You'd think I'd love the season, what with having three small children and all. I certainly should. But I don't. Two dozen CDs with music from Bing to Bono are stacked up in the kitchen on Thanksgiving weekend and played ad nauseum while my wife and kids powder the floor and countertops with flour, play with matches around dry sprigs of evergreen and make up wish-lists that, if fulfilled, would fill our house full of plastic stuff and break the World Bank.
Perhaps my aversion to Advent comes from having my own wish-lists go not only unfulfilled but unfulfilled out. I ddin't even dare think out loud - much less write down - what I wished for. I knew I'd be disappointed. When I was 15 my mother finally bowed to my C...-Eve sobbing and moved some of the gifts from my elder sister's "pile" to mine. The secret shuffling was revealed when Susan's friend asked her how she liked the Beatles' Red Album and Susan told her I had received it.
I'm a perfectionist and get pissy when things don't go 100% right, so my expectations for the perfect C... - still lingering in my reptile mind - start dripping salt into wounds from C...es past the day I hear the first "Have yourself a very merry C...."
So please tell me how to have a very merry C... without giving my kids their own toystore and 51% of the common shares of Ebay. It's become even harder to sing along during December since my faith has left me. After the birth of our first child, the story of the baby and the swaddling clothes and important people who came to give him presents made real sense for the first time in my life. Now it's no more than a silly myth to me.
I may come around someday. Until then, C... is a four-letter word to me.