Sunday, December 28, 2003

Ghosts of Christmas Past

I wonder, do I get like this every holiday season?  I had a really difficult Christmas.  I miss my family back east - even though I haven't seen them in ten years.  I miss a few family members from here.  I haven't seen them in a few months.

I've created my own traditions and I spend the holidays with my chosen family.  It's what I want to do.  It's what I like to do.  So what am I missing?  I'm sure it's a conditioned response to feel the longing.

Growing up, Christmas week was a time of celebration.  Family would fly and drive in from all over.  There was always something fun happening.  We'd spend the days ice skating on the lake down the street or sledding in the hills out back.  Then at night we'd come in and play.  There were at least two guitars, one microphone and a bunch of various percussion items.  My dad and I would lead some kind of impromptu concert while cousins and other relatives would join in, taking turns at the microphone.

Everyone had their holiday drink-of-choice.  At some point, there was a board game tournament.  [My dad's side of the family always consisted of a long round of poker and/or rummy.]  Boggle and Monopoly would inevitably kick-off the annual hate-fest between my Aunt Helen [whose whiskey sour turned her into one whiskey sour] and my dad [who was always drunk].  It got to the point where my cousins and I would sneak upstairs to play our own game.  And one year we hid the Monopoly board!

What do I miss about all that?  No school. Presents under the tree. Fun in the house. The lights. The food. The community.  The idea of the "perfect family."  The fact that most of my troublesome childhood worries would seemingly disappear for a couple of weeks was enough reason for me to want to celebrate Christmas every day.

But alas, the bitter cold of winter would take over.  Cabin fever would consume my parents and we'd be back to our "normal family" once again.  I was left longing for the next Christmas celebration.

Perhaps I think if Christmas isn't being celebrated with heightened joy, then the rest of my year is going to feel that much worse.  I know that's not the truth.  I'm just trying to make sense of my universe.


chefgracegeorge said...

Since my kids were born, I've strived to teach them what Christmas is really about, which has really helped me keep it all in perspective. Like the song says~ "Keep Christmas with you all through the year". Don't make it about a particular day, or a particular tradition~ make it about celebrating the joy, the miracle, and the wonder of life. Love you!

slowmotionlife said...

It's often difficult to not let our childhood's consume us. Even the most perfect family is flawed in some way. The perfect family is a myth. It doesn't exist. Ask anyone. No one could claim to come from one. I hope at some point, you're able to find what you're looking for. And I pray you don't have to search long. It's the search that will drive you mad. You don't have to live in the bitter cold of winter, you know? Like every other choice you've ever made, you can choose to live elsewhere..

sepintx said...

It's Christmas. It can happy and sad along with all points in-between. There's a little of that in everyone this time of year :-)

andreakingme said...

2 of 2

And Oogie is a chain smoker. I can't stand cigarette smoke. I don't know how I ever tolerated growing up with it. When you're a non-smoker around cigarette smoke (and you have allergies), it's the pits. And it's starting to make me resent her. But she gets so defensive if I bring it up.

Whine, whine, whine!

andreakingme said...

1 of 2

You know what, Trish? I long for Christmases when I was a kid. It's just not the same anymore. And I'd write about it in my Journal, but Oogie and Ken read it and God knows who else. So I can't open up like I sometimes wish I could.

That said, I didn't have the best of Christmases this year, either. Ken hates Christmas (the gift giving) and he makes it very difficult for me to want to celebrate it. I've got to get over that, though. My problem, not his.

musenla said...

Sometimes, Christmas memories can be bittersweet. But no matter if they're good or bad, those experiences had a part in molding you into who you are today. Lessons learned and truths realized are blessings in disguise after all.