Born into lower middle class I spent most of childhood poor and my adult life in poverty. As a child we had presents under the tree as my parents did a pretty good job of making us feel like Santa was around and taking care of business. Life was simpler then, fewer needs.
Once I was a Mom Christmas became a stress and a worry. It certainly became less of an anticipation of what twas to come and turned into an Oh my God Christmas again, already? When the kids were young it wasn’t such a huge issue. Babies as a rule do not care about presents but 4-year-old’s do. By the time my oldest was a 4-year-old there were 2 more behind him. Money was so tight that we made the children’s presents for a few years.
Later on buying presents became possible because every year at Christmas my grandma began sending me 150.00 dollars as her gift for the family. It was meant to be divided so we each could receive a present from her. But that money had to be used for food as well as presents for the kids. We did the best we could. Wise little ones my kids were as they never complained of any lack. But for me the guilt of not being able to do for my kids the way I wanted was a thorn in my side.
Fast forward many many years and I am married to a wealthy man and boy did that change Christmas. I bought presents for my kids en mass as they say, it was frankly ridiculous and awesome. I was finally able to buy them the Ipod the year it came out not three years later or the knock off cheaper version. I bought them new clothes, designer bags, I bought myself new clothes and jewelry I got to own jewelry like a real girl. We were living large.
Fast forward a few short years and I am going through terrible loss; I lost my mother to cancer, my husband to another woman, my business to the same woman, my spiritual community, countless friends, not awesome. Loneliness set in, a cloud moved over me and I could no longer stomach the idea of Christmas. I wouldn’t decorate I bought last-minute gifts, I couldn’t stand it. Christmas had become nothing more than a representation of the betrayal I felt in my life. There was no joy in Christmas, Bah the f*&king humbug!
The worse part of all of it was that my children have had to watch me suffer through these losses. That’s a hard sentence to stomach much less write. I spent so much of their childhood keeping from them the horror of poverty, drugs and divorce constantly building fake pretty walls of lies. All of those walls fell during this horrible time of loss and my children watched in horror as my world came down around me and my faith with it. I didn’t care about anything!
Fast forward to this year and the circle becomes complete. I have awoken from the fog and cloud I believe by the grace of God has finally lifted. The sun has burst forth and the darkness of that time fades as the inevitable memory loss happens. My strength returned and the faith that I thought I had lost had simply faded as I had allowed guilt and fear to cover my eyes.
My heart eases as I forgive myself and my children’s father and I stand together as a united front for our children for the first time in nearly 20 years, victors no longer victims of our circumstances. In celebration I decorated my house this year and put up a tree. My tree! Then I got my courage up and invited some people over.We had a great time and the energy of young children was filling every corner of my house and I saw my true friends and family.
The sun is shining as I write this the new beginning of a new chapter. I love the sun. And it snowed last night so my California son could have a white Christmas. My daughter is getting married in June, my oldest son and his wife have a successful marriage and a beautiful son. My life overflows with blessings. The loss I feel still a hole but filled now with the new and emerging light of a brand new future. I see the sun and the warmth of the holidays time spent with my kids and friends really the only present I will ever need again. Now that’s a tough present to wrap but worth the effort.
I am finally ok with that holiday cheer thing. So cheers to you and yours and may the light of the sun fill your heart with joy!