Starting the day after the turkey carcass had been carted away the dreams of my youth turned to visions of Christmas Eve and what Santa would be leaving under the tree. Forget about the next twenty days of school I was in a daze doodling in my notebooks sketches of Santa’s bag filled with gifts. I couldn’t think about anything else as the anticipation grew with the passing of each new December day. As the years passed my childish excitement remained even after I discovered Santa was really mom and dad. Even as I grew into the shoes of a young man I retained the joy coming from the anticipation of Christmas. The focus changed from the wide-eyed glee of receiving to the thrill that comes with the delight of giving. Now as a parent the joy comes from seeing the holiday through the eyes of my child. Her stages of Christmas have mirrored my own so far. As a toddler we watched her eyes light up with joy as she surveyed Santa’s bounty under the tree. Then as she grew and began to understand that Santa really was two not so chubby men named Rick and Lee she kept up with the spirit of the holiday and, like we had hoped, began to understand the concept of it being better to give than receive. But this Christmas has put a whole new spin on the meaning of giving and receiving. It’s harder on all of us to see through to the magic of the holiday. As hard as I try to keep the spirit going I find myself slipping into moments of melancholy and self-pity, not memories I want my kid to have to share, so with this in mind I am giving out my 2009 ten reasons for why I’m glad I’m me as a way of pushing my mood over into gratefulness and away from an everything stinks attitude.
10. Kate Gosselin. Without the wedding ring and eight kids’ Christmas wishes to satisfy I’m glad I’m not walking in her shoes to say nothing about having to step in front of the camera with that chicken tail hairdo.
9. Anyone living in the Hamptons. I know this shows my snobby side, but it’s a reverse snobbishness. Last time I was forced into going to East Hampton, a guy in his Alfa Romeo spit on my car just as he stole the parking space I had been waiting for and then he smiled and flipped me the bird. So glad I’m not him.
8. I know a certain guy sleeping on the other side of the bed wouldn’t agree with this one, but my number eight is Martha Stewart. I’m much more Nigella Lawson: messy, earthy and content with a few flaws. Trying to keep up with Martha wares me out. It’s a recipe for success but at what price?
7. Anyone responsible for clearing the snow off of these Wisconsin streets and sidewalks. It’s back-breaking, bone-chilling, barbaric work, all the reasons that make you think twice about Florida.
6. Sarah Palin. Enough said.
5. Rush Limbaugh and all the other angry white men. Who wants to go through life mad at the world? All this agida is only going to bring on early heart attacks or dependencies on pain-killing drugs. Maybe this is God’s way of telling them to shut up and enjoy the ride.
4. My mom. She’s approaching the point where she’s not quite sure who these young girls are making Christmas cookies in her kitchen. It’s heartbreaking to look at her blank stare as she tries to recall the names of her granddaughters.
3. What would a list for 2009 be without Tiger Woods? I’ve long since past the time where I could even dream of trying to keep up with his libido. I wonder who’s on his gift list?
2. Any one foolish enough to want to be a “Real Housewife”. First of all I won’t wear a wig or dye my hair an unnatural shade of platinum blond no matter how far back my hairline recedes. Wanting the spotlight has its limits and doing this blog is about as far as I’ll go in exposing my dirty laundry.
1. Anyone who doesn’t have a daughter named Emmy, a partner who stretches my good side and helps with my flaws, a family of siblings who watch my back, a group of friends who have pitched in far beyond what was asked for or expected to help pull us through a detour on an otherwise blessed life. It’s Christmas Eve, the day during the year when you’re allowed a schmaltzy ending. Happy Holidays to all.