Growing up, my mother’s birthday was designated as the day we decorated our Christmas tree every year. It is one of many family traditions I choose to leave behind because it no longer brings me joy. My mother’s birthday, December 9th, now stands as a memoriam to all the days we’ve missed together and of all the fear and hurt I feel when I think of her. It reminds me that she abandoned me in 1990.
New Years Eve is no longer just a changing of the guard where one year takes over for another. It is a reminder of another year without my sister. There are so many days, especially during the holiday season that mean something significant. I become aware that our calendars can become landmines for emotions.
Dates are not impersonal. They are not “living” in the traditional sense but dates absorb emotion and seem to expect attention and recognition. They sneak up on you and you realize you missed them or are reminded that you didn’t like them in the first place. We humanize dates and give them permission to speak because they pack memories and emotions with them. Their hair trigger responsiveness to our acknowledgement gives them life.
My solution? I acknowledge the emotions I feel as days drip off the calendar. But I stare them down like I used to eyeball my naughty toddlers, making sure they know I see their potential to stir up trouble. Its my way of saying “I see you. But you will not rain on my parade, color on my picture or tip my apple cart today.” Not today. Today I live, and laugh and love.