Christmas Songs and Emotional Hangovers

We can officially say goodbye to Jingle Bells and Silent Night this morning.

‘Tis the day after Christmas. Santa’s not coming to town anymore.

I got my last earful last night before going to bed.

I’m not a fan of holiday-themed songs in general but there’s one I listen to every year at least once.

I was 9 the first time I heard it. It’s not popular by any means. Odds are you’ve never heard it and not just because it’s originally a French song.

It doesn’t really matter.

Think of a song that brings you back to the first time you’ve heard it every time the melody comes to your ears.

Think of a song that makes you shed a tear every time it comes on.

Think of a song whose words resonate in your head no matter how many times you listen to them.

Now, combine all three and you get what kind of song I’m talking about.

Besides the promise of gifts, Christmas growing up held little other anticipation. There were no big family gathering to look forward to. I didn’t have to prepare myself to answer all the burning questions about my life that well-meaning aunts and uncles inevitably seem to have. At least that’s what I imagined normal family gatherings to be like. It was something that people with real families had.

Every year, we went to church on Christmas Eve  and I got to listen to my best friend sing in the choir. It was the only tradition other than gift unwrapping that made the holidays festive for me.

She had a soft soprano voice (she still does!) and sang a solo that year.

It was this song about a sad flower left in the snow getting picked up and befriended by the narrator/singer.

I remember sitting in the back on the left side with my mom. The small church was packed with families but it was quiet as she sang.

I knew it was silly even in that exact moment but I felt it anyway; I couldn’t help but picture myself as that delicate paper flower.

My friend was singing for me.

I was embarrassed for crying in the middle of all those happy families with a cold wooden bench beneath me and the sweet smell of incense floating around but I still did.

On a day about happiness I didn’t like to be weak and admit to myself that I cared so much about her choosing me as a friend. I knew I wasn’t an unloved flower but I still felt deeply moved.

I’ve never told her this to this day but I was jealous of all the people that cared about her. She had the real family I wanted with the gatherings and games.

But that day it felt ok. Even if I was a sad paper flower left in the snow, she chose me.

I will forever be grateful for that.


This year I celebrated Christmas in the way I dreamed of back then.

When I came home I told my cat I loved him.

Then it dawned on me, I didn’t tell anyone else.

I still don’t like admitting to myself how much I care about being loved but I’m not a paper flower anymore so I can tell you all,

I love you.

Even though I don’t drink I feel like I have an emotional hangover today.

 

*Photo Credit: jbarreiros flickr Creative Commons 2.0

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