Adventure in Gratitude Day 2

I’m as surprised as you are that I’ve made it this far.

Day 2:

Hal and Kerry Johnson are the reason I exist, but they’re also a large part of my continuing existence. When I hurt my shoulder at the airport and had to have surgery, I was still living with them, but I was incapacitated for weeks. When I had my surgery on my ovary the first time they drove down to Huntington to be there the whole day. When I broke my collarbone, they welcomed me back into their home and recliner until I was useful again. When I had surgery on my ovary again, they welcomed me back into their home and recliner until I was useful again. And quite frankly, I think would have let me stay forever if I wanted to. Last night when my car rumbled until it was ready to stall, they traded cars with me so I could still faithfully get to work. When I told them about my assaults they stood in the living room hugging me and crying.

I’ve never felt like a success. I work my ass off to barely scrape by. I will always feel like a burden to those around me, but I’m so incredibly thankful for the unending love and support of my parents.

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Adventure in Jolly old Saint Nicholas, you have no place here!

I don’t come from a Family of vast holiday Traditions. Outside of the day we celebrate things, traditions barely exist. The night before Thanksgiving my Mom and I watch “Muppet Family Christmas” and eat pizza. The weekend of Thanksgiving the Christmas tree goes up. Outside of that nothing grand really happens.

As little lambs Adam (my Brother) and I were not told about Santa Claus. Well, that’s not exclusively true. I remember at one point sitting in the tiny rocking chair my Grandpa had made me, and my parents explaining to me in the front room with just the Christmas tree for light that Santa wasn’t real. I don’t think they told us the same night. I think it was just me. But they told me the Truth. They weren’t going to lie to us. They didn’t want to lie to us. Other parents would lie to their kids, and we weren’t supposed to ruin it for them. I ruined it for them. It’s supposed to be a fun thing, but they didn’t want to lie to us. They didn’t want us to believe that presents were the reason we celebrated Christmas. They told us about Jesus. How He is the Son of God, and He came to earth and became a human baby. A human baby just like we’d been so that He could grow up and die for the whole world. At this point I hadn’t known anyone who died, so I didn’t really grasp the depth of that. So we weren’t told that Santa brought us presents. My wonderful parents Hal and Kerry did. My Grammy and Grandpa did. My Nana and Papa did. My Uncles and Aunt did. But not some stranger who snuck into our house and pilfered our baked goods in exchange for elaborate undeserved gifts. Because the elaborate undeserved gift that was given 33 years after the first Christmas was the most elaborate and undeserved of all, and it didn’t come from some judgmental human. It came from our Father in Heaven who didn’t want us to be separated from Him. There would be presents though. They just weren’t coming from a stranger.

They did a good thing. I had…have…an over-active imagination. Had they told me as a child that a stranger was sneaking into our house every year and leaving me things based upon what he perceived I wanted while watching us, I’d have been horrified. I also probably wouldn’t sleep or trust anyone else. And more to the point, when the time came for me to learn that Santa isn’t real I wouldn’t have believed in anything else that required that much Faith. I wouldn’t have believed in anything that put my Heart and expectations on the line. And I sure as hell wouldn’t be trusting anything my parents told me for quite some time. Luckily, they were honest and decided Jesus was far more important than some creepy, fat man coming into our house. That isn’t to say it would have been impossible for me to put my Faith in God. It just would have been incredibly more difficult with the way my brain functions.

My parents did a good thing.

My children will be told that Obi-Wan Kenobi brings them Christmas presents, and in so doing I’ve made Star Wars a Christmas movie. You’re welcome.

These aren't the presents you're looking for

These aren't the presents you're looking for

Adventure in Shutting My Damn Mouth

Time is the enemy of comfort.

In recent months, proximally speaking, I have become a very solitary woman. Some days I don’t remotely hate it. I’ve always enjoyed my space, time in my head and imagination. But you can ask my mom and she’ll tell you that I used to talked to anyone and everyone. At the grocery, in line at Cedar Point, didn’t matter. For me now that is the audible, but unspoken, plea for kindred. The constant pursuit of Anne Shirley’s so-called bosom friend, a kindred spirit.

On the whole I’m closer than I’ve ever been, but something has this tendency to get in the way. Outside of the constantly changing lives of 20-somethings. It’s my damn mouth.

If there is one thing I’m not good at doing, it is controlling my refusal of bullshit. I won’t have it. Well, no. That’s not entirely true. I won’t accept it in the lives of others. I won’t let it affect people I love. I take it from people a lot. Often. Regularly. But every so often I snap. I let my passive-aggression spew from my mouth and fingers into the lives of people I care about.

As soon as I do, something awful sets in. Guilt, the shittiest of dance partners. I stew. I apologize and apologize, even in cases where maybe I shouldn’t. To a degree I think the amount of times I apologize a day is not an expression of my wrong-doing, but an apology for my existence. For which I apologize to myself, God and my parents. I’m here for a reason, for which there is no cause to apologize.

Comfort is the enemy of change.

Now as time pulls us apart or draws people together change swells and comfort becomes subtly more and more uncomfortable. Things that were exactly the strength you needed in brokenness are an overwhelming awkwardness. A fumbling attempt to remain the same when nothing is as it was.

Where once beauty came from the truth of brokenness something grumbly rests. Something stirs my confidence, and I retreat back into the person I grew so far from. But that’s my pride. That’s my fear of being someone I’m not proud of. Someone’s whose focus is a little more than lacking. At 24 I wonder when I’ll truly change. And as my life spins around me, as my friends grow closer together in new ways, as I grow further from home comfort shifts. Solitude becomes not something I thrive on nor something I fear. It becomes normalcy, which scares me the most.