The day after Christmas is always depressing. In fact, Christmas itself starts to get depressing as the day starts to wane and you realize that you have to wake up and face real life the next day.
I should be more chipper than I am. Today is my daughter Chloe’s 9th birthday, so she’s excited even if the rest of us are not. She loves having a birthday the day after Christmas, despite the fact that the rest of the world is often too busy to notice. It gives us an excuse to keep the party going, and I’m grateful for it.
I just dread January.
There’s nothing pleasant about January. (Yes, oldest daughter Cleta’s birthday is on the 7th, but that’s about it.) January is cold. It’s dreary. Lots of snow shoveling in freezing temperatures. And there are no Christmas lights to keep it artificially cheerful. It’s just a long, hard slog to Spring, which, for the past few years, hasn’t rolled around until April, if then.
Geesh, what a gloomy post this is turning out to be. That’s a shame, because Christmas was great. We had made all the preparations for Santa’s visit well ahead of time, and then at 11:30, my wife remembered that one of the big gifts was being stored at her brother’s house – which was about twenty miles away in the snow. We got to bed at 1:00 AM. So much for being ready ahead of time.
That’s gloomy, too! Knock it off!
Christmas morning was delightful. The kids ripped into their presents and had a wonderful time. We spent the morning playing Guitar Hero III on the Wii, and we spent the afternoon napping. Or at least trying to nap. I was engrossed in the book my wife gave me – the new Steve Martin biography about his stand-up years, titled, appropriately, Born Standing Up. It’s a fascinating look at what it takes to create a life in show biz, something I was unable, or unwilling, to do.
I have a wife and five kids and a life of relative normalcy, whereas Steve Martin spent his young adulthood slogging through funky clubs playing the banjo and squeezing bananas, trying desperately to make his mark. He succeeded, of course, but not without a price. He’ll never have five little sprites ripping open Santa presents on Christmas morning. But I paid a price, too. I think I got the better end of the deal, but something still aches when I imagine what my life would have been if I had taken his route instead of mine.
Gosh, I hope nobody decides to shoot themselves in the head after reading this.