They’re singing Deck the Halls…

…but it’s not like Christmas at all.

This Christmas was hard.

Not in the way it was hard the year we lost Uncle Michael days before.  Not the way it was hard to watch my Nana silently and pensively fold up his stocking and set it aside, tears of realization that he will never use it again in her eyes.  Even though it had been years since he had joined us for our holiday tradition, it was hard knowing he never would.

This Christmas was a different type of hard.

Half of my family couldn’t come this year.  In the days prior, there was yelling and crying over the phone.  There were arguments and angry texts.

This Christmas was hard because I realized things were changing.  We’re getting older and growing apart. Our parents are stubborn and becoming less forgiving of each other.  They’re no longer hiding their anger and frustration with their siblings from us, because we’re no longer children.

I wish they would. I’m sure these arguments have been going on my entire life. I’m sure my mother and my uncle’s sibling bickering has been going on my entire life.  Now, it’s becoming more prevalent.  More out in the open.  She’ll express her frustration to me, and I can’t help but feel a little defensive.

At first I was just as angry. It sucked and I hated it. But I’m not going to write off my family just because they didn’t go about telling us that they wouldn’t be able to come on Christmas the right way. If that were the case, I also wouldn’t be speaking to my mother for not telling me as soon as she found out they weren’t coming.  I found out in a far less gentle manner from my brother, who had known for days.

I once got into a fight with a friend, who was angry with me because the night before I hadn’t stayed up to talk to her online when she apparently wanted me to.   Mind you, she had told me she was upset and I had asked her if she wanted to talk about it and she said no.  I asked if she was sure because if she didn’t I was going to bed, and she said she was sure.  Since this was all online, I had no way of reading her face or emotions to know if I needed to delve deeper. I asked twice, gave her ample opportunity, and finally just went to bed. The next night this fight happened, stemming from something else but she used the night before as an argument for why I was a bad friend.  I asked her, “So, does this one night where I went to bed instead of staying up to talk to you, even though I didn’t know you wanted to talk, cancel out all the other nights I stayed up for hours on the phone or online with you when you needed me?”  She said simply, “Yes.”

That’s when I realized she wasn’t really a friend at all.  After I got over the initial shock and frustration of finding out that my cousins weren’t coming for Christmas, I thought of all the other Christmases we’ve had.  All the millions of other fun memories. I didn’t want to let this one year cause such a rift that it would keep us from ever being together on Christmas again.  I couldn’t imagine never being all together as we had been our entire lives.  My cousins are my best friends, and I won’t let one day ruin that.

Anyway, just like it did in Whoville, Christmas came anyway.  The rest of my family came and we had a lovely time.  We still laughed and joked.  The days leading up to it had been harder than the day itself.  In the end, it was nice to have my little cousin kind of all to myself, because she’s growing up to be such an interesting and fascinating person.   It was nice for my cousin, brother and I to interact more with the “adults”.  Overall, even though it wasn’t what we had all planned for, it ended up being fun anyway. Of course we noticed the absence, especially since we were also supposed to have two little tykes running around, but we managed to make it through and have a great day.

This December has been a rough one.  Life keeps throwing things at me, trying to knock me over and keep me down.  It’s like the universe was reviewing this past year and thought, “Oh crap, for the most part, this has been kind of an awesome year for her…we’ve only thrown her minor trials, barely anything worth crying about! December has to make up for it, quick, bring out the big guns and proceed with rapid fire!”

A few years ago, this string of unfortunate events would have broken me.  Now, like bones that break and become stronger after healing,   I have the ability to keep my head up through it all. I know these times will pass if I can just power through.  It’s okay to be upset, it’s okay to cry, but it’s not okay to give up.  And I won’t.

I never really do anything spectacular for New Year’s Eve, and I probably won’t this year, but I do love it.  It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean, start over.  Start things you had been putting off, let go of things you have been holding onto.  For me, it goes twofold because my birthday is early enough in January that I can start my new year at a new age, it’s truly like turning a page.

Side note: I still don’t have a laptop, so my posts will not return to daily posting just yet.

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~ by Valerie Anne on 12/29/2010.

2 Responses to “They’re singing Deck the Halls…”

  1. OK, so I don’t mean to creep, but somehow I do it anyway.

    I just clicked on your link from your comment on Rophy. And then I read this. I want to give you a big cuddly hug, and I also want to tell you that I feel it. Every bit. I was actually grateful that my whole family didn’t come for Christmas this year, but this stuff happens to me too often. Plus, it’s true. When no one tells you anything, and when they do it’s bad news, that can really kill you when you think about it. I’m glad you managed to find the good time in your situation.

    I really wish I had a better way to reach out to people when things just work out suckily. And sorry for creeping. I really don’t do that. Honest.

    • Don’t feel like a creep! I’m glad you read this!

      And thank you so much for your kind words. I’m sorry you understand, but glad you do at the same time. If that makes sense.

      Kind words from strangers will always be appreciated, I would never consider it creeping.

      Thank you.

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