IVORY TOWER

I need one. An ivory tower, that is. I'll need an elevator if I plan to leave, since I don't do massive flights of stairs that well. Then again, if I'm up there long enough and grow my hair down to the ground then maybe a very smart prince will climb up and then ... hmmm, I don't remember how Rapunzel ever got down. Maybe I'll just stay up there.Not with the prince, though. He can come up and visit every now and then, just so I get some aerobic exercise. But the rest of the time I can write.This way I wouldn't have to worry about not letting my children down this Christmas. Hell, I don't have any money because I give it all to them (and the IRS). If I keep helping out with electric bills and rent and food and cable tv and cell phones then I don't have the money to make their eyes sparkle on Christmas morning. And why the hell am I worried about making their eyes sparkle when they're 27 and 24?I can't find anything for my husband either, again, from lack of money. There are all sorts of expensive things I could get him, treats like a new computer or a fancy tool or a trip to Hawaii. At this point he's got socks from Costco and a knife, and I want to cry.As for me, I can't think of a thing I want, which is pretty ridiculous since I love to shop. I think part of it is I'm focused on everyone else right now. Everything I want to buy is for someone else. I have more clothes than I need, more fabric, more tchotchkes (yeah, I know that's not how you spell it). My kitchen doesn't have room for any more inspirational tools. I don't need socks or gloves or cds or movies.If I had an ivory tower I wouldn't have to worry about food, about shopping, about the mess the house is in. I wouldn't need to make space for the Christmas tree amidst all the clutter. I wouldn't need to deal with my husband's holiday blues as well as my own. I could sit in my comfy chair with my laptop and write and write and write. Maybe do a little sewing just for variety. And I'd need the cat who sleeps on my stomach half the night, the fabulous Phantom.I was really into Christmas this year, after a couple of years of being grinchy. Part of it is having a four year old grandson. He's become mine in increments -- he's the son of my son's fiancee, and while Tim's been part of Alex's life since Alex was 6 months old I've only been allowed grandma privileges recently. We adore each other, which is great, and children make Christmas much brighter.But reality is sinking in. I had a rough childhood (yeah, I know, you've heard it time and time again) and I always thought of Christmas as a kind of redemption for all the unhappy days (even though Christmas had its rages and drunkenness etc). I held onto it anyway, decorating myself and everything I could catch with Christmas-y stuff.Now I guess I've just got to let go. Accept that I will disappoint everyone (except my grandson, who's never disappointed in anyone, the darling). Accept that the house will be a disaster, that I'll rush rush rush and yet somehow never get anything done. Accept that my brother and sister are gone, my niece wants a gift certificate, and the only other member of my family is my 97 year old mother and I have some lingering issues from the afore-mentioned childhood. And right now I hate my in-laws. That will pass, I'm sure, but for now, I don't even want to hear their names.I wish I could go away for Christmas (with the family). So that someone else was responsible for the dinner and the clean house and the tree. For some reason the Ivory Tower seems about as likely as getting away, and at least with the ivory tower I could write.And now I feel like I've failed the blogosphere. I should be cheery and bouncy and sing Christmas carols. I should talk about Christmas paper towels and Bela Fleck's ridiculously wonderful holiday cd. Instead I'm whining. More guilt.Then again, isn't that the American holiday tradition? Guilt? Guess I've got it right this year. And even an ivory tower wouldn't help that.But at least I'd get to write.