No, don’t get me wrong, I like the reason for the season and all that – the birth of Christ. And yes, I was happy a few days ago. But I’m starting to slink down further the closer it gets to Christmas.
Generally I don’t like Christmas. For me, Christmas isn’t a time of joy, but a time of pain and sadness and overwhelming shopping “obligations” for a growing extended family (there’s 12 little kids between me, my siblings and my husband’s sister and one on the way) and school parties.
And it’s not that I don’t enjoy some Christmases, it’s that I hate the memories of Christmases that were full of family strife. Someone was always getting angry and yelling before Christmas Day was done. Occasionally my mother or step-father walked out of our home to get away from the other.
I remember one year my own husband couldn’t stand the intense “discussion” (no, really it was not a fight) between my mother, my half-brother and I, and when I didn’t listen to my husband that it was time to go, he left on foot. I thought he just walked around the block. I waited for him to come back. After about a 1/2 hour without his return, I left to go home and hope I could track him down on the way. I was 9 months pregnant with my oldest daughter and was frantic I’d find him dead somewhere. He’d walked about 2 miles in a heavy snowfall before I found him. That was a horribly stressful Christmas Eve for me.
One year, I flipped at the pressure about the fact my in-laws didn’t get to see enough of my children on Christmas Day because my mother had expectations of us at her house. I ended up yelling at everyone there and taking my car to my mother’s and crying the whole way over, leaving my husband and my children at my in-law’s house. It was all too much to bear.
These things weigh on my mind and I always wonder if this Christmas is going to go wrong like some did before.
It’s also been 28 Christmases since I have seen my real father and my step-mother. I don’t even know if I got to see them at Christmas time before then. I really have no recollection. They have never seen my daughter’s faces except in pictures and video.
There’s a lot of losses I’m reminded of at Christmas. Loss of joy, loss of love, loss of the people I’ve loved who aren’t present in my life that I really want to celebrate with. I have always wanted to take Christmas off from being obliged to spend Christmas with the extended family. There have been times I’ve made excuses not to go. I carry so much sorrow in my heart that it wasn’t until today that I realized how much this season is difficult for me and it seems to get worse every year.
My husband doesn’t understand much the need to withdraw. He and the girls even decorated the Christmas tree this year because I get so sad around this time of year. I sometimes have to force myself go through the motions, but underneath it all, I feel great sorrow.
I went to church today, something I haven’t done in a LONG time, hoping that some Christmas spirit would rub off on me. They put on a Christmas play, only it wasn’t as uplifting as I’d hoped it would be. It was a story about loss, about disconnection (from God and each other). And it wasn’t long before tears streamed down my face. I had to squeeze my husband’s hand because I do not like crying in public even though I can’t help it. I wanted to escape to the bathroom, but there were too many people on either side of me. I was trapped. It wasn’t supposed to be like that. Even the resolution of the play didn’t help. I was already too far gone. And I’m painfully aware that I never see anyone else moved to tears during church services. I am moved to tears in church more frequently than I care to admit.
Christmas is a time of too much for me. Too much sadness, too much chaos, too much pain for me.
I don’t want to be here right now. I want to take the month of and go abroad – maybe to France (it’s been on my mind lately). Yeah, like I have the lifestyle and money to go abroad. NOT.
I just wish I could skip the month of December all together.