I’ll Be Home For Christmas..

December 7, 2010 at 9:58 am 3 comments

Christmas holds so many beautiful memories for me – decorating the house and tree, all of the Christmas mornings with my kids, and my Christmas memories growing up.

When I was younger, I remember all the warm memories and the excitement we had for the holidays.  Some of my fondest memories are of helping my mother bake at Christmas.  She would crank the radio, or put on The Carpenters, her favourite Christmas record, and then pour herself a little vodka and orange, and start singing and dancing in the kitchen while we baked.  It’s funny, because my mother was not a drinker.  Sure, she used to enjoy a drink with my aunt and uncle when they were playing cards, but this is the only time my mother ever had a drink outside of that. It also somehow made her baking extraordinary. I also remember the game my brother and I would play.  Every time we would drive somewhere with my parents,  we would count all of the houses with Christmas lights while we were in the back seat of the car, and we would make it a game to see which side of the streets had more lights.  Each time we went out in the car, we would race to sit on the side we knew would have the winning number!

When I was 25, I married a man who was a Manager of a large Department store here in Canada.  Even being exposed to all of that commericialism never put a damper on my spirit.  I know it did for my ex husband, but not for me.  I would have my tree up and the house decorated by the end of November EVERY year. The kids and I would make Christmas crafts and ornaments, write Santa letters and I would do loads of baking so the kids could leave him a treat on Christmas Eve.  We also never lacked for visiting and visitors. When I was decorating and baking, in honour of my mom who passed away before I got married, I would pour myself a vodka and orange juice and put on the Carpenters CD.

Christmas was never, ever about the presents, it was always about the atmosphere and the love.  When my kids and I reminisce about Christmas’ past, it’s never about what gift they got, but it’s always about what activity we did, who we visited, who visited us, and the fun we had.

If I think about it, I would have to say that when this all started to change for me, was in 2006.  It was the first Christmas after my father passed away.  That was also the year that my second love relationship ended very badly, and the year that my brother stopped talking to me (mainly because of my fathers death).  Just typing this can still make the tears come.  I really tried to make Christmas great that year, my kids were 13 and 17, and even though they didn’t believe in Santa, they believed in the spirit of Santa; but it was just different somehow.

The past few years, it has been harder and harder to get into the spirit of the holiday.  Christmas is a time for families, and it should go without saying that I LOVE spending the holidays with my kids, but knowing that I don’t have any extended family for us to celebrate with, can be sad.  My home was always filled with people coming and going, eating, celebrating and lots of laughter. My house is just too quiet now.  I think that I tried to bring some of that feeling into my house by having an Open House for friends and neighbours. While it was lovely having a reason to make loads of food, and it was great having everyone there and seeing that they were having a good time, it just didn’t feel the same.  I know, poor me, huh?  Loads of people don’t have anything at this at this time of year, and I understand that.  Each Christmas no matter how meager our funds have been, we have always tried to do something for families in need.

I have tried over the course of 4 years to try to rebuild my relationship with my brother. He’s my only sibling, and apart from my kids, the only family I have left. I still don’t know exactly what it was that caused the split, perhaps it was just years of things building up, and my fathers death was the thing that set him off. My brother screens his phone calls, so I’ve only ever been able to leave him voice messages when I’ve tried to reach out to him.  I have invited him to all of the kids milestones – my daughter’s (his goddaughter) high school graduation, birthdays, etc.  I’ve left him phone messages on his birthday, and have left him messages inviting him to spend Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas with us.  This summer, my daughter worked in the city he lives in, and actually lived with her aunt and cousin.  Near the end of the summer, my brother sent me a facebook message saying how he had enjoyed having my daughter there, and that he wanted to put the past behind us, and move forward, because family was important.  I saw this as a great sign and was very happy.  However, my brother didn’t follow through with getting together after we made plans to do so, choosing instead to re-live the past, and refusing to get together.  His ex-wife, said that he just needed time, and that I should still keep trying.  I give lots of credit to Norma, because she knows how important it is for her daughter and my kids to still see each other, and it’s because of her that we still have that connection with my niece.

This past weekend saw me finally start to try to get into the holiday spirit, and part of that was reaching out to my brother and inviting him to spend Christmas with us.

It appears though, that my brother has decided that the past 4 years of no contact with me has been less stressful for him, and that he has no desire to spend Christmas with us. Was I surpised that he wasn’t coming?  No, but I can’t say that it lessened the hurt at all.

I’m sitting here typing this, and the tears are streaming down my face, wishing it could be different for my brother and I, but I’ve decided that I’m not going to let him ruin this holiday for me or my children.  Even though it’s not going to be like the Christmas’s we’ve had in the past, it doesn’t mean it can’t still be a great one.

Maybe it’s time to make new traditions for us to remember, instead of lamenting that we can’t do the old traditions.

So, I beg your forgiveness for such a long post, but I needed to get this out, so I can let it go.

Now, I’m going to get the Christmas boxes from the basement, and start decorating.  I have loads to look forward to.  My son’s 17th birthday is on the 9th, and my daughter flies home from university on the 14th.  We will be decorating the tree when she gets home and I plan on doing some Christmas baking with her and my son.  I’ll be putting on the Carpenters Christmas album, and perhaps I’ll pour myself a glass of vodka and orange as well.

This song is for you mom and dad. We miss you, but I know that wherever you are, you’ll be celebrating with us.

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My Daily Affirmation Post It Note Tuesday – How Much Time Is Left??

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. CarolW  |  December 7, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    My tears were mingling with yours. I felt so sad for you. I think as we get older and experience some of life’s misfortunes we lose the ‘Christmas spirit’ a little.Change the traditions. Get those boxes out and enjoy your children. Mine is not sharing his day with us…hence we are skulking off to France but I know he’ll have a lovely day and my heart will be with him while my mouth no doubt will be round a nice glass of red wine. Hope you have a blessed and Happy Christmas.
    Carol from http://www.facing50withhumour.blogspot.com
    ps nice to see you on the hop 🙂

    Reply
    • 2. Patricia Eales  |  December 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm

      Happy Christmas to you too Carol, enjoy your holiday in France (lucky girl!) I had hoped that once I had gotten past the boatload of misfortunes I’ve had over the past few years, that I would find some of my Christmas spirit once again. Hopefully this year, with adding new traditions and the love of my children, the spirit will return.

      Reply
  • 3. Kimber Leszczuk  |  December 7, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Touching post. Sorry about your brother. Maybe after more time passes he will change his mind.

    You have made every effort though. It hurts but don’t let it spoil your time with your kids! GOOD FOR YOU for trying with him. Enjoy your kids and have a great holiday anyways. Keep moving forward. 🙂

    Reply

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