Saturday, December 5, 2015

There's a Missing Member from the Manger

I feel myself starting to unravel as Senia Mae scants from bin to bin pulling out random Christmas decorations, giving them the quick once over, and then proceeding to discard them on the floor as she moves on to the next discovery. The mood is supposed to be good: it's chilly and raining outside, we are drinking eggnog and blaring the Glee Christmas album on Pandora. Why can't I just enjoy this moment of family bonding as we decorate our home for Christmas? Taking a deep breath, I let my shoulders relax as I step over a mound of tinsel garland and help Senia Mae pull out her Little People Nativity scene. That is what she is really searching for.

When we find the box underneath several hand blown glass ornaments that were placed haphazardly a midst the table runner in the Christmas tote, I pull it out carefully, like it is the lost treasure we have been seeking for decades. Within seconds the box is on the floor and there is plastic hay, a mule, and a couple of wise men camouflaged into our tan and white shag carpet.

"Let her be," Kim says to me, smiling and putting her hand on my shoulder in hopes of calming down the manic expression she sees rising on my face. "We can gather up all the pieces when she is done playing."

But I can't just let it go. I have always had this neuroses where I can't stand for parts to be missing from a set, it makes me crazy. Why can't we keep all of the pieces together? It feels like its been the daily battle of my existence, trying desperately to keep all of the pieces of my life neatly together.

I remember sobbing in my mother's lap after the neighborhood kids left our old house on California Road. Pieces of my Barbie Dream house furniture were scattered in every room and I was a total mess, spinning out of my control because my "stuff" was not in a contained area. Looking around my living room today, I realize that not much has changed with my mental incapacities as I try to control myself and let my child have her own Christmas experience.

Apparently I am not Elsa and I just can't just let it go. I line the Little People up on the mantle, feeling the strong urge to make sure all of the members are there. Of course, several are missing: a donkey, one palm tree, and the cart that goes on the mule. Instead of unpacking the rest of my pre lit garland and my special Christmas tableware, I find myself digging through Senia Mae's four bins that happen to contain a mixed salad of everything from Barbie shoes to palace pets to farm tractors.

After thirty minutes of digging, I recover two of the three lost manger members. One is still missing. Is Christmas really going to be ruined over a missing donkey cart from the Little People Nativity scene? Hopefully not.

Since then I have been able to move slightly forward, I have gotten the upper mantle partially decorated. But I can't seem to get past the thought that maybe the cart got mixed in with the farm toys we passed down to her cousins last summer. I'll call my sister later to see if she came across a stray cart with no donkey. Since this isn't a dire emergency, my therapist would probably appreciate it if I held off calling her until Monday morning!

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