed two librarians who are not me (talk to the hand!).
I love my Shallowreaderbingo because the few people that play make every square worth creating.
My mum and aunt Vasso and my three sisters just fill my life.
I absolutely love love love my family. My husband and two boys are funny and smart and kind and worldly and devoted and all-round great – everyone should be so lucky to have men like these in their lives.
Despite the sadness, there is also plenty of happiness in my life. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Καλα Χριστουγεννα and a Happy Sameach. Let us all be aware of the light and joy in our lives.
Thank you for reading my blog. I deeply appreciate you.
26 thoughts on “My Christmas season – sadness and happiness”
Lovely post! Life is all about balance, the good, the bad, the highs, the lows. The pina and the colada – thank you Ellen Degeneres 🙂
You’ve made me think today and be thankful for all the good things in my life today as well – friends, family, good health, as well as the everyday blessings I take for granted but help me get through rough patches. Merry Christmas to you and your family also!
Thank you! When my kids were little we used to give daily thanks and it was always for small things such as “the colour blue” or “cucumbers”. I was feeling so down when I started my post yet I slowly managed to find some lovely things, positive events throughout the year. I had Pina and Colada 🙂
I’m glad you found so many things to be thankful for. We didn’t have any personal losses this year — I hope I’m not saying that too soon! — after many in the last few years, but it’s been such a crappy year overall my mood has been pretty bleak too. I’ll try to think of some good things to remember too.
P.S. Let me know if that US visit ever happens. 🙂
P.S. My aim is to go to the Canada reader’s meet up* and then travel to NY, Boston and Maine. Fingers crossed!
*Are you going?
I was hoping it might happen, but right now I’m feeling a need to save money so it can be donated to organizations trying to save us all.
I can fully understand that. 2 months ago, this trip was a sure thing for me but life sends curve balls. Maybe a charity donation will be in the works instead for me too 🙂
The past 2 weeks were so especially difficult. And sometimes losses are the easier problems to discuss. Some problems feel to large to say out loud. Which is why I needed to look for small joys. I thought my list was going to be short. Instead it could have kept growing and growing. Just writing my post has made me feel better 🙂
Happy Christmas!!! What a wonderful post!
It’s so interesting to look back over the year and take stock isn’t it? I always find that when weighing up the bad with the good, the good is usually overwelmingly present…but until that point, the negatives seem to standout so much more… After reading your post, I am definitely going to do that more.
Plus: ‘I spoke with Valancy – she be so interesting and funny.’ (*preening in the corner*)
I think negatives standout because they are so out of the ordinary. This is a good thing. Imagine if it was normal to have horrid things going on! I too am glad that I sought out all the good things. So many are my everyday norm!
*preen away 🙂
Lovely reflection and so glad John is home with you, recovering. Vassiliki, you have a wonderfully full life with so much woven in. Your sense of community and the way you work to grow the world you live in is a great gift you give out. Wishing you and yours all good things for 2017
Thank you so much for your kind words, Merrian. Let us all be hopeful for 2017!
You know what? We deeply love and appreciate you (and John, Paul and Peter), too.
Thank you so much, Monica! We all feel the same way about your family. And we must catch up in the next few days. It is only a short walk! 🙂
You are such a joy, such a bright light.
Thank you for sharing yourself with us.
Thank you for your kind words. There is no way I could write so openly without our wonderfully supportive blog and twitter circles.
*waves from Canada*! *fingers crossed* The joy, peace, and light of the season to you and the family! And it was totally a boon to my year to meet you voice-wise and hopefully in the flesh in 2017. Sister Vassa gets weirder, more delightful, and theologically wise than ever. I read a recent article, which began … “Tradition is like pornography” … ! 😉
Fingers crossed indeed! And oh my! You must send me the link to Sister Vassa’s article! She is such a hoot!
Would love to, but it’s in an anthology … dead-tree one!
I’m intrigued. What is this dead-tree anthology called. I will see if I can find a copy.
Will dig it up for you …
So glad to have made it into your recap. Though now you’ve mentioned the creepy houseguest thing I might sleep with one eye open next time…
There’s something about having a Christmas tree up, decorated, with lights twinkling that instantly brings me joy. I need to remind myself of that fact every year since I’m lazy and I whine about getting it out of storage, putting it up, then taking it down to pack away – but dagnabit – I love my eccentric Christmas tree with it’s collection of oddball ornaments.
This year has been – well, it’s been a year. I’m happy you were able to find some joy amid the not-so-joyous, and that hubby is out of the hospital and one the mend.
Thanks Wendy. It has not been a forgetful year at all. But, as my mum says “I am still in the life”. Wise words 🙂
As for trees, once again, my wise mum who also hated putting the tree up and then down again bought herself the biggest garbage bag she could find. After Christmas she would cover the still decorated tree from on top and on the bottom with two massive bags and then tape them together and move the tree into the garage. Then when Christmas rolled around the following year she would take the bags off and “voila” it was all ready! She did this for 5 years and then stopped putting a tree up altogether 😀