Merry Christmas! This year I’m spending Christmas away from my family and even from PJ. I decided some time ago that I wanted to have some time alone to work, wear my pjs all weekend, and eat macaroni and cheese. I did this a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it as a kind of anti-holiday. I hate holiday travel, and I really do need to finish up some projects. Plus, I tend to be a bit reclusive anyway, and it doesn’t get any more reclusive than spending Christmas alone in Athens!

On the whole, it’s been a good weekend of reflection and self-analysis. I feel like I’m getting my life in order and working through some stuff that I should have worked through a long time ago. But now that the big day’s here, I’m kind of regretting my decision. I love my family and I miss spending time with them. So, I thought I’d bring myself a little family Christmas cheer by thinking about past Christmases with them and posting a picture from my little sister’s first Christmas:

A’s first Christmas

This picture was taken in 1979. She is 3-months-old here, and I’m 9. It’s crazy to think that she’s now married! She’s a grown woman with a husband and two dogs. In so many ways, I still feel like I’m the 9-year-old in this picture.

My earliest memories of Christmas are from when I was 3-years-old. My mom and I were living with my great grandparents. It snowed that year, and we built a snowman. When I woke up the next morning, the snowman was gone — my mom told me that he had gone to live at the North Pole like Frosty so that he wouldn’t melt. I think all of my subsequent mechanisms for dealing with loss stem from that day!

Besides 1979 bringing me my little sister, that year was also a great Christmas because I received a lot of Star Wars toys. I lived, breathed, and ate Star Wars as a kid. The movie, of course, came out in 1977, but I didn’t see it until late 1978. (My parents thought I was too young to see it at first.) And 1979 was the year that I finally started raking in the loot: action figures, ships, the soundtrack, etc. I didn’t get everything that holiday, but the Star Wars wave began. I think I had gotten a few things for my birthday that year, but Christmas was special because (if I remember correctly) that’s when I got Darth Vader, some Stormtroopers, and the Millennium Falcon. (By my birthday in 1980, I was really set: I got the Death Star, and 1981 brought me Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer and many of the action figures from The Empire Strikes Back.)

When I got older and Star Wars no longer dominated my interests, Christmas lost a lot of its lustre. Once you grow out of the toys years, it’s difficult to get as excited about it all. The day largely becomes about opening your gifts — clothes, books, videos, none of which are as thrilling as getting DV or Han Solo’s blaster (complete with sound effects) — and then sitting around with the family watching t.v. until dinner’s ready. Not all that exciting, comparatively speaking. But now that I’m not doing it, I guess I do miss it a little.

But more than anything else, this Christmas I miss PJ. Most of my reflection this weekend has been about him. I love him so much and yet I don’t show him well enough how much I love him. I still have too much of the 9-year-old mentality in my life: I spend too much of my time waiting for more Star Wars toys. (And I mean that metaphorically, of course. Though, to be honest, I wouldn’t mind secretly playing with a Millennium Falcon and Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter — as long as no one found out! I think it’s more legend than anything else, but some people supposedly have sex dungeons in their houses — or whatever the appropriate term would be — I could totally seeing myself having a secret Star Wars room in the basement where I played with my toys behind a locked door. I wouldn’t really do that, because it’s too weird, but ….)

But back to my point: I still act like a little kid waiting for my presents. I’ve done a lot of thinking this weekend about how to change that. I don’t want PJ to feel like he’s the parent and I’m a 9-year-old. And I don’t want to screw up our relationship because of my immaturity. It’s a little early for New Year’s resolutions, but I have one anyway: a year from now I want PJ to feel that the past year had been the best one of our relationship, I want him to feel how much I love him — not just on that day but on every day between now and then — and I want him to look forward to spending another year loving me. (Ok, so maybe that last one is still a little bit like being the 9-year-old looking forward to opening his Star Wars toys, but on some level I’m always going to be a Star Wars geek and the world is just going to have to accept that! We’re all just lucky that I don’t have Darth Vader posters decorating my study or have my DV lamp on display in my office on campus!)

At any rate, merry Christmas everyone! I wish my family, my husband, and all of our friends a happy day and a joyous New Year. I look forward to seeing them all soon and love them all very much.