There was no Black Friday on Castaway Cay. Which is fine by me. I shop a bit on Amazon, but that's it. No cyber-Monday. No heading out into the woods to cut our own tree. We got back and it was suddenly, "oh crap, it's almost Christmas!"
We bought a tree at Home Depot, got the house semi-decorated. AB got the lights up, but I didn't get the villages up. I last minute got presents bought. Last minute for me was that they were still arriving in Amazon boxes on the 23rd on the doorstep. A few of my family members got their gifts late (like as in today).
Christmas hit and I was kind of in a funk. It had come and gone too fast. And once again, like normal, it was just our family. The five of us. Despite invitations all around.
Skadi asked me this year, "why don't we have grandmas and grandpas that visit like other people?" Well we don't. Then someone made a reference to being lucky to have a mom/grandma willing to be around and don't you wish you had one there too? It was from an adult and took me WAY aback. I kind of smiled when I was seething a bit inside (a sign of my state of mind, I don't usually seethe at references to someone commenting about my not having my mom around or making impolite comparisons). I replied politely that "no, I didn't have my mom there" (through my gritted teeth).
So heading into Christmas I was a little irksome that I had to talk to my daughter about exactly why our family doesn't come to us at holidays, "they just have other things they want to do".
And don't get me wrong - I am in no way implying by mixing these conversations that my mom would have been here if she had been alive. This is just where the post is coming from. Bear with me. Anyways, THAT was always a bone of contention with me. Even when my kids were little, we travelled to her because that was what she wanted and expected. Even though it was expensive and hauling SANTA presents sucked. We still did it.
Hello rabbit hole, I finally found you. Here we go!
Sorry, I found this the other day and it kind of frames my mental attitude this Christmas and it took a bit to get here and I ramble. But if you are here you can choose to read on or leave.
Then the other shoe dropped one year with regard to always going to Colorado. The year I got this from my mom for Christmas. This was my Christmas gift.
My kids got toys, my husband got gifts, my sister and her family all got new comforters and other presents. I got this home burned cd. Because my mom "forgot about me". No really, she apologized after everyone else opened their presents and I watched them all, "I am really sorry, I am not sure what happened, I just forgot all about you."
I always wondered if it was a power play - we battled off and on my entire life, though less so later after I left Colorado. But there were still subtle moves that would leave me steamed. I am sure it went both ways.
I found this cd the other day, picked it up and nearly launched it through the window. After I received it and she talked about how she had forgotten about me, we left and loaded the kids into the car and drove to AB's families celebration for dinner as was planned. I held it together until we were about 2 blocks away and then the tears deluged. AB and I agreed we wouldn't come to Colorado for Christmas ever again. We were done. Christmas from then on would be at our house and everyone could come to us. No one actually ever has. But whatever.
We did end up making one last trek to Colorado a few years later for Christmas (though it ended up being after Christmas since *I* missed the flight) after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We knew at that point that her time was limited and that she would most likely not see another summer, let alone another Christmas. So we bucked up and trekked once more that way. And 4.5 months later she passed away.
People always miss their relatives past at the holiday. I do, but I feel as if it is different for me because my recent holiday memories are stained. I reflect on Christmases past and my teeth start grating an eensy bit. Mostly focused on that second to last Christmas spent with my mom in Colorado, but the power struggles date back prior to that as well. Then I have a little teensy bit of fear of being forgotten again by those I love. About not mattering to people enough that they even think about me. About not mattering enough that they would choose to spend their holiday with MY children. And here is where we spiral.
And then I get a little pissy and Hans has to put up with me. A bit more so this year since I was already feeling like the holiday came and went way too fast and I wasn't prepared.
I have this mental list of rules, of things I learned and keep in mind with my kids that I keep adding to.
1. I will not perpetuate the crap-ass mother-first daughter relationships that dominate in my family.
2. I will not tell my daughter (until she is much older and asks) about my relationship with my mom. I heard since I was a small child about my mom's and my grandmother's struggles. It sets up expectations.
3. Christmas trees must be over 3 feet tall. A big family cannot gather around a 3' tree.
4. The tree NEVER comes down on December 26th (unless it is a major fire hazard).
5. My kids will always receive gifts from me for as long as I live. I have four lines on my list: AB, Leif, Skadi and Silas. Everyone else comes after.
6. If they want to come to me for Christmas then great. But when they have kids, we will go there no questions asked. And we will relish seeing our grandkids in their own homes.
This year I found that damned Norah Jones cd again and that stupid thing put me in a bad place.
This year? I threw it away. I wrote about it. And I am done. My Christmas rules list is longer and I am better.