You, who couldn't afford the gifts you wanted to give.
You, who went into debt.
You who gave joyfully, grateful for the freedom to celebrate this way.
You who are heavy-hearted because of who wasn't with you.
You, who were saddened or angered because of who was with you.
You, whose children were delighted,
you whose children were disappointed.
You, who had to work.
You, who wished you had a job,
and also you, who had a paid day off
and were able to travel to be with family.
You, in the hospital.
You, without transportation.
You, home alone.
You, with no home at all.
You, exhausted from desperately trying to meet all the expectations,
to create magic out of nothing,
to re-enliven dead traditions,
to breathe through clouds of incense,
while others are angry or judgmental,
You, who are bone-weary of pretending.
You, who stand proudly in your truth.
You, who are celebrating for the first time.
You, who no longer celebrate.
You, who wish your own celebrations were as visible
and didn't need explaining.
You who are joyful.
You who are grieving.
You who are all of these.
You, who are numb.
You are enough today. Even when it seems so far from true. Even when you feel so far from where you want to be, and whom you want to be. Even now.
You. I mean you.
Happy eclipse. Happy Hannukah. Happy Friday. Merry Christmas. Happy Kwanzaa. And happy new year to come.
May you be blessed today.
We've almost made it to Christmas. Solstice is past. It's Erev Chanukah. What isn't done yet, may not get done. And that might be okay. I asked my son what else he wanted, to feel like the holidays had been done right. "Nothing," he said. "Except we need nuts to crack. Brazil nuts."
Just some nuts, folks.
We have a small Christmas tree. We baked one kind of cookie. All our Christmas decorations fit in one tub, plus one small cardboard box (well, now that my stepdad has brought over the macrame Santa and Christmas tree, I may need one more small box). I have one gift left to buy, plus a few treats from Santa and his elves.
But it's enough. The activities we've done, they're the ones that mattered to my kid. The other stuff? It's extra. While I'm feeling a little disappointed we didn't have an Advent book this year, and we've barely burned our Advent candles, and we haven't been to look at lights, or to see A Christmas Carol, or to visit Santa, it's time to let go.
The story I shared on Instagram last night was "East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon." You may wonder why I share so many European stories. It's because that's my culture. I want to spend more time in the next year lifting up the work of storytellers and storycarriers of other cultures, especially those whose stories were stolen or suppressed, in their own voices. As a teacher, I have a responsibility to share all kinds of stories from all kinds of people with my students, so that they can see themselves reflected. As a storyteller, I want to tell the stories that were lost through assimilation into "American" culture (read here White, Northern and Western European culture), as well as stories that are woven into this culture, finding their wilder, more interesting roots.
But for now, what I really want to tell you, is it's enough. Tell the stories you know. And if those stories make you cringe, then find new ones. Tell a story, in the car, at the table, around the candles or the fire.
Perhaps, tonight, you might want to tell my favorite story lately, The Donkey, in which a king and queen have an unusual child, who learns a skill uncommon to those like him, and whose true nature is revealed without his consent, but for his own good... (images: Kay Nielsen, the Donkey Welfare Improvement Scheme).
Over the past few weeks, I've been trying to post daily on facebook and instagram. Mostly, the same lovely folks have been liking and commenting, and that's fine. I have a few new followers, and I love that.
It's been hard to keep up. I've been trying to share a story I love every day. The hardest part of this I think, has been knowing that I'm not sharing the stories themselves. So, here you are. Links to each of those stories, if I can find them on the web.
December 2 -- Mother Holle
December 3-- The Goose Girl
December 4-- Snow White and Rose Red
December 5-- Vasilisa the Beautiful
December 6-- Aschenputtel
December 7-- The Seven Ravens
December 8-- Tatterhood
December 9-- Cap O'Rushes
December 10-- The Stolen Bairn and the Sidh
December 11-- The Crystal Ball
December 12-- Sweet Porridge
December 13-- Prince Ivan, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf
December 14 -- The Twelve Months
December 15-- Father Frost/ Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden
December 16-- True and Untrue
December 17-- The Smell of Soup, the Sound of Money
December 18-- I got confused and forgot to post one, but how about King Lindorm?
December 19-- Great Joy, the Ox
December 20-- The Sea Hare
I'm not sure if I can keep it up all the way to Christmas... I'm really having to search, but I do love all of these stories, and I hope you will, too! Happy Winter Reading!!!
Hi. That's me. I write, sometimes, about parenting, storytelling, and about living a life with stories.