I was lamenting this weekend how little the holiday season felt like ... well... the holiday season this year. We spent all of Thanksgiving week packing, spent almost a week getting here, and now we're locked down in my in-law's basement (no, not really). It was hard when my daughter cried as she saw the Christmas tree box go back into a storage unit and not come out for display. It's hard for my wee ones to understand a lot of things right now.
"No, no. We're not going back to the dirty house," I tell them. "Not ever?" my son will ask. "No, darling, you don't have to go back," I reaffirm. "But where is our house?" he asks.
By the way, I can't tell you how shocking it was to find out that our little ones had been referring to our Washington residence as "the dirty house." Out of the mouths of babes, I guess.
I was thinking over these things, while simultaneously trying not to let any of the play dough crumbs from the afternoon's escapades make their way to the bright white linoleum floors of my in-law's kitchen, as I heard my daughter telling my son about Santa Claus, yet another internal debate I'm having with myself. And I realized that we were going to have to start reigning this in quickly. Almost every toy on the television is now a "gotta have." Which I mostly find ridiculous, because the last thing my children need is another toy that they won't pick up or play with right now. If it were humanly possible to get friends and relatives to listen, I would probably ban toys from all birthdays and major holidays (along with candy) for the next five years. Books are great. Games are wonderful. Art supplies are fantastic. --But please, please, please don't give my children any more toys.
I mean, honestly, can Christ-mas possibly get anymore convoluted and complicated? As if it isn't difficult enough during a normal year ("No honey, the Christmas wreaths aren't for Jesus, they just put them up to look pretty."), but now we're hunting for a job, homeless, and all but broken in so many ways. I can't decide if I'm ready to chew nails or break down and weep half the time. But the simple fact remains that we just aren't home yet, and right now we aren't sure if we ever can be or will be again. My husband is determined to be within a 15-minute driving distance of home, which is literally impossible with where our house is. He thinks he might possibly settle for 30 minutes, but it would be cutting it close. So now every time he talks to me about us moving, it's always to a new house, a new "home," which never was, and probably never will be our "home." My home is being occupied by strangers, for the lovely benefit of me paying out of pocket every month on top of their rent to cover the mortgage, and my absolute terror that they are destroying my home, which is surrounded by "friends" who came to beg, "borrow," and flat-out steal from us before we moved. Joy. Is my home perfect? No. Is anything? Absolutely not. I'm not expecting perfection, but what I desire more than anything right now is to go home and be left alone.
I want my walls to hang pictures on, my floors to clean, and some space where I'm not constantly being shoved in a corner. I want my kids to be able to run, play, and laugh, and enjoy the beautiful sunshine that they haven't seen in 9 months. I want them to enjoy the fresh air that they haven't breathed. I want to be around family and friends that really and truly appreciate us for who and what we are, not constantly push us away, lock us in separate rooms, or compare us to other family members or friends. But since that last one is never going to happen, I'm content to let that one go. I'm beginning to relish the thought of becoming a loner. Being a hermit has never sounded so good. Even my husband is seriously tempted at this point. He keeps talking about compounds with ten-foot walls and shotguns. I'm not worried quite yet, but if he comes home with a shotgun for Christmas, we'll have to send up some emergency flares. But honestly people, that's how bad it is.