The super great thing I wanted to give you, and why you’re getting this crap instead

There was this great thing I wanted to give you today.

"Just write something really profound and unique but also relatable. Make it really good," I told myself. "Don't screw it up!"

I mean clearly the holidays can be a tough time. So I wanted today’s post to be especially witty, the kind of thing that would make you think,

“Wow, this blog really gets to the core – right down to the ache and the grief and the loneliness of it all. And yet at the very same time it’s funny and enjoyable and light. How on earth did she do it?”

But I found myself getting frantic as the days of December ticked away. I don’t even actually celebrate Christmas, but here I am with all this crap to do before my husband’s family’s Christmas, plus we're trying to get the car packed to drive to northern Maine immediately afterward in order to just get away from it all. And then at the grocery store there’s the whole thing of whether you're going to give money or you're going to be an asshole and dodge the bell ringing by the entrance, and the general obligation to be cheerful/festive/selfless/etc., through it all.

That's why I wanted to write something that would transport you to the magical place of story-land.

I thought about telling you the time I spent Christmas and New Year's in Kenya. I stayed at a Sikh temple somewhere between Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa. I thought about describing what it was like there – the food we ate, and the pretty patterned dresses the women wore, and the colorful turbans of the Sikh men, and how, to earn our keep, we spent hours working in the kitchen – washing mountains of aluminum pots and pans and rolling out chapati dough.

Yes, that's me. And yes, we made some killer chapatis.

Yes, that's me. And yes, we made some killer chapatis.

Or I thought about telling the story of the first Christmas after Dad died, when we got on an airplane and went to see Bubbie. And how everyone handled us with kid gloves – we’d just had this catastrophe, after all – and how Bubbie taped Dad’s obituary to the refrigerator, next to my grandfather’s.

I thought about describing the coffee cake on that Christmas morning, and the Mexican-enchilada-with-scrambled-eggs-and-hot-sauce that my aunt made.

I wanted you to be able to step out of real life and escape.

So I thought to myself, I’m just going to sit down and write this brilliant post. And when it’s done I’ll celebrate with a glass of eggnog, maybe a splash of rum, and I'll just wait for the Times to call and ask,

“Ms. Kramer, how did you do it? How did you so cogently and effectively just really nail the whole essence of the human experience in this one blog post?”

At which point I’d be wearing a wool cardigan with leather elbow patches and I’d lean back in my desk chair.

“Who knows where inspiration comes from?” I’d say.

But so the truth is, I’m empty-handed. I don't have a beautiful story for you today. I couldn’t do it.

At least I can say this, though: I hope this time of year is as decent or tolerable for you as it can be.

And I'm looking forward to seeing you in the New Year.

And maybe I’ll pour myself a glass of eggnog, anyhow.