…that everyone is always talking about, FINALLY hit me this year.
Don’t get me wrong. Christmastime while I was growing up was magical and everything you’d want it to be for a kid. But every year, it also included the dreaded parental swap from Mom’s to Dad’s, or Dad’s to Mom’s. It happened at noon every December 25th. And it sucked. As I got older, I started to dread Christmas just because of that.
Once I turned 18 and moved out on my own, just like any other teenager who thought they knew it all and ended up finding out they knew nothing, I struggled to eat every day, let alone decorate the little room I was renting in someone else’s house, or buy gifts for friends. That just wasn’t going to happen. I would receive gifts from my family in California, but I never could afford to send anything back, which made me feel bad and not look forward to Christmas.
I figured that all would change when I got married and had RJ. I mean, what Mom doesn’t get excited for all the holidays with a small child, especially Christmas? Me. That’s who. I was in a miserable relationship with someone I hated and regretted marrying, so thinking about celebrating love and family made me angry. I did all the expected things like decorating and baking and buying gifts and going to parties, but behind every smile was an angry young woman, just secretly wishing this would all end.
Once my marriage was over and I didn’t have the daily responsibility of a small child, I thought that would make the holiday time more fun. It didn’t. And simply because I didn’t get to celebrate the holiday with RJ. I would spend it with people that didn’t even celebrate Christmas, because at that time, I was dating a man that was Jewish.
Two Christmases ago, I was out of a job, so money was very tight. Paying our rent and bills became a priority, so gifts the kids received were from other people.
Last Christmas my sister was going through some very personal issues, so things just weren’t great around our family. I was depressed, and brought that depression with me everywhere I went. I tried to smile through the pain, but that just made it worse. I could feel the unhappiness in every smile line on my face, and it showed. It oozed off of me like an ugly black fog, and it lingured through the entire holiday season. I reluctantly decorated the house, but that was only because of the kids. If they hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have even brought the boxes out of the garage.
This year, things just worked out perfectly. RJ was able to fly out here for three weeks, and Lil’ SS is here for two. My mom was able to come down and spend several days with us as well, so that added extra happiness to my year. We had a little extra money saved, so everyone received great gifts.
I was, overall, just a much happier person this holiday season. I was surrounded by people that absolutely love me no matter what kind of mood I’m in, I have a job that I love, and my health isn’t failing. The first half of 2017 wasn’t wonderful, but the year sure ended on a happy note.
I’m grateful. I’m blessed. And I’m happy.
Here’s to a wonderful and amazing 2018.