Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Year I Nearly Ruined Christmas

When you are a kid, Christmas is the most magical time ever. It is full of anticipation, excitement, mystery and wonder. I don't think I can remember feeling more excited about anything in my life at that age. The only thing that came close was the excitement I felt the year I had my eighth birthday party at the roller-rink.

I see the same joy in my nieces faces and it warms every single cell in my body. This year was no exception. However, this year, I also got to watch the dreams of two five-year-olds shatter like precious china hitting a marble floor. Yes, it is true. I publicly admit that I nearly traumatized my poor little nieces and made Christmas a life long PTSD experience of heart break and disappointment. 

My previous blog details a list of the things I love and hate about Christmas. I was talking about the blog with my sisters at Christmas and they suggested I read it aloud to everyone. I obliged but felt a little nervous at the same time. I was so focused on not screwing up that I wasn't really paying attention to exactly what I was saying. However, I realized something was not quite right when I read number eight on the list because my nieces, who were giggling and commenting the whole time I was reading, suddenly became silent. I turned to look at them and what looked back at me was something that will be forever burned into my memory. I saw the innocence of two little girls die a horrible death in front of me. Their stark white faces were etched with betrayal and I swear I could see the last sparkle of holiday magic burn out in their eyes.

Picture this face on my nieces. Pretty much the exact look.
I wondered what in the world I could have said to cause this reaction. So I read number eight again to myself: "Reliving the day I found out that Santa isn't real." The first thing I did was say the word "Fuck!" really loudly and watched as their jaws dropped even further open. Then I slapped my hands over my face. Oh. My. God. I had done it. I had achieved my Everest fuck up. Not only had I brutally murdered their Christmas joy, I polluted their pure, sweet ears with dirty profanity. I scrambled to some how smooth things over. "It was just a joke!" I said looking around the room, nodding "Right, Everyone?" Praise be to every deity that I've ever heard of that they seemed to buy it and we were able to quickly move on to another subject. 

The whole day, I wrestled with the doubt that they fully bought it. I asked my sister if she thought they did and all she said was, "They better have!" She was pissed that I nearly took away a huge source of behavioral blackmail from her. She would no longer be able to threaten them with having Santa's number in her phone and saying she will call and tell him how naughty they were being if they didn't listen to her. Can't say I blame her. I mean, what would she do then? Tell them she has Jesus on speed dial? Exactly.

I am happy to report that my nieces still live in the bubble of holiday bliss. Santa is still alive and well in their hearts and minds. It was a near miss of a plummet into a dark place. However, this year will always be remembered as the the year that my dumb ass almost ruined Christmas. I know I will never be able to live it down and expect to be receiving loads of coal in my stocking for years to come. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Love/Hate Christmas List

Like it or not, Christmas comes every single year. Without fail, elves begin making toys and Santa makes the circut around every local mall. He smiles his jolly smile at each adorable little snot factory as he sets them on his knee and listens to requests for pretty jewelry, trampolines and luxury vacations. OK, that is actually what I asked for myself before he had a chance to throw me off his lap, but whatever.

All my adult life, I have had a strong love/hate relationship with the Christmas holiday. I wish I was one of those wacky holiday enthusiests who wear ugly, light-up Christmas sweaters and sing carols everywhere they go. However, in reality I'd have to say that I fall somewhere between a cheerfully neutral person who plays along with the festivities and someone who wants to commit homicide via candycane. In the spirit of goodwill and holiday cheer, I decided to list some of the wonderful things that I love about Christmas. As a person who places a high value on balance, it is in the spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge and Mr. Grinch, that I also list some of the things about Christmas that make we want to become Jewish immediately.

My Christmas Loves:
1. Food, food, food. Delcious food.
2. Watching the faces of my five year old neices as they open their presents.
3. Mistletoe, muah!
4. Christmas lights. They remind me of beautiful Christmas fairies!
5. Christmas movies. Espeically, "White Christmas" and "Elf."
6. The scents of Cinnamon, Pine and baked goods.
7. Taking a lovely Christmas nap by a fire or other cozy spot.
8. Belting out awesome Christmas songs at the top of my lungs. My specialties are "Let It Snow" and "Baby Its Cold Outside."
9. Getting Christmas cards with pictures of people, their families and pets. Pictures make everything more fun.
10. Bell-ringers. Normally, people find theses people super annoying. I find them inspiring. I think its great that people volunteer to spend hours in the cold trying to raise money for the needy.

