I was studying to be a nurse as 2007 came to a close in the middle of my senior year of college — and I had a lot of reasons to be stressed.
For one thing, I was 21 and four months pregnant with a baby I most definitely had not planned for. For another thing, I was getting married the following month and hadn’t accomplished much for the wedding other than puking in the David’s Bridal parking lot. (Classy, I know.)
Almost every morning, I had to get up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 AM in order to make it to my clinical rotation, where I would follow a new nurse around every day (nurses love getting stuck with students, especially the puking variety) and tasked with things like cleaning up the most explosive diarrhea known to mankind. It was brutal, miserable work, compounded by the fact that I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be a nurse in the first place. But because of the whole pregnancy thing, I needed a job sooner rather than later.
On one particularly dreary and snowy morning before Thanksgiving, I was running late. I was about a mile from the apartment I rented in a questionable part of town when the trusty Buick LeSabre I had purchased from my dad suddenly lurched to the side.
There I was, feeling lower than low, knocked up and unmarried, on my way to a job I wasn’t even sure I wanted, feeling like I had failed in every aspect of life and now stuck in the snow at 5 o’clock in the morning. Long story short, the man whose driveway I had inadvertently blocked in ended up helping me change out my flat. I wanted to weep with gratitude (and probably hormones). Soon, I hit the road again.
I drove away as the sun was just beginning to rise, feeling like there was some hope in the world after all. I turned my radio on only to hear — could it be? Yes, yes, it was: the first Christmas song of the season. What the heck is this? It’s too early for Christmas music! I immediately thought to myself. This is silly, what’s next? Rushing to put up my tree the second the trick-or-treaters stop ringing the doorbell? I distinctively remember that moment, because I was almost a little embarrassed to be “one of those people,” like Mariah Carey lounging in velvet in front of a Christmas tree in October.
But as the tinkling of that persistent holiday music filled my car, it did something to my cold, exhausted, nauseated soul: It lifted it in ways that it hadn’t been lifted in a long, long time. For the first time since I saw that life-changing plus sign on my pregnancy test, the fear and worry that seemed to rule my life was replaced with a glimmer of joy.
So you know what I did? I blasted those darn carols like no one has ever blasted carols in a rusty LeSabre before.
The sky exploded into a vibrant display of pink tones in front of me as I headed to the hospital and for just a few blissful minutes, my heart soared with happiness, thanks to the cheerful sounds of a simple Christmas song.
In that moment, I officially joined the “other side” and since then, will gladly defend our collective right as humans in need of happiness to listen to holiday music whenever we want to freaking listen to holiday music. What does it matter if it’s before Thanksgiving or just too early for someone’s liking? If it brings a spark of joy into an otherwise freezing, miserable morning, then that that’s all that matters.
Christmas music got me through one of the hardest times in my life and I will never forget the fleeting happiness it gave me on that cold, snowy morning.
So go ahead and think what you will, Scrooges of the world. But if a small, simple thing like a Christmas song can bring a little happiness into someone’s life, who are we to judge?
I say blast those carols all you want, as early as you want. Because I know I will be.