Birthdays have not felt all that significant in recent years, and this one felt no different. I just turned 36, and this did not feel notable, either. But I just received an email from a dear friend, whom I’ve known since freshman year of college, and she pointed out that we met when we were 18. So I have known her for half of my life. Now I feel old. Really old. I’ll probably feel like some kind of grand gesture will be necessary soon. Maybe a drastic haircut? A cheesy tattoo?
This collage surely does not depict the mood around our household, as we are preparing for my mother’s departure tomorrow. She’s been here since before Thanksgiving, and we are all, as usual, finding it hard to say goodbye. My mother usually starts feeling sad a week or two before her flight, sneaking in a cry here and there. Otis has also been feeling anxious, asking every morning and night whether Lao Lao will still be here after his “night sleep.” We have been trying to place her departure in the context of other happenings in his life. “After one night sleep, it’s a school day; after two night sleeps, Lao Lao leaves; after four night sleeps, Baba comes home (he’s away on business); after five night sleeps, Wu Yi Lao Lao comes back from Taiwan…” Hopefully this has been somewhat reassuring to him. I hate goodbyes. They are such torture.
Thanks, by the way, for the comments on the selling of stuff. I have the feeling that I didn’t make myself entirely clear — what’s holding me back is not primarily the reluctance to start my own business, or even the production side of things, though those are not small issues. I think that the thing I struggle with lately, especially with Christmas just come and gone, is the excess of stuff. I’m striving to live with less, and believe that it’s generally a better way to live, and I’d like to reconcile these feelings with the desire to make stuff to sell.
I’m curious to know if you folks out there cut back this holiday season and why. I’ve never been a huge Christmas gift giver, which is the reason why I’ve always made candy (uh, until this year). And I really try to encourage family not to buy too many gifts. But as usual, we ended up with a mantle full of gifts, and I was as guilty as anyone in buying too many presents for loved ones (except for Fifth Aunt Grandma K, who takes the cake in this category, but only because she loves us too much). I tell myself that I should just let loose a little, it’s OK if Christmas is every bit the free-for-all that Halloween is, since that’s part of the fun of being a kid. Unfortunately, Otis didn’t get to eat all of his Halloween candy, either, but I SWEAR he forgot about it. I found myself saying rather crossly several times, “Christmas is NOT about presents! It is about spending time with the people you love!!!” How do you guys handle the holiday shopping season?