Well here it is, December 24th morning. I have been awake since five, I can't sleep. Bummer, since I do not have to get up for anything but sometimes it just happens. I knew the holidays would be hard this year. I know that lots of other people feel dread around the holidays for various reasons. Compared to people who have lost a loved one I feel like I do not have much to complain about but nonetheless it is indeed hard. First Christmas divorced. Lots of people have been through it. Lots of people have an ache at the holidays. This is normal...I am sure of it. And everyone says time fixes these aches and I believe them. It is not regret because I know I did the right thing it is just an ache.
I have had 46 Christmas's in my life. Isn't that weird to say out loud and comprehend? Each one so different from the last. Nineteen of them were with my parents and siblings in either California or Washington depending on where we lived at the time. I do not remember ever feeling like I was going to die if I did not get a certain item. No, "need a BB gun" or going to die story in my life :) I do not remember ever making a list. Which is so not like who I think I am. Some Christmases had snow, some did not. Most of them were with just our immediate family. When we lived in California I remember driving to my dad's families gatherings to exchange gifts and race around with cousins. I remember the excited, not able to sleep, feeling on Christmas Eve. I remember conning my dad into letting us open a present on Christmas eve.....that was my job. One year I even outdid myself and nagged and bothered until I got the siblings and I the privilege of opening two. I still have a perfect image in my mind of my moms fudge all neatly wrapped in tinfoil stacked in the fridge. I remember being frustrated that her holiday baking was going to other people....yeah, selfish much? :) I am a little disturbed that I do not have any memories of going to get a Christmas tree but I know we had one every year.
When I was twenty years old that was my first Christmas married. That started the 25 years of Christmas with my own family. I am not a huge tradition kind of girl. I have a secret suppressed longing to be the tradition kind of girl but for some reason I am not one. No fond memories of leaving food for reindeer for the Baird children. As I sit here on the eve of the weirdest Christmas I have faced yet I wonder what my kids will remember about Christmas as they grow up. And if they will forgive me for making the holidays challenging and different for everyone this year :) Although maybe because I did not have many traditions they are all doing fine this year :)
This year I am back home with my parents for Christmas. My Christmas decorations are sitting in boxes in my storage unit. My mom had final say on the Christmas Tree we cut down...not me. No more annual ornament exchange at my house. I only have two of my seven kids with me. Life has moved on. Two kids are married and are starting their own traditions. One is on a mission in California and two are in Massachusetts. I sent boxes to everyone. It was a, "support the United States Postal Service Christmas" for me. Rick at the post office...he is my friend for life. We saw each other way too much these past six weeks. I think he fought the urge to give me a free stamp a few times....I could see the pity in his eyes as I swiped that debit card. And I could quote the "is there anything liquid, perishable, fragile or potentially hazardous" question with him.
So I had a momentary wallow about my situation but I am over it. Everything morphs whether you help it morph or not. We all do the best we can. Here is to 46 more Christmases....whew, that will make me old :) And may all my Christmases be different :)