I’ve been having a lot of small crises lately, mostly small existential crises. Maybe not so much existential as transitional crises.
Like tonight at dinner while my parents and I ate spaghetti and talked about Christmas this year. Then I realized something, “Guys, this might be my last Christmas at home!”
Wide eyes, whiny tone. This was a realization I hadn’t had yet.
“Well, yeah, honey, if your plan works out, it will be.” My plan is to live at home for six months while I get a job and save rent money then move out. It’s just a plan. We’ll see what happens.
“Oh, no! Everything keeps changing. I get used to one thing, and then another changes. And it just keeps going.”
At this point, my dad is just nodding, like yes, that’s life. It’s not fun, but that’s what it is.
This is a strange turn of events. Not only will I only get home a week before Christmas, but it might be the last one.
In the frenzy of grasping for familiarity and hoping to not feel regret or disappointment come December 26th, I said, “Well, we have to make sure we do everything!”
I’m making a list. It’s dumb. It’s not going to make it more like Christmas when I was little, and it’ll probably feel a little stupid to execute.
We have to read all the Christmas books! Out loud!
We have to make the gingerbread cookies that fit together into 3D models of Santa and his sleigh and reindeer! And decorate!
We have to listen to all the same music that we listened to for all the other 21 Christmases I’ve been around for! All!
Picture a cat that’s falling off the couch that stretches out its claws in a desperate attempt to stay on the couch and ends up clawing your pant leg instead and hanging on. That’s kind of what’s going on here.
We need to get a “Baby’s 22nd Christmas” ornament! Stat! Mark the occasion!
“Well, you can come sleep over here next year. I mean, then you can still open stockings with us on Christmas morning.”
The panic subsides a little bit. Then I think of sleeping in the guest room in the house I grew up in the night before Christmas. Will that be weird? Yes. But it’ll mean something is the same. This is helpful.
My mind is still spinning with the finality. Ending college, ending any semblance of childhood, ending education (for now), ending living at home (eventually), ending Christmas at home, ending financial dependence on my parents (soonish, no hurry on that one), ending calling this ‘home.’
But not everything upends. It changes, but some things will stay consistent, at least until the other changes feel solid. Then they’ll change. And I’ll be ready.
But I’m still going to read all of our Christmas books this year. Starting tonight after the gingersnaps finish baking.