As I write this, I should be on a beach in Punta Cana, but I had to cancel that family trip because my daughter caught COVID. Unpacking the suitcases was hard but I tried to stay light and cheery and all “silver lining” for her sake, because she felt terrible for being the reason our trip got cancelled.
My mental health had been plummeting before that blow. Doctor changed my anxiety meds and I was seriously off balance and more anxious than I had been in years. Painfully so. And then, as it usually does when it hits a peak, it turned into darkness. Really inconvenient timing to be depressed when you find out you will have to care for your needy children 24 hours a day for the next 10 days. But I did it. My daughter went back to school today, healthy and happy. And I’m sitting here, alone and in silence, with a heart so heavy I can barely breathe.
I want nothing more than to shelter my kids from my my mental health struggles, especially during the holidays. I want to give them the magical, joyous, festive Christmas they deserve, and I have no fucking idea how I’m going to pull that off.
Magic of Christmas!
But out of nowhere my daughter asks me about the Tooth Fairy.
“Mommy don’t lie.”
“You’re doing that smirk thing.”
“Mom! And the Easter Bunny?”
“Oh God, mom, Santa too!?”
It all happened so fast. Neither one of us was ready for that. It felt like all the twinkling lights and sparkly glitter just went dark. Like my heart.
“I can’t even look at the Christmas decorations anymore without being disappointed,” my 8 year old said with her usual drama and tears in her eyes.
Me too, baby girl.
None of this is tragic. Intellectually I know that. We are heathy, we have each other, we are fortunate enough to have the means to get our kids gifts they will be excited about (and yes, I assured her that there would still be a lovely gift from “Santa”). With some perspective, I realize that my reactions are not proportional to the actual size of the problem. But that doesn’t make it easier for me. I wish I could carry things better. I wish these little things didn’t feel so heavy. I wish I didn’t always feel like I will snap at any given moment if there is a minor setback. I wish my brain would give me a fucking break.
I wish that there was such a thing as a Christmas wish. Or at least for my daughter to believe there is. Because seeing the joy in my children’s eyes is what reignites my dimming light. So I need to find a solution and pull that joy out of somewhere on time for Christmas.