Remember when you were little and the anticipation of events would suck up all your attention and you thought you’d burst before the happening?

Me, this year, Christmas, dying.

I hope our family makes it to our shared time together. It’s ironic, since we’re more together than we have been, ever, but we’re not any of us handling these circumstances well and I feel like if we can make it to when Bubba gets here and there are latkes and I hand those girls a present like my mother did me … Gawd I miss my mother… If we can just wake up to pancakes and stockings, we can, for one whole day, maybe find our normal. It would only last a day. A day that is always some version of the same day and is unarguably delightful.

People with better mental health probably think, “That’s nice, she’s looking forward to Christmas.” It’s more akin to, “She is terrified all the time.” My anxiety is multiplied. In the last week I have damn near convinced myself that I will slip on the ice, bust my head open and bleed out, or maybe fall in the bath. Or maybe accidentally impale myself on the scissors I keep seeing Office Administrator walking around with or waving. Maybe I’ll be abducted while putting groceries in my trunk. Or I’ll die in a fiery auto crash caused by some asshole in a big truck.

Or her inexperience

Oh, yeah, and there’s a fucking plague and some people say you can get it twice. I’m irrational, yes, but it’s not like these things don’t happen. I don’t want to be panic-stricken, but that happens, too.

And let’s be clear, I’m not afraid of dying. Not really. Not the actual dying bit. Though it has occurred to me, I’ll be right disappointed at being unable to write about the experience afterward.

I’m afraid I will die and miss the joy. I want the joy. I need the joy. I am joy deprived.

I may write about joy. An expository essay.

My boss picked me up a little special somethin last week. She said she knew it was for me, cause door. That was joy.

There are plenty of big blessings and small pleasures in my life, for which I am grateful. Unfortunately, many of them teeter on bittersweet due to the current state of the world.

For years our children have gathered on the big bed at night for attention and affection. Because of all this *gestures at everything* their talk has seldom been high school drama, but skewed toward loss, which is abundant. They’re the bearers of bad news, and they bear it. Honestly, it’s too much. My heart breaks for them, and for their inner circle of friends – parents losing parents, losing jobs, who’s sick, who’s grieving… Their sense of freedom and fun is replaced by burden, which provides me with deep, heavy worry. We still laugh a lot, but we don’t laugh as often, and when we do, the aftertaste of bitter reality lingers.

cletus does not care what the bedtime chats are about

I have no model on how to parent my daughters through a pandemic. Even my mother’s mother was born after the last one.

I miss my mother now like I’ve never missed her. Weepy, lump-in-my-throat miss her. I haven’t completely sorted this out. For a while I thought it was because the moon was in Cancer and I was all up in my feels, but now I think it may be how so much of the holidays are our mothers — It came upon me while I decorated the tree — many of my ornaments are hers, from ‘home’. It comes upon me while I curl the ribbon, like her. There are poinsettias and cheeseballs and holiday cards — all of this is her. In an instant, I become acutely aware that these feelings are as intense as those I feel after losing my father, except my mother is alive and a thousand miles away. I didn’t get to see her this year. I don’t know when I’ll see her. I don’t know that I will see her. And by then, what will be changed? Terrifying.


It’s hard to bring love and light and hope and humor to a blog when I feel this way, hm? I told you, I’m not myself.

The atmosphere is thick with ick. It’s so icky right now that random, previously insignificant things provide relief or hope. Like, I saw a BABY the other day and I thought holy crap, I don’t know when I last saw a baby! Life does go on! I’m not even a baby person, okay?

We finally hosted Bubba and Simon and Kiki and her husband for smoked meat and cocktails. It was wonderful. A great time was had by all, laughter ruled, there were no leftovers, and best of all, no one fell ill in the weeks after.

Three of us had birthdays. They did not entirely suck, but they were. not. party-ish, which is sad when one is 17.

