I received some news on Friday that had pretty much slain the heart of my holiday spirit.
I realize it’s probably unkind to continue this post without disclosing what that news was, but it’s not my news to share. So I apologize for that. Feel free to supplement this post with your own version of “bad” news.
I also realize that without disclosing the nature of this news, I leave it wide open to speculation on the intensity of my sadness.
Although I’ve been guilty of doing so myself, I don’t think we should ever impose our perception of how someone else should feel or react to any condition or situation.
Anyway, I spent the weekend on auto pilot; cooking, cleaning, planning, organizing and such. Once finished (as if one is ever really finished), I sat at my computer trying to decide what to write about.
The only words rambling around my head involved sadness, loss and mourning.
The fact that so many are gearing up for a festive holiday season, focusing on well-planned menus, decadent desserts and shopping lists only made it worse.
The thought of heading up to my attic, as I do the day after Thanksgiving every year, to bring down box after box of Christmas decorations made me sick.
I just wanted to wish away the holiday season and skip right to New Years and hope for a happier 2014.
In reality the holidays will arrive and as a wife, mother and daughter, I will have to put on a happy face and make the season as full of great memories as I can.
I will do this, and while I’m sure I will truly enjoy the tree-trimming, cookie baking and what-not, deep down the ache will remain.
I liken the ache to a sore muscle. At times you don’t notice it and then when you move a certain way; it’s back like a smack in the face.
So as I sat before my computer repeatedly deleting every negative word that came from my downtrodden soul, I gave up. I decided I wasn’t writing anything until the pain receded.
Monday morning I dragged myself into work. I crossed the parking lot muttering my usual litany of Monday curses with an added dose of WTF.
My coworkers’ attempts to reach out to me received responses such as “yep” and “nope”.
As I sat at my desk, trying to focus on my work, it became increasingly hard to speak. I just wanted to never speak again. I really wanted to just shut out everyone and be left to wallow alone.
By mid-morning I got over myself as I realized my silence was not the only silence.
None of our usual happy, sarcastic banter filled the room. I’m pretty sure they didn’t talk about their great weekends and holiday plans because they knew I was hurting. (Yes, my co-workers are that awesome!)
I then realized I didn’t just have a black cloud hanging over me. I WAS the black cloud.
That’s just not me.
Bringing down the masses is not my thing. I’m usually the one thinking of the goofiest thing I can do to cheer up someone else.
So I’ve put my pain in a little box and set it aside. Life goes on.
I’ve been through enough grief to know the difference between denial and moving on; and that’s what I’m doing.
I’ve accepted what has come to pass and instead of dwelling on this latest chink in my armor, I’m going to count my blessings.
First and foremost, I am grateful for the overall health of my family. I send positive thoughts to those whom might spend the holidays battling accidents or illnesses.
I am thankful for my husband who loves and supports me, most of the time. (There was that time he vetoed the raising of llamas and chickens…Probably for the best! I let him have that one.)
I am thankful for my children; again I interject, most of the time. They bring me joy and sadness, wisdom and stupidity, humility and pride.
I am thankful for both my parents and my in laws (all of them!) I have the best support system ever. Not that I ever ask, but if I needed help, any one of them would step right up.
I am thankful for my home, even if we refer to it as “the fort.”
I am thankful to have a good job and the most amazing co-workers ever. When you spend more time with your co-workers than your family, it’s a bonus to really like them. I hit the jackpot there.
Oh yeah, one more, I’m thankful that my teenager took the time to see “Hunger Games-Catching Fire,” with me this weekend. Good movie, quality time!
If you’re feeling the need for some comfort food, this Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie might do the trick.
Tell me about YOUR favorite comfort foods!
Gluten Free Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie
What you need:
3 c cold milk
½ c sweet rice flour (or cornstarch)
4 heaping tsp (low sodium) “Better Than Bouillon” chicken base
2 t minced garlic
1 t celery salt
1 t paprika
½ T black pepper
1 ½ c water
3 T butter
12-14 small red potatoes, diced
1 c chopped celery
6 oz petite carrots
½ c finely chopped onion (don’t tell my family that’s in there!)
1-8.75 oz can of whole corn
1-8.5 ox can of Le Sueur baby peas (yes, I’m picky!)
4 raw, boneless chicken breasts, cubed
What you do:
- Whisk the first nine ingredients together in a large bowl. (Make sure the water and milk are cold, so you don’t get lumps!)
- Place the rest of the ingredients (except the peas and corn) in the crock pot in this order: potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, chicken
- Cook on high for 6 hrs, stirring periodically. (I’ve never tried this one while not at home, so I’m not sure about the whole set it and forget it thing. Let me know if it works for you!)
- In the last few minutes, toss in the corn and peas.
Enjoy with gluten-filled or gluten-free biscuits and you will feel like you just got a big ‘ole hug.