My Christmas Hates:
1. Christmas shopping or trying to go anywhere near a store this time of year.
2. Trying to coordinate seeing all the parts of my family. It makes me feel like a one-woman road show.
3. Crappy Christmas songs. Especially that particularly nauseating one known as, "The Christmas Shoes." Yep. Threw up a little in my mouth just thinking about it.
4. All the hype leading up to Christmas and then the let down when its over.
5. Tacky, overly decorated houses that look like Christmas just threw up all over them.
6. All of the wrapping paper that gets thrown away every year. I swear, if I listen closely enough, I can hear the sound of entire forests crying out in horror.
7. The pressure for everything to be perfect. The meal, the decorations, the presents etc. Can't we just order pizza and enjoy each other's company?
8. Reliving the day I found out Santa isn't "real." I've decided to remain in denial about this one.
9. Two words: fruit cake. Is there really ANYONE out there who actually likes that poo-loaf? Ew.
10. Remembering that "holiday spirit" does not mean alcohol.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and if things go badly this year, next year I will be wishing you a Happy Hannukah. Mozel Tov to you and yours!

Monday, December 5, 2011

TIABM #3 (Things I Abhor Beyond Measure)

There are many things that I love and treasure with pleasure. However, there are also many things that I really can't stand. The following is a list of things that make me want to bunch a baby or worse. Otherwise known as "Things I Abhor Beyond Measure."

* Wood ticks.
* Super clingy people (human wood ticks).
* Stepping in dog poop...or poop of any kind.
* Being late for anything.
* Scraping snow and frost off my car.
* People who are chronic complainers and never have anything positive to talk about.

* The sound of nails on a chalkboard (you just cringed thinking about it, didn't you?)
* Taking a bite of an apple you expect to be crunchy and crisp but then discovering its soft and mushy.
* Traffic jams.
* People who refuse to see or take responsibility for their actions.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Holiday Spirit on a Psych Unit

You know it is that time of year at the hospital when fake, over decorated pine trees start appearing all over the place. Even our own crazy little unit gets a "safety approved" tree. Santa's elves, otherwise known as "Joe" and "Marvin" from facilities management, delivered our tree the Monday after Thanksgiving this year. 

Mariya (my co-worker) and I were sitting behind the desk and watched as the "elves" wheeled in a six foot tall tree, decorated with all plush and light weight ornaments. Admiring the new festive addition to the patient lounge, I turned to Mariya and said, "We should really start taking bets on how long that tree lasts before someone messes with it." She laughed and replied, "That is actually a really good idea." We turned back to our respective computer screens and gazed over them at the cheery symbol of holiday spirit, twenty feet away in the patient lounge. 

Approximately fifteen seconds later, a particularly psychotic patient walks calmly into the lounge and spots the tree. "Oh, a Christmas tree." She said, as she casually makes her way over to the tree, throws it down on the ground, stomps on it and calmly walks away. I am not kidding you, this actually happened. Her timing could not have been more perfect.

Mariya and I just started, gaping mouthed at each other; trying to figure out if what we witnessed had really just occurred. Chocking back fits of laughter, we made our way to the lounge to tend to the situation. Being Jewish and allergic to all Christmas related paraphernalia, Mariya handled the patient while I took care of the tree. I had set the poor, abused thing upright again and was collecting ornaments off the ground when another patient approached and exclaimed, "Oh! Are we decorating for Christmas?" I had to smile. "Yes we are!" I said as I gave her an armload of ornaments. "You want to help?" She smiled back as her head bounced up and down like a dashboard toy. Together, we redecorated the tree and proudly admired our work when we finished. 

This holiday season, that patient gave me two of the best gifts without even knowing it. The first thing is the gift of laughter. She provided me with one the funniest and now favorite memories ever from my job. The second was being able to share the experience of connecting with another patient through redecorating the tree. You never know what will happen next on a psych unit. It might be funny, heart warming, heart breaking or down right scary. In any case, it is always interesting and the stories you have are better than the ones you could ever make up.