I couldn’t sleep last night… and while I often struggle with terrible insomnia – this felt – different in some way. I was lying awake – doing an inventory of the day – normal holiday stressors – trying to figure out why I couldn’t sleep. Was I worried about a client? Family and friends? Was I worried about the state of the world?
And while the answer was “yes” on a certain level – I also knew that that wasn’t it. Those are concerns I have daily – and this – restlessness – didn’t feel like that.
I went downstairs at dawn and turned on my Christmas tree and put the fire on… And this – feeling – the feeling I was feeling – which I couldn’t name but seemed so familiar – came into clear focus…
When I was a kid – as far back as I can remember – I would get so excited for Christmas that I did not sleep for the entire month in the lead up to December 25th.
It wasn’t only about presents – although I secretly held out hope Santa might bring me Malibu Ken so I could have an excuse to hang out with my sister’s Malibu Barbie – it was – everything… the tree, the lights, the Christmas carols… Jesus and Santa – joining forces in my little boy brain – as the ultimate super heroes…
It was I – Joey – knowing I had presents under the tree for my family to unwrap – a macaroni ornament – a handprint in plaster… the best presents ever I was sure.
It was feeling part of – the rhythm of life… I was experiencing the same sense of expectation and excitement that everyone in my world was experiencing. And for a boy who always felt – different – and somehow – alone – and – not okay – to be included in our collective “Christmas” was so dear to me I never wanted it to end. I didn’t want to miss a second of it – so I didn’t! I would stay awake every night… sometimes bring my blanket and pillow and sit by the tree… by myself… alone with Santa and Jesus – with all that – magic.
And somehow – through all these years – that excitement – that feeling that something incredible was happening – and that I was part of it – with all of you… stayed with me. Some – emotional muscle memory – wakes up this time of year.. and all those feelings come rushing back.
It wasn’t insomnia… this feeling I was feeling… it was – little boy gay Christmas magic – returned to me… still here… in my grown up self. Perhaps in you as well? If you sit for a moment – and – remember?
Have a wonderful holiday everyone! (And I better get that Malibu Ken this year – I have been very very good (mostly)).