Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not feelin' it

Man, I have a hard time with Christmas.  I used to love it.  LOVE. IT.  When I was a kid the whole month was awesome with school parties, church parties, Christmas carols, all the lights, and a couple weeks of freedom.  Every Christmas Eve as long as I can remember, was spent at our house when our cousins and Granny and Grandpa came over to eat a big dinner, play games, and have the annual talent show.

Christmas morning we'd wake up and call Granny and Grandpa who would come over as quickly as possible, no matter how early it was.  They were with us while we opened our gifts, oohing and ahhing with each and every one of us.  Then that night everyone came back over to play with all the new toys and finish off the left-overs.

Christmas was fun.  It was magical.  It provided some of the happiest times of my childhood.

Adulthood came and it all changed in the blink of an eye.  Mom and dad divorced when I was 19; the four siblings above me left the nest and flew far away to begin their own family traditions.  A couple years later Grandpa died.  I literally didn't know what to do with myself when I was met with Christmas Eves that I weren't right.

Soon my own kids came into being and the Christmas spirit renewed itself within me, through their eyes.  It was ok that Christmas Eve wasn't the huge family party it once was, because now new memories were being made with kids experiencing the magic of their own childhoods.  Watching them learn to love Christmas was worth everything to me.

The separation between me and their dad obviously changed things, but we made Christmas work the best we could.  One year I spent the night on his couch so we could all be together Christmas morning.  The next year he spent the night on mine, and we were able to get presents opened and the house disastered before I had to leave for work.

It wasn't perfect but we made do.  We made it work.

Last year the kids went to Denver to spend a couple weeks with their dad over Christmas.  It was the worst Christmas of my life.  When people asked how my holidays were going, I literally told them it was terrible and I couldn't wait for them to be over.  This year they will be with me, and I imagine it will be a bitter day for their dad.

I have to work Christmas day.  I should have had the day off, but because someone took leave, someone whose kids are already grown and out of the house, I have to work.  I'll be there at 5:00 am.

Fucking hate it.

I told the kids that they will come to work with me (as I sit around 90% of the day literally doing nothing as it is).  I don't care if I get fired, I'm not making them stay home and look at the presents under the tree until 2:00 in the afternoon.  So they will call me when they wake up and I'll come get them.

What a way to spend Christmas.

I could do without this holiday.  Were it not for my kids, I would do without it.  I wouldn't bother with a tree; I wouldn't make the month any different than any other month of the year.  It gives me anxiety.  It makes me sad that I can't give my kids what I once had.  I hate that I have to work and ruin their day.

I often wonder what they will say as adults, what memories and feelings will stick within their hearts.  Will they go on to love it as I did in spite of the bullshit they've had to go through?  Will they be eager to start whatever traditions they can find to distance themselves from their childhood experiences?

As I sit here looking at the lights on the tree on this dark snowy morning, I want nothing more than for my kids to be happy.  I hope they are happy with their gifts.  I hope they have at least an ok Christmas.  The only thing that would make it a great one is if their dad were able to make it, which he won't, only because he can't.

Please hurry Santa.  Please get here and do your thing so we can get on with normal again until you come around  again next year.


Dean LC Guy said...

Hi Kim!

I think its natural to get jaundiced about xmas the older you get. If it remains important to us its because it makes our children bright and smiley. But what does an adult need with xmas? I go totally passive during the holiday. I enjoy other peoples trees, lights,singing etc, but I cant be bothered myself. Why, because expectations are just more stress than I need. Family and friends have expectations, workmates have expectations, so I am done with it. I tend to give throughout the year because it makes me feel good. I dont need xmas for that. Hang in there, Kim. I feel your pain. It wil be over soon.


Karie Mcrae said...


I understand where you are coming from. I am married to a man that has three children from a previous marriage. XMAS is always chaotic and stressful; too many family members to see. There was a point that my husbands kids had four sets of grandparents. As the step-parent, I hated all of the chaos and making sure that everyone saw the children. They are all grown now, yet the chaos still continues. There was one year that my husbands ex-wife slept on our couch for XMAS (weird huh).

I feel for you regarding being alone and having to work on Christmas. I am really struggling this week, knowing that my kids are home and I am working. The guilt never stops. On top of that, I agree with Dean..too many expectations, teacher gifts, friend gifts, blah blah blah. What is important is your own kids. I am sure that whatever you bought them, they will love it.

Being divorced is hard; I have been there (but with no kids). If you ever want to talk, email me. I have a step-parent perspective and honest to God do not think I would do this again. It is too hard. No one will ever love your kids the way that you and your former spouse do.

Try to have a Merry Christmas.

The Accidental Somebody said...

Thanks for your input Karie. I've done the stepmom thing before (my ex's son is almost 23 by now though) and I agree -it is so hard! I'm doing my best to not be a Grinch, for the kids' sake and so far I think I'm doing alright. Only a couple more days to go! Hope you have a merry Christmas too!

The Accidental Somebody said...

Thanks Dean, I appreciate your words! I'm like you - I have no need for X-mas and wouldn't do a thing with it if I didn' have kids. I try not to let others' expectations get to me, as my own are drowning me enough.