Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How Holidays Have Changed For Me

Childhood: This is when Christmas meant the most to me. Before the age of 9, my great grandmother, Katherine, was always there. My middle name is for her. I see pictures of me sitting on her lap, and I know I was truly happy then. My poor grandmother, I always tried to squirm away from her, but would willingly snuggle in my great grandmother's lap.

My cousins were always there, and this was like a built in play group, of which I belonged. Normally, Kaya and I hung out and ran along the house running our hands along the newly washed tile walls. Or sneaking to the stockings to see what we could get away with seeing in there.

Also, the great aunts, uncles, third and second cousins, and friends of my grandparents were always so much fun. I also remember spending New Year's Eve with my grandparents, and we would play bingo with them their friends and siblings until the wee hours. I was always made to feel special there, which was so different than my home life.

Young Adulthood: My parents were newly divorced. There was tension as far as where I would spend Christmas or Thanksgiving. I would fly, which I hated, and later drive 8 hours to see her, where she was mostly interested in.....her. Which was fine actually, but we or I were never allowed to relax and be ourselves, like you can be with people who truly love YOU. It was like being on stage and expected to put on a master performance. The gifts had to be wrapped just right, there had to be the right amount of perfection in the gifts, et.

Christmas with my family became dodging bullets for the latest story my S Donor or Monster relayed about me. Having fifteen minutes of conversation with my father, and then getting presents that the monster obviously picked out for me. Always a sweater or purse in a conservative style. Or perhaps a hat. I was always appreciative, but I have recently realized that I have hung onto these things that are not my style, and are now unwelcome reminders of them. Plus, I hate "Christmas Santa" sweaters. I mean, how many times a year can you wear those?

I would be incredibly grumpy before going there, and my husband always pointed this out to me. I hated it so much, except for seeing my cousins.

Around my mid 30s to recently: At some point, the celebration moved to the monster's house. It always felt like a stage production there, especially if you could see behind the scenes. She wanted to be "the great good woman" instead of the monster she was. The thing is while she put on the "show" she resented every moment of it. However it needed to look perfect, and like we were all one happy family. I played along with this for a very long time. I still enjoyed seeing my cousins, but got increasingly grumpier.

I longed for the days where this was at my grandmother's house. She, by the way, was not allowed to the final Christmas with us, as she might get upset going back to the rest home. Then she was gone. The monster would have never put such a stipulation on her father.

After Estrangement: It's been two years estranged from the S Donor. Last year, I was not at all in the mood for the holidays. Not because of missing going to the family gathering, but I was exhausted after being busy in my business, and still exploring how I felt about the players and the estrangement. I was busy making peace with how I felt. Also my mother in law and my dog Netpune had both died around Christmas. So a whole bunch of negative feelings around the holiday prevailed, although I know it's not the holiday's fault. My Jewish husband decorated for Christmas, and held with the things we normally do on OUR Christmas (ie cinnamon buns for breakfast, and Chinese food for dinner on Christmas Eve and leftovers on Christmas).

This year, I am a bit more into it. I am planning a holiday party for local businesses. I put up the decorations this year. I am feeling it again a bit more, and thankful for my marriage and life as always.

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