This part of year is always hardest for me.
I’d like to say I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, mostly because of the wicked acronym, but I don’t. My garden variety, un-cool acronymed depression mixes with the PTSD (pesticides and toxic substances division?) in a nice soupy paste of unhappiness.
Christmas, no matter how I try to play it off, is hard. Sure, I find joy in watching my children scamper about, ripping open presents and squealing in surprise at what lies beneath – that part is tops. New Years Eve almost always finds me near-tears for no fucking reason the whole day, until I wake on January 1, and feel, well, lighter. The elephant sitting squarely upon my chest is gone, as are the fifty pound weights attached to my neck.
I don’t know why this happens to me. But it does – every year.
After the holidays pass, and I am finally able to breathe again, it is time for my daughter’s birthday. My daughter. My daughter who will be three this year, and has not once had the birthday party I’ve wanted to give her. It is my fault – January 1, the anxiety takes over and I’m barely able to leave the house. I become a slave to it – the thoughts it gives me, “you’ve lost all your friends,” “no one will come to her party,” “you’re weak – you should be able to do it.”
Those thoughts beat at me until I relent, deciding upon a “quiet family party,” playing it off like that’s all I’ve actually wanted to do, anyway. I mean, she won’t remember it anyway, so why bother? She’s only (insert young age here).
What they – you – don’t know is that it’s not by choice. It’s never been a choice. If I could choose, it would be her birthday tomorrow, I could skip the month of January, only to wake up on January 28 to a perfectly executed party attended by those whom I love and who love me too (short list as it may be).
I decided, as I always do, that it’s time to get ready for that party – to finally do it. This was during the end of December, that awful week between Christmas and New Years. For a whole week, my resolve, it was strong.
Just yesterday, I realized that I didn’t have the addresses of many of those who I wanted to invite. And shit, it’s already January 3, and her party is in like 4 weeks. That’s not enough time. Maybe I shouldn’t do it. I should just throw her a nice quiet family party or take her for Mouse Pizza in the seventh circle of parental hell. I shouldn’t throw her a party. No one will come, anyway.
And shit – she won’t remember it anyway.
(Amelia’s drawing of a good guy being attacked by bad guys)
I felt that hopelessness, that despair, sink in – I’ve been here before and I’ve always chosen to listen to that asshole voice in my ear – no one WILL come. It’s pointless to throw a toddler a party. I’m weak.
Then I stopped.
Before I could spiral any more, I stopped myself, and went over to evite – y’know, those crappy email invites? Yeah, I never use those. I love stationary, and paper invitations and nice thick envelopes, and handmade cards (it’s the same reason I never send Christmas cards – I get overwhelmed by the beautiful ones I could be making and end up sending none at all) and fuck email invitations.
Within ten minutes, I had an invitation ready to send. Ten minutes after that, I’d sent it to ten people.
I cannot tell you, Pranksters, how proud of myself I am. I looked my demons in their eyes and told them to fuck the fuck off. I will throw my daughter a party and people will come. There will be a house full of people who love her, even if half my friends live scattered around the country.
For that day, I will insist that my demons wear party hats and serve punch. If they don’t like it? They can go back into my closet. Because that day, that day is for my daughter.
She will finally get the celebration I’ve wanted to give her for three long years.
The pink balloons – like my heart – will, at long last, fly.
*If you guys are local, (I’m in a suburb of Chicago), we’d love to have you – and not because she needs presents, but because she needs to meet so many of the people who love her. I mean it. Just send me your email address and I’ll send you the evite…if you promise not to judge me for it.