Well, it's December and you know what that means... time for my annual "I'm a grinch, I hate the holidays" blog post. Aren't you excited?
Thanksgiving was really good this year. I only had brief moments of wanting to kill myself. Much better than the usual 28 hours. You know, because the 4 hours leading up to the impending doom of turkey day are also plain awful. I don't know. Just roll with it.
Here is my problem. I grew up hating holidays. When I say grew up, I mean like age 12 and up. Could have been sooner, but when you're 8 all you care about is presents and candy, so it probably wasn't that bad yet. Year after year was just torture. Listening to my parents complain and argue. Visiting people I hadn't seen since the last time we ate ham together and they made judgmental comments that weren't meant to offend but always did. Driving through snow and cold and sitting in a corner for hours because I never felt like I belonged with these people. I hate the pressure of the holidays. Buying gifts for people you barely know. Being forced to open gifts in front of everyone and pretending to like their presents to you, but you actually don't. Okay, not always, but don't act like its never happened to you. When I got married it got so much better. I was not forced to spend the holidays as grumpy as my family always was. I was not forced to drive anywhere. I was not forced to do anything. Yet, here I sit, still as grumpy as ever. It was ingrained in me. It is a hard thing to change the way you've been for 28 years.
I know I am 29, I don't count the first year. Seriously, how grumpy can a baby be?
It is also a hard time for me to be happy. Everyone surrounded by loved ones, going on and on about family. I have a great family, but the supposed-to-be happiness only serves as a reminder of what I don't have. Poor me. I know.
Now that I have kids and a family of my own, I know I have to stop this craziness. I have a chance for all new traditions and memories and experiences. Of course, I exaggerate a little when I talk about being a grinch. It isn't like I walk around sulking the entire month of December, but inside me the feeling are still there. I don't enjoy the holidays the way you're supposed to. I just go through the motions. I am happy when my kids are happy. I have found new ways to make them enjoy the holidays and that is a lot of fun. I am slowly, slowly getting there.
When my parents left, and dad later died, it left a hole. A hole that is often filled with hatred at certain times. Times that are supposed to be about family are always slightly ruined by my hole. I have filled that hole with many feelings, lots of prozac, and enough food to feed a small village, but there it stays. I suppose it always will. I mean, what kind of person gets over their mom just leaving them? I guess it is somewhat normal. I have been told that I have a family and I should be grateful for that, and not dwell on the past. Well, kind-hearted person who has never been abandoned, it isn't that easy. Some days I just want to have a mom. I want to be close to someone and call them when I have good news or call them when I am sad and need a friend. Hang out with them and go to lunch, or whatever else moms and daughters do. Some days I want a real relationship with people who share my blood and not some half-assed 'we-get-along-but-none-of-us-know-how-to-communicate,' because what the hell is communication?
I have been blessed by so many people in my life. My in-laws who would do anything in the world for us. Friends at church that I know would do the same. My "mom" Angie, who loves me unconditionally, and even lets me call her and cry when I need a friend. My friend Jessica who is like a sister to me. I don't know what I would do without her. My dearest Tricia. An unlikely friendship, yet the best I think I have ever had. A text at 3am always gets a response, because neither of us ever sleep. She always knows how to fix me in every way, because she's just that good. Or maybe because she's a lot like me. My husband and my kids. Love like I could never have imagined. What a cliche thing to say, but seriously. When you grow up feeling like a burden, you don't get to experience what unconditional love feels like. They have shown me the power of love in ways that I never thought were possible. These kids... wow. They wear me out every single day, but I make sure to always hold them tight and say I love you. I don't ever want them to wonder if I do. I know I have amazing people in my life. I am trying to get better at acknowledging them and that they are real and do love me for me. I am trying to fill my hole with new, happy memories and experiences. I am thankful for the people who are, mostly unknowingly, helping me to do that. And with that, maybe I will be a little less grinchy this year. We'll see.