I blind-baked some cookies for a woman with dementia, her own recipe. Her family hoped it would provide a happy memory. My wheelhouse. The woman did indeed find a happy memory. She loved the cookies and thought she had baked them herself and doesn’t that make you feel all gooey inside?

Also, when Moo bakes cookies, she puts mine in baggies to take to work.

I began my cookie baking festivities, complete with the Christmas music.

I think the lemon curd is my favorite.

I do not like newfangled Christmas music. I like old school, mostly before my time Christmas music. If it didn’t first release on vinyl with winter art, Bonus! a pop up scene inside the album! I likely shout a trail of obscenities at it as I skip it. Just sayin.

Oh, I cannot wait. Just one more day of work and then four days of Yuletide Joy!

Bubba’s smokin a brisket, y’all!

I don’t know when I’ll write again. Between the blocks and the photo upload and the number of times I had to close the page and go in again, I could scream. What’s with the delays?

In the meantime, Happy Holidays and Many Twinkly Lights to you!

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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81 Responses to Tidings

  1. Benson says:

    What a wonderful and melancholy post. It spoke to me on so many levels. My firstborn and his fiance were quarantined with her two adult kids and one of my 7 year old grandsons. Yes Adam is ready to marry #3. Skelton men evidently consider marriage is like making pancakes. The first one is a throw away. I have not seen my family since last Christmas. I don’t like that. I don’t have a single decoration up. I am glad you do. The extent of my baking anymore is maybe a pie or two and dinner is steak or rib roast with bakers. I hope your family getting together for Christmas makes things more normal and may your Christmas be Merry and Bright.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Skelton men must be hopeless romantics! So sorry you missed out on your brood 😦
      I am hopeful this year’s holiday season will be one of greater togetherness for all of us and ya gotta at least put up the little tree so Pinky can destroy it! x


  2. Ellen Hawley says:

    Take care. Try to get everyone through this in one piece. Sending my best.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rivergirl says:

    I feel you. From anxiety to melancholy to missing a parent. Holidays are not joyous for me this year and I’ve come to accept that. Don’t like it, but there’s always next year… right? I’ll hang in there if you will.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ‘Thick with ick’ describes it perfectly. T-shirt, hat, bumper stickers, greeting cards, yep, that’s it 2020. Thank you for summing it up in your special way. 🙂 You are missed, you know, and I still haven’t messed with that ridiculous ‘block’ because as long as they still allow the option of ‘classic’ I keep using it. 🙂 Have a good, restful four days with lots of good eats and hopefully some hearty chuckles. We can all use a chuckle these days. Call Mom, stay well, and what a nice deed you did baking those special cookies. 👏🏻🎄🎅🏻

    Liked by 2 people

  5. So glad to see you post again. This years has defined suck for centuries to come. I’m an introvert, so some of it works for me, but sometimes you want to go to a concert or ballgame. Even a favorite beer garden to sample something new and people watch. Our holiday is minimal, too, but we will get to see all the kids. Nobody beyond that, but I’ll take it. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Like you, I don’t mind the isolation too much and am quite happy to have more time to myself.
      To your point — Yesterday when I was driving home IN THE DAMN DARK at 5:50, I passed the coffee place, which is now only a “pre-order pick-up” spot for us these last 9 months, and I thought about how nice it will be for The Mister and I to meet for a cuppa after work sometime. Those small things, they’re important to humans, to humans in love, to humans who are married.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan Antion says:

    There’s so much Joey in this post. I wish I could fix 2020 for Joey. I wish I could fix it for everyone. We all have to play the hand all the various ‘theys’ dealt us this year. I would say the deck was stacked, with fewer hearts, but then I read this:

    “She loved the cookies and thought she had baked them herself and doesn’t that make you feel all gooey inside?”

    Merry Christmas Joey. I hope everyone in your family finds a way to enjoy the season. It’s good to see you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. markbialczak says:

    Happy Holidays to you and the family, Joey. It’s so joyful to see your words back here. I feel the anxiety and burdens of 2020 that you tell of here, oh, yes, I do. Be safe and be well, my blog world friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How good it is to see you writing about your feels, and share them with the words that I can never find, to sum up some of those same feelings.

