The last couple of years I have written December articles that are a little less hostile than the rest of the other 11 months. Never one to break tradition, here I go again.
This weekend I attended a Celebration of Life — my husband’s mother passed away in November. I met Janet only a handful of times, but when Chad commented that she has probably already “ironed everyone’s clothes in heaven,” I understood exactly what he meant.
Not long after being finding out that her cancer had reached stage four, her daughter announced that she was pregnant. Lindsey and her now-husband planned a wedding in two weeks — pulled together by her co-workers and her friends from church — to make sure that Janet could be there. Maci was born a few months later.
How all of our histories are intertwined, however, is a little unusual. Lindsey met her husband in Enumclaw and it turned out that I already knew him from college. The same year that we met, both Lindsey and her little sister, Savannah, were on a college track team with my cousin/best friend, Chelsi.
It is strange and a little mind-bending when your brand-new sister-in-law brings a guy from a college to your Thanksgiving dinner and stranger still when your best friend knows your sisters-in-law from Enumclaw, who’ve never lived in Pacific County, six years before you did.
As I have said many times, I do not believe in fate. However, when I mistakenly thought I was a hippy (age 19), I had some actual hippy friends tell me about their belief in “synchronicity,” or “meaningful coincidences.”
My friend Jake described it as, “the universe telling you that you are exactly where you should be at that moment.” Although it is as silly and illogical and something that I would normally make fun of (see: astrology), the idea continues to crop up:
1. I once told my cousin that she should use Eminem lyrics to teach her students about assonance and consonance. She said she had done it that day in her 8th grade English class.
2. My husband’s daughter mentioned needing chains for her tires. In a Hail Mary, I asked my mom what happened to my old ones from college and she said she had been talking about them a week ago... Eight years since the last time I used them.
3. I looked up a word I’d never heard recently and then heard it multiple times through different mediums in the following days.
I think it happens to everyone though. Haven’t you ever been thinking of a random movie from your childhood and then somehow land on it while channel surfing? Or have you ever thought of a friend you haven’t seen in years and suddenly receive a Facebook message from them?
Maybe it’s silly. Actually, I know it is. I usually try to explain things away based on statistics, trends, anecdotes, etc. etc. etc., but sometimes it just doesn’t work.
It’s this inability to latch on to magical thinking that makes me dislike Christmas. I never feel exuberant to the extent that Christmas is built up to be. As an adult spending holidays with adults, it sometimes feels so forced.
But maybe it doesn’t have to be about obligation or family pressure. Maybe it can be a reason to follow through on the urge to, “let’s get together sometime!” when I see you at the grocery store. Maybe it’s an excuse to show an almost-close friend that you appreciate them more than they thought. Maybe it doesn’t have to be what Hallmark or Disney tells us.
Maybe it’s a time that we can all look around and realize that, in that moment, we are exactly where we are supposed to be.
North Pacific County resident Allie Bair is associate director of the Pacific County Economic Development Council.