At certain times of the month I become a contrarian. There is nothing I can do about it. No amount of caffeine or sugar will transform me in to a “yes” person or make me see beauty in mundane tasks. That’s just the way it is.
“I was just sitting there minding my own business…” this is how it starts, as most stories do.
Suddenly and without warning I am annoyed with how MFP holds his fork, with perky voices blaring from my answering machine, and with cute emails from fellow parents asking for contributions of ANY kind.
Now that we can add MFP’s unemployment to the madness, we are having a PMS slash contrarian par-tay.
“Mom, how come we don’t have a Christmas tree yet?”
“Well, dear, not only does daddy not have a job, but I also hate decorating artificial plants with little delicate things when I can barely keep up with the laundry! Who has the time or money for that crap anyway?”
Of course I don’t say that. I may be bitchy, but I am not a bad parent. Please.
“Well, darling, every family has their own traditions. Ours is to wait ‘til the last minute and throw it together with sweat dripping from our brows.”
Not that either.
“Every family has its own traditions. Ours is to celebrate Christmas closer to the actual day.”
I am getting pretty good at hiding my contrarian feelings, but not having an income is definitely adding a new layer to the excitement. And making it much more difficult to hide my feelings.
Like when MFP is going crazy on the boys about learning how to sweep properly.
“Well, darling, I do see that sweeping skills are important, but let us concentrate on teaching the boys skills that might help them be competitive in the job market some day, shall we?”
I didn’t say that. I just rolled my eyes and left the room, because that is the best way to cope during a contrarian crisis.
For example, I can’t read too many running blogs at the moment. I don’t care how cheap the products you are hocking with your coupon codes become, they are still out my reach! (I will be back next week with a better attitude, I promise!)
I am also having a hard time looking at Facebook where most people like to share their expensive vacation photos and new/house/car/purse/shoe purchases. Good for you! But I just can’t.
At church on Sunday a priest who does mission work in Haiti and Africa came to speak to our religious education classes.
A charismatic speaker, he was sharing hilarious anecdotes about raising kids in the United States compared to doing the same in third world countries.
And he was also noting how wasteful our kids can be, how they refuse to eat certain foods or feel annoyed for being asked to do a chore or their homework.
For a few days I had heightened awareness regarding the points he made, and so I began to feel a bit more upset than usual. PMS. Go figure.
And I thought about how the diet epidemic and how certain foods are labeled things like “no no foods” or “occasional” foods. How we make these feasts during the holidays but then try our best not to eat them.
How we eat to have abs or eat to get bigger, smaller or leaner. How we adopt the latest diet fads and then empty our full cupboards only to fill them with these diet-approved foods..
In short, we have complicated eating to the point where there is now a right and wrong way to do it.
But we forget that most of the world, meanwhile, doesn’t waste a single brain cell on any of these thoughts. Because they eat what they can find. Period.
And so it is between people are doing well and not doing well.
Having a lot of money probably makes Christmas really stressful. Not having much makes it less so.
“You guys won’t be getting a lot this year because of daddy’s work situation.”
“We know. It’s okay.”
And it is. Really.
When you take away the stuff, it is really not complicated at all.
Perhaps for the first year we will celebrate Christmas the right way.
And afterward we can thank my PMS-fueled contrarian crisis for that epiphany.