    I hope you all have a wonderfully joyous Christmas, and 2021 is better and we both get to see our moms and we all get back to normal and see those we love a lot! Merry Christmas, Joey! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Maggie says:

    Joey, if it is JOY you are seeking, I was filled with the stuff when I saw your post pop up. I started this mess of a year writing about the pandemic, but then I got too sad. It has been a year mixed with various intensities of dreadful, but there are some good things. We just need to hunt for them like easter eggs. 🐣 I wish the best Christmas for you and your family. Everyone is hoping 2021 will return us to some tiny sense of normal. I have missed you and I ❤️ your posts! Merry Christmas, Joey.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. lois says:

    Joey–you so nailed this year….what a mess. I wish I could make this all better for you. I really do. This feels like when I was younger and I’d go to a friend’s house and ask if they could come out to play. Mom says no and closes the door. What do I do now??? Tell Moo I will always celebrate her in my heart. Girl needs a party! Wishing you good things, Joey. All good things for you and your family. Miss you. XO

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ghostmmnc says:

    Isn’t it the truth! Trying to find the fun in spite of the fright of this year.
    A wish for you – May your anxieties be few and your Merries be very. Happy Christmas to you and your family. Love & hugs ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. marianallen says:

    Miss you so much! I didn’t get even ONE Joey visit this year. And I hear you on the constant anxiety. I never go anywhere without my phone in my pocket, because falling down. Not much Christmas here. Too sad. Too sad. Too sad. I’m thinking I should rename my blog Whistling Past The Graveyard, because I try to make my blog kind of happy-ish as a form of … therapy? Is it helping? I think maybe so. Maybe. Anyway, I love your making someone else’s cookies so well she thought she had made them. That’s the best thing I’ve heard all year! HUGS!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Anxious Mom says:

    It has been such a fucky year. I hope you guys have a good Christmas, as different as it will be. And I feel you on the anxiety, as I’m sure you know. The past few months have been anxiety on steroids.

    Btw I need those lemon curd cookies. I’ll trade you some pretzels 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      OOOOH! If I didn’t hate the bloody buggery lines at the post, I’d say we should do that next year, send each other noms!
      All hail anxiety for she is strong with plague.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Joey, I was thrilled to see a post from you, but sorry to read about your anxiety, et al. It’s certainly been a trying year in maybe all ways. We’re blessed that my parents are near us now (the reason we moved to Arizona) but our girls and son-in-law won’t be here for Christmas. We didn’t want to put them at risk from travel. Thankfully, we can Zoom, although it’s not the same.

    The stories of sickness, death, job loss, people on the edge…very difficult!! Someone near us is collecting gifts for a family with four children, job loss, medical bills, etc., etc. Today I got gift cards to contribute. The spirit of Christmas when Christmas is so different at least helps.

    No big words to help, just love and hugs being sent your way and prays that 2021 will indeed be a new year.


    Liked by 1 person

  15. eschudel says:

    It’s definitely been a year all of us want to forget. (thick with ick says it all) And I know it doesn’t help, but you will see your mother again, and be all together this time next year. Wishing you as much joy as you can find ….take care!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Tara says:

    Anxiety suuuuuuuuuuucks. I’m sorry for that. The now times are bittersweet all around and everybody’s thinking about loss a lot more than they should be, you know, on any given day. I’m sorry you can’t see your Mom (who I’m sure you know looks just like Natalie Wood in that photo) and don’t know when you’ll see her. I hope it’s soon. I hope all the fam you are expecting for the holidays can enjoy the day and have it be all the sweet, none of the bitter, at least for a day. Hang in there. This too shall pass. Like a kidney stone. But it will pass.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Bill says:

    I think I’ve learned more about other people and myself during 2020, than I have in the rest of my life. Okay, maybe during the first 18 years I learned a lot, but this was only one year.

