I'm going to be honest here. As much as I decorate, bake, take pictures and smile, I kinda hate the month of December. I try so hard to like it. I do the cards, the tree and crafts for my kids because for them it should be magical. For me, it's not.
There are many annoyances that go into my dislike of the holidays, but there is one main reason...the first Christmas we had as a family with kids, the year that should have been this month of happiness as we introduce our first child to this time that Hallmark tells us should be all about love and magic, we spent worrying that our baby was going to die.
December 2, 2004 Lucas started showing the first signs of Kawasaki Disease...by December 5, 2004 he was admitted into Rady's Children's Hospital. December 6th I held my precious 9 month old as they sedated him to do an EKG on his heart and felt the life slip out of him as he was put into a deep sleep - one that he would wake up from 2 hours too early, screaming and thrashing, and inconsolable. We kept telling ourselves we were lucky...there was no lasting heart damage, they caught it in time, he was treated and he was going to be okay. But we spent that whole month, one that should have been filled with parties and joy, in and out of multiple doctor's offices, wondering if our baby was going to live.
The week before Christmas I lost it in a doctor's appointment. My OB and Pediatrician were in the same office, so they pulled me out of the room and talked to me and diagnosed me with Post Partum Depression. I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating. I didn't do cards and by the 20th of that month I hadn't even bought a present. While some may have looked at that month and focused on the positive, that my child was healthy and was going to be okay, I focused on how the first Christmas with my first child was ruined... and that was something I could never get back.
Flash forward 3 years to December 2007. Zoe, born November 1 weighing 4 lbs 15.5 oz at 38 weeks, was barely 4 weeks old. She wasn't gaining weight. She was nursing every 2 hours for 45 minutes at a time. I couldn't put her down for more than 10 minutes. She was so little...and I wasn't sleeping, my c/s incision was infected, I wasn't working and since I'm self employed, there was no disability. We were budgeted to the penny and something happens with Jason's car that rendered it useless for 2 weeks and cost us almost $1000. Once again, mid-December, my OB diagnosed me with my old friend PPD. In addition to losing Lucas' first Christmas, I then, also lost Zoe's.
I make the effort, I do the things that I know I need to do, but for the time being, the spirit and magic of the season is lost to me. I try to build happy memories to replace the sad ones by going overboard with things like handmade decorations and gingerbread houses, but then I just get stressed out and anal retentive about everything BEING PERFECT. People kinda make fun of me for almost always sending the first, or one of the first, cards they get in the mail. But the real reason is because if I don't get them out before December 1, I know they just wouldn't get done.
I've come to a place where I expect to hate this month. This year, December has brought death into the lives of people I love and drama where none needed to be. We are only 8 days in, and this month has already exhausted me. But I'm still giving it the old college try. I have a wonderful husband that puts up with my December Blahs. I am a founding partner in what is turning out to be a very successful website launch. I have clients that I'm happy and excited to be working with. And I have some amazing friends. Old friends and new friends; people that touch my soul in different ways.
And most importantly, I have this: