Christmas Eve. I stand staring through tears in the refrigerated section at the grocery store, unsuccessfully willing the lump in my throat to go away. Weeks earlier, I started the hunt for frozen dough (Rhodes rolls to be exact) for our traditional Christmas roll. I looked in every Expat grocery store around to no avail. Time got away from me and now, at the last minute, decided to go with plan B. Same recipe only with Pillsbury biscuits (in the can). I know I’d seen those around. So, here I stand in the third store having a meltdown on Christmas Eve staring at twenty or so Pillsbury cans of…pizza dough. What??? I seriously considered if this may work. No, it won’t be the same. Nothing is the same. Yes, I was having my own little pity party right here in the middle of the grocery store.
Why was this bothering me so much? It’s just food, right? No. It was the culmination of all the traditions that we were giving up by being here in Singapore. No Target Pj’s to open on Christmas Eve. No Christmas china to use for our meals. Only one Christmas tree to decorate. No chimney for the stockings. It’s all the little things that we do for our children and as a family that have me in a this state of sadness.
I leave the store feeling defeated and pulled myself together to walk home. Thankfully, no one was home except for Bill who greeted me with, “Well, I have some bad news.” Instantly, I started sobbing. I croaked out, “I can’t take anymore bad news.” Of course, I’m sure he is thinking the worst. A death in the family, something dire has happened, etc. As he holds me in a bear hug, he asks what’s wrong. I can only imaging now how stupid I must have sounded as I unattractively sniffled out, “I couldn’t find the rolls.”
As he squeezes me tight, he reminds me that we have all we need for Christmas. Our family is together, healthy, and happy. Leave it to him to calmly put it in perspective for me. I love this man. I know he loves me, especially after all the snot, tears, and mascara I just left all over his shirt.
So, I’ve learned that traditions are important, but change is ok. There is always a plan C and new traditions to be made. The “expat breakdown” I’d read so much about is a real thing. It happened and now it’s over…I hope.
PS – If you are wondering what Bill’s bad news was…comment on the blog and I’ll tell you. 😉
Merry Christmas and Happy 2015!