    I wish you and yours the best of everything. Miss your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Susanne says:

    Joey, I guessed this year was doing a number on you and this post confirms it. It is awful for so many but like you I also feel for young people who will no doubt carry this experience their whole lives, like the folks who lived through the Great Depression. Hang in there. 2021 has got to be better. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. scr4pl80 says:

    Missing my mom too as she is alone for Christmas because my sister decided it would be a good idea to get in a plane and go to Costa Rica for a week right about now! :(. We have been hit by the virus (hubby with very bad cold symptoms but no hospital or pneumonia thank God). The kids and I are taking tests, 2 negative so far, and we will hopefully be able to be together on New Year’s Eve. It’s a crazy time. Hugs to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Oh my goodness, I’m so glad you were spared the ugliest versions of the plague. I am very sorry your sister … caused you anguish/traveled with germs/didn’t think of others… uh, yeah, that’s not cool. I am suddenly glad I don’t have a sister. Did y’all get to be together at NY?

      Liked by 1 person

  20. JT Twissel says:

    This Christmas is going to be difficult for me as well. My mother died in late August. A friend died in July and another may not make it to Christmas. But hey … lemon curd! Yummy. I always look forward to your posts so my hope is you will able to carry on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thank you Jan. There’s a bit of me who feels guilty for not bringing the smiles, so that makes me feel better.
      I’m sorry you experienced so much loss ❤


  21. meANXIETYme says:

    I get it. I have no salve, no words of repair…just that I’m sending love and light and hope for lots of joy for you to hold you over until the next joy arrives for you. Stay safe, friend. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  22. larva225 says:

    All I can say is I know. It sucks. But your card was my favorite this year. Thank you for that!! Merry Christmas – or the merriest you can have given the situation.❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Now that the vaccines are rolling out, it looks like most of us will escape this plague with our lives…I feel lucky that it only cost me my job. I know it sounds trite to say “hang in there,” but hang in there. I hope for not only peace but, in your case, peace of mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Laura says:

    I hope your four days off gave you the reset you hoped for. So many of us are not ourselves. I’m not and I’m finding it impossible to explain to people in my house when I just completely lose my shit but 45 minutes later seem fine. The emotional roller coaster is real and when I try to put my finger on it I think okay, it’s my mom/covid/no “free” time/raising teens/people sick&dying/anxiety on high alert and too many others to name. I feel you. Know you’re not alone. 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Mama to mama, thank you, I’m with you. It’s a struggle for all of us and I just don’t know how we’re supposed to make these enormous decisions about really important things moment-to-moment. I am glad my babies are not smaller. I feel for all young mothers.
      I was alone a few times in the last nine months, for short periods of time, and Laura, I got scared like a little girl home alone. The house was creaky and the owl hooted and I was sure the dog heard a prowler. Ugh.
      The long weekend of the four-day NY provided was definitely the reset I needed.


  25. I have no idea how I missed this – I thought I got notifications!

    Anyway, I am so sorry you didn’t get to see your mom – I miss mine so much sometimes.

    We don’t do much Christmas here – because they do it for us, decorating everywhere – but this year husband taped the branch they left us to the back of the door. Very festive. We saw the kids by zoom. I haven’t seen my sisters in Mexico in a while – even by zoom – and that worries me.

    But we’re still here – and I hope you made it through the Christmas part mostly intact. They’ve started vaccinating staff downstairs – and I assume the nursing home residents. We’ll get it one of these days, but I worry it will be a lot longer for the kids.

    I hope we don’t have to round up the people who don’t want to get the vaccine, but this is a public health emergency, and we’d like them to be around, too, if for nothing else than to argue with!

    Hang in there. Drop by and chat if you need an outsider. I’m pulling for you.

