A Box Of Socks For Christmas (Or, "The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year... Eventually")

Ahh, the holidays. So magical.

There's the first crinkle as you step on your first fallen leaf… Oh, and the smell of the first fireplace being lit and the first smoke pouring out of a chimney! And the first slice as you carve the turkey, and the first note of Christmas songs, and the first lit-up house as you drive around, and the first snowflake hitting your cheek and opening that first present on Christmas morning… All that magic and splendor and cozy warm whatever.

Fuck that shit.

And you know what? I used to think of this time of year and it has always been my very favorite. Now I am filled with dread. And the sad part is that it's for the exact same reasons I used to love it.

But that's fucked up, right? I mean, who in their right mind fears the smell of pumpkin spice and the sound of Christmas carols?

Well, me. Because I'm coming off a year of lasts and entering a year of firsts. My last turkey carved with my wife last year, and my first turkey carved at a friends' house as I celebrate my first holiday pity invite. My last Christmas tree decorated with 14 years of ornaments we collected together and my first year decorating an Akira tree just so I have one I can call my own.

She get the exciting privilege of making new memories with her new whatever-you-two-are-calling-yourselves because this is their first Thanksgiving and first Christmas and first snowfall and first mistletoe together…

I MUST make new memories because if I don't, I will go fucking insane thinking about how it's your first Thanksgiving and Christmas and snowfall and mistletoe together…

It's gotten so stupid that I even fear silly Christmas hats for dogs. Antlers and Santa hats with poofballs on the tip and elf ears. When people see dogs wearing these things they laugh and laugh and laugh because oh man, those dogs look so goofy and so cute…

That's what I thought too when she bought a pair for Haggis a few years ago. The first time she put reindeer antlers on my dog, I shook my head and tried not to laugh because I knew if I laughed, I would lose the war on costumes for animals forever. And I did.

And now I shop at Kroger for my shaving cream and toothpaste because Target decided to put an end cap of silly holiday dog hats in their cosmetics department.

Is that pathetic? If so, then I'm pathetic. But it's how it is.

Yes, this holiday season is going to be somewhat less than terrific. I'm literally afraid of it. Afraid of the most wonderful time of the year, because it's the first one I get to go through thinking how we both loved that one U2 Christmas song and how we always shared a cookie when we made our one and only trip per year to a mall the day after thanksgiving just to be a part of the holiday bustle. I don't have a home for a tree or presents or roasting a turkey. I don't really even have a home.

But there is always a silver lining, and this one is the present I'm giving myself: perspective.

There's years and years of great memories and times to process, yes. But I'm going to get through that, and I'm going to get through this. And I'm going to do it untethered to someone who ultimately was anything but good for me. And while it may feel a lot like opening up a box full of socks on Christmas morning, in years to come, those socks are going to keep me warm and comfortable and free from blisters as a walk farther and farther down this new path.

I'll be okay. I always am. Somehow, I believe I always will be.

Right now, though... No. I'm not okay. But I'm pointed in okay's direction and I'm walking that way.