So, here it is again. Seems like time is getting shorter, or maybe I am just getting older. I woke up early this morning so that I can deal with my mad morning hair, but my cat thinks it is so she can claim my bed. She didn’t even meow Merry Christmas before she took up a spot on the bed which ensures that I will not be able to make it this morning. I am going to have a small Christmas with my mom, her husband, his daughter and her girlfriend this morning. It is interesting the way Christmas has changed over the years, It used to be my sister, my mom, and my father early in the morning followed by trooping over to my grandparent’s houses. In my 20′s, it was my mom’s, then my father’s, then my uncle’s, and finally, my fiance’s parents. It made for a very long, not easily enjoyed Christmas.
My 30′s saw me single, struggling with a diagnosis of manic-depression, very unhappy, and it would be my mom’s and my uncle’s houses, but nobody really knew what to say to me except my grandma, who simply pointed out that we live as well as we can with what we are given. She didn’t say much about anything, but when she did, you listened. It was her that I called when I had my first car accident at 15, and when my kitten was hit by a car when I was 18. I miss her very much. Much more so this year than last when the reality of her death had not yet really set in. I do not remember Christmas last year. I think my mom and her husband were out of town leaving me at loose ends with my failing marriage to try and make Christmas happen. I was not really in a Christmasy spirit last year.
My 40′s find me single again (small sigh of relief; my marriage was a very unhealthy place for me). I do not wish him any ill-will, and hope he has found a way to celebrate Christmas. Christmas may not be a traditional “family” affair this year, but it seems somehow better. I remember the first time my “step”-sister brought her girlfriend to Christmas or maybe Thanksgiving, and how stressed out her father was to have his fears about her orientation confirmed. I had known for years, and I think he had too, but he struggled with it. It has been really interesting and heartwarming watching him come to terms with it, and make his his peace (without, I might add, becoming one of those parents who cannot handle his child’s life). She is a wonderful, lively, highly intelligent young woman.
My mom has hit another milestone birthday having turned 70 about three weeks ago, and she is coping with the loss of her mother last year. For myself, I am coming to terms with the idea that my father either doesn’t really care how I am, or cannot handle what I have. His solution to most problems has been to throw money at it; he has never been able to handle emotion. I am newly divorced, and have decided that I do not think I will try that again. It is just too difficult to find that rare combination of person who can handle the good times, the not so good times, and the psychotic times. Although, our postman is awfully cute, about my age, and I see no ring :)
So, I think this Christmas will do. It is my first being over the shock of my grandma, the first where I didn’t get all OCD about checking the mail for a card from my father; normally I would check the mail 3-4 times everyday looking for the card I knew wasn’t coming. I just knew this year it wasn’t coming. Not even a card on the annoyingly impersonal University of North Dakota’s presidential stationery. I met my “step”-sister’s newish girlfriend yesterday. She seemed very nice. So, as nontraditional as my current family is, at least I know Christmas will be spent with a super blended family that suits me fine.
There is no judgment in this family. My “step” father has OCD, is high anxiety, and is a recovering alcoholic of thirty plus years, my mom has been stellar in her understanding of my strange moods and whims, my “step” sister is adopted and gay, so I think there is room for a manic-depressive. It is a motley crew, but there is love and understanding, and that, in my opinion, is what makes a family,
I hope that everyone finds a way to celebrate this day whether they are alone, married, with a partner, divorced, disenfranchised, estranged, or any other condition people find themselves in…….