    Remember: this is going to be something MAJOR your kids lived through, and that will be stories to tell their grankids.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Amy says:

    I hope that you and your family had a lovely Christmas, Joey. It’s been a very strange and exhausting year. I know what you mean about missing your mom. I haven’t seen mine since Sep 2019 and it feel strange just writing that down. She also had some health stuff this year that made it extra hard to not be there. I’m looking forward to the light at the end… I hope you have a relaxing and peaceful New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. puppy1952 says:

    Joey I love this post. It is so filled with mixed emotions. I felt every one with you. May 2021 banish the pandemic and bring in more joy. And may you get to see your mamma soon!
    PS My grandma lived through the Spanish Flu’ pandemic. Her stories of it are etched in my brain – she lost a few classmates 😟

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Ally Bean says:

    We seem to be blogging ships that pass in the night. You decided to post while I was off being all introvert-y and quiet. Welp, no matter. I love to read what is up with you. So glad you’ve been able to socialize a little bit, so sorry you haven’t seen your mother in such a long time. I always like the lemon curd cookies, or anything lemon for that matter. Don’t know that you NEED to know this, but thought I’d share. Happy New Year, joey. I miss seeing you around the blogosphere, but understand why it is so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I think it’s crucial to know you love lemon, and that in the event you take a December drive to check your car and end up here, I should put out the lemon curd cookies 🙂
      I appreciate your understanding during these… well, you know.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. bikerchick57 says:

    Gosh, Joey, I completely missed your Christmas hello. I hope you had a lovely holiday and that Santa was very good to you because you deserve that. We’re in a new year now and I wish you and the family a very blessed 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Do not fear missing a post. Thank you very much for your well wishes 🙂 Santa *achem* gave me three kids at home, all of us happy and healthy enough for a beautiful day ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Luanne says:

    Oh, wow, I hope you are feeling a little better. Maybe Christmas was better than you worried over? I too am filled with anxiety. My last post sounded very hopeful to people because I am keeping doing fun self-care things for myself, but I am so insistent (to myself) about it because of all the anxiety. It’s almost getting to the point that if the anxiety goes away I will feel a loss for it. It’s starting to be part of who I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Prior... says:

    hi joey
    the cookie story was a warm tale
    and hope your month of january is going well
    and hope you get to see your momma (of you did not yet)


  32. I came to look for you, Joey, because I miss you. I realise that I read this post on my phone when you posted it but I can’t comment from there. I wished to say that what all the people with anxieties can say right now is: “Told you so.” There has never been an anxiety that could foresee present conditions. It is so hard hard hard to come up with ideas, eyes for beauty, variety, movement, all of which makes up life. I find it hard hard hard to write positive posts and comments. I read doomy books such as Overshoot from 1980 (I mean… THEY KNEW IT ALL BACK THEN!!) and watch documentaries about money laundering, toxic cosmetics and the New Queen from the Bronx burning down the House (LOOOVE HER!!). I haven’t talked to anybody but amore in person since October. Well, and bestia. I’m glad you have your people. Your mother is gorgeous. All well to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thank you for sayin so.
      Even for you and me, staying positive is a challenge. I know. It’s rough. I miss you, too. You’re good online company — you can always make me smile!
      I see the same doors all the time, I see the same people all the time — mundane doesn’t even cover it.
      Yep, told ya so. And I should say, more than a few times I’ve thought SPECIFICALLY about things you’ve written re politics and the plague.Things people didn’t want to think about, let alone mention, but you told us so. I’m loving you in my absence, I promise. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Woww, great to hear that you’ve thought of me, Joey. I think of you often too, especially last night as I finished The Outsiders, the book. ❤ I'm happy that I've been reading again, and watching series and films. So you see, you're never absent. Much love.

        Liked by 1 person

  33. kirizar says:

    Belated best wishes on the season. I am sorry the anxieties were piling up faster than the snowflakes. Would that we could blow away those pesky irrational/totally rational fears as easily as snow.

    And on a completely unrelated note–I think–am I the only one who looked at that gift ornament and saw Santa’s head nailed to a red door?

    Liked by 1 person

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