My recent interactions with my ex’s wife in regards to M has gotten me to think about how Christmas was for me growing up. I remember it like it was yesterday and the only word to describe it was chaos.
From the minute the holidays started it was like an overload of visiting and eating and parties. And each and every one of them felt completely overwhelming to me. Be good, be quiet, mind your manners–it was forced into our very beings. There wasn’t time to enjoy the vacation because we would either be going somewhere or someone would be coming to us. And I hated it all. Especially the times spent with my father’s family–Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and visits in between. It felt like I was a lamb being led to slaughter.
The parents would be laughing and drinking and I’d be sitting there pretending life was fine when all along my insides were screaming. Eventually as my cousins all moved away and I got older these events stopped but in many ways Christmas became another reminder of how awful my childhood really was.
As soon as I had my own children I told myself that I would refuse to do those things to them. Our Christmas has always been quiet and calm and if you don’t want to get out of your pajamas for the entire day I really don’t care. There aren’t big meals or hours spent not being able to enjoy the presents under the tree. There isn’t visiting or having in tons of visitors and it’s easy. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Christmas is still overwhelming for me, but in different ways. I know I can’t change the past and all the things that happened. I know I can’t change the situation with M. But I can make sure C is protected as much as possible from the chaos in this world.
So as we start the Christmas break, I am trying my best to keep things calm and quiet. Not only for C, but for me as well.