It was one of my favorite books as a child. We read it in the fourth grade, I think, and I loved it. It's about a boy named Milo who is bored with life, and one day he gets a mysterious package. It's the Phantom Tollbooth, complete with a little car for Milo to use. He drives through the booth, and finds himself in a strange land filled with amazing people and creatures.
Along his journey, he meets the Lethargians, who inhabit the Doldrums. They are lazy and disaffected and bored and depressed. (The entire book is full of this type of play on words, which is something I loved about it back in the day and still love now.)
Here is a copy of one of the drawings from the book, when Milo encounters the Lethargians living in the Doldrums.
The point of all of this is to basically say that I feel like I'm right there with Milo in the Doldrums today. I don't know why. I think it's a combination of hormones, worry about making it financially, and the loneliness that comes with being away from family during Christmastime.
As much as being in Oregon during the holidays is difficult because of the nine million family obligations we have, I wish we were there this year. This will be our third Christmas alone. The first two were great, because it was so freeing not to have the pressures of having to divide our time between five places. This year? I'd give my eyeteeth to have to do that.
I would love to spend just 3 hours with my mom and sister and niece and nephew, going to see Santa with them at the big department store downtown. I wish I could see their little faces as they talked to Santa. (Sh*t, now I'm crying.) My family has gone to see Santa there for as long as I can remember. It's a whole floor of the department store they turn into the "North Pole," and the same awesome Santa is there every year. Well, this is the last year they are doing it. Damn Macy's bought the store and are going to discontinue it and make effing condos. And I will never get to go there again and I will never get to take my kids there and that makes me really sad.
I wish I could spend a few hours baking with Brett's mom and sisters. I called the other day and that's what they were doing. I would love to be hanging with them, in our jammies all day, making gingersnaps and snickerdoodles and eating more than we save as we watch and laugh at trashy daytime TV.
I wish I could be with my sister-in-law and my niece and nephew on Christmas. I've only spent two Christmases with them, and that was when year my 8-year-old niece was under 2 years old. My nephew wasn't born yet. I especially wish I could be there this year since my brother has been deployed to Korea and won't be able to be with them. My mom is there, though, which is good.
I wish I could open presents with my dad and stepmom while drinking good wine as we sit in front of the fire, then go to church with them on Christmas Eve.
I wish I could give Brett's Grandma Dori a hug. She's the sweetest lady ever and the only grandma I've got left. Same with Brett's Grandpa Buz and his new wife, Gloria, and all the rest of Brett's extended family. His aunts, uncles, cousins, who have adopted me into their family and whom I love dearly. I wish I could see them this weekend, too.
But I can't. I can't do any of these things because I am 3,000 miles away. And I am going to have to come to terms with that. Really soon. Like about 4 hours ago.
It is what it is, we are here in Maine, and that is how it has to be for now. I just needed to vent all of this out. And strangely, I feel a lot better having done so.