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The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
25 December 2014
It is nearly 2 a.m. on Christmas morning as I write this. It's been really a weird emotional day for me.
I've been trying to figure out how to make this the best Christmas for my mother that I can, within her limitations. I finally decided Walt and I would go to brunch with her on Christmas day and on the next day I would cook a turkey with all the trimmings here for her, Jeri and Phil.
Only she has zero interest in leaving Atria. In fact, she is afraid to leave Atria for fear she might get dizzy. I was so disappointed that my view of having a mini Christmas here, all gathered around the no-Christmas-tree and drinking egg nog while we open a couple of presents was ruined. I was once again angry with her, not for not wanting to come to my house, but for having no interest in Christmas. She tells me she has celebrated for so many years she just doesn't need to celebrate any more.
Even the thought of seeing Jeri, always guaranteed to elicit some degree of excitement was met with "Oh...I guess it will be nice to see them..." Not a smile. Not a sparkle. Not a scintila of Christmas interest whatsoever.
So I decided Walt and I would still come for Christmas day and we would somehow make a party atmosphere in her apartment, with egg nog, presents, and then dinner at Atria on the 26th.
Then Atria told me they are booked solid on the 25th, so no chance of having dinner with her. I went out to the car and cried.
Then in the afternoon, I was watching Major Crimes, of all things, when a grown up kid talking to a younger kid about their mother said that after you grow up, Christmas is really for the parents, who try to recreate the excitement of their children's growing up years, though the kids don't really care any more. I extrapolated that to my mother and realized I'm trying to make the kind of Christmas that she always created throughout my life, but she is no longer interested (in fact, thinking about how much she had NO interest brought her back to living to hunnert again, our very best topic of conversation)
Of course, no dinner at Atria for Christmas leaves Walt and me alone together and what are we going to do when everybody else (except my mother) is celebrating Christmas?
I finally remembered all those Jewish friends of mine who joke that what Jews do on Christmas is to go out for Chinese food. So I suggested to Walt that I take my mother's laundry to her and then that he and I go see a movie and go out for Chinese food.
That made me feel happy again, doing something according to someone's holiday tradition and we would still have some sort of Christmas with Jeri and Phil and my mother the next day.
Gleefully, I posted that to Facebook and unwittingly apparently insulted several Jewish friends, one of whom--a very long time friend--said, "'Jewish Christmas' is an oxymoron and although gastronomical and comical, just a tad cringe-worthy to us Torah-teaching, Yad-wielding, Trope-chanting practitioners!!! I'm not kvetching, I'm just kvetching!!!"
So then I was all depressed again. I hadn't any idea that would insult anyone, I was just trying to bring a little of the little joy I was starting to find in the idea and share it.
Then I discovered that Lizzie had found 2 rather expensive package decorations I had left where I didn't think she would see them and had ripped them up. And Walt announced that my Christmas gift hasn't been delivered yet (which I told him was OK because I planned on giving him his gift when Jeri and Phil are here anyway).
After Christmas Eve dinner (leftover ham from Alice Nan's house), I tried to think about how to write this entry and it made me more depressed.
At midnight I decided to watch something--anything--on TV before starting to write this. All the Christmas movies I came across were really stupid sounding until, after about 10 minutes of searching, I found White Christmas on Netflix. I've seen the movie a thousand times over a thousand Christmases, but it seemed just what I needed, so I started watching and, naturally, watched through to the end.
But it was just what I needed. It was Bing. It was tradition. It was familiar. It was fun. And it always makes me cry, so I got a good catharsis too.
So later today we will try to see a movie and then have some Chinese food and pretend it's not December 25, but just another day.
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