“I woke up this morning, and it felt like Christmas,” I told Ming. We were lying in bed, cuddling. He fell asleep and woke up over and over. “It was that crisp, quiet, winter feeling. Do you know what I mean?”
“Yeah,” Ming said. “Merry Christmas.”
“Not like presents, Santa, or special foods, or babies–more just the feeling underneath. The crisp, excited feeling,” I said.
We lay there in bed, and I kissed his shoulder. I pondered how I hadn’t felt that Christmas feeling in a long time–in years. It’s mid-February, a bit late, but the wind is blowing outside, and it feels exciting.
“I think the presents, it’s just a way to get kids to like Christmas. The presents have nothing to do with it. It’s just a way to train them,” I said. “Like training wheels for a bike. You need them at first. Then, when you don’t need them, they’re a hindrance. Once you can really ride a bike, you need not to have training wheels anymore.”
Ming snored in my arms. I rubbed his back.
“So now, we need not to have presents. Presents would throw us off,” I said.
Felt good to discover and explain how I really feel about Christmas, nothing to do with traditions or expectations. Just the cool feeling underneath.
I used to associate it with conifers and the smell of a pine tree in a house. Or with the foods we ate, or the Muppets Christmas album. Also blueberries used to taste like Christmas to me, or a part of Christmas. Now I know what I was trying to get to all along.
“Are you hungry?” I asked Ming.
“Yeah!” he said. We’d gotten up.
“Do you want oatmeal?”
“Uh…” he said.
“Do you want toast?”
“Do you wanna eat the wind?”
“I already ate the wind,” he said.
[Rude joke about wind exiting his body.]
needs and expectations
On facebook I saw my friend mention their professor mentioned, “If you have expectations of your partner for Valentine’s day, please express them. They can’t read your mind.”
I felt smart because for years, I do that for all the holidays, with Ming. Something hurt my feelings before, about a holiday, so I learned to ask a few days before a holiday if Ming has any needs or expectations.
He thinks about it and almost always says, “No, I don’t. How about you?”
Then I tell him my needs and expectations, if any. Usually I say, “No, I don’t think so,” and then I think of a possible need or expectation. “Maybe if you wished me a happy valentine’s day, I might like that. But otherwise, no. We do our anniversary instead.”
He accepts that. I can’t have chocolate–I don’t need flowers right now. We do flowers as a usual thing, not a special treat.
Being clear about needs and expectations is an important part of how we have a happy family.