The holidays can bring on a lot of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I was driving back home after the holidays and I was listening to Yoga Girl’s podcast (what else is new) and she was talking about how for so much of her life she felt this need or desire to make a big deal out of her birthday. When she finally traced it back through life she said she made the connection to a traumatic life event that happened to her as a child on her birthday.
As I was driving down the road by myself I began to reflect. I had a few emotional moments over the holidays, I just feel heavy. I feel like I’m pulled a million ways all at once and that I’m never able to keep everyone happy. I think this is maybe part of life when your parents/families are separated and everyone wants to see you/spend the holidays with you. I am so grateful for my family and my parents– don’t get me wrong. But I think a part of me still clings to the memories of Christmas when I was a child. The memories of what that type of Christmas felt like. When my parents were still together, when both my mom and dads families would come over on Christmas Eve (before or after church), we would all get together, there would be tons of food, seafood chowder, chips. Crackers and cheese, cookies, drinks. The kids would play games and build little crafts, I’d get to open a gift, and then we’d all go to bed. Christmas Day we would wake up at like 5:00am and open gifts, then have a big breakfast and my grandfather and I would cook together. Then we would go visit the rest of our families and eat meals together and talk about what Santa had brought.
To me, that is Christmas, the idea of having all of my loved ones together under one roof is what Christmas feels like to me still. As adult children, I find it difficult because on one hand I completely see myself as an adult, and on the other hand I have these expectations of my parents as parents and I feel like sometimes I’m like “hey!! I’m still your kid”.
I think I hold onto this idea of a ‘happy family’. I dunno.. It’s like when I go to see my family I don’t really feel like it’s home anymore. I know ,that sounds more sad than it is. But really, I go visit my family and it’s like all of my time is divided up. I drive to moms, then dads, then to see my in-laws, then grandparents. It’s like I don’t have a home. Neither my moms house or my dads house feels like ‘home’ really anymore because it’s just a pit stop on my way to the other stops. I mean sure I leave my clothes there and sleep there but like I’m really not spending much time being there because I’m too busy driving around seeing everyone.
I dunno. I think that my entire life all I’ve wanted is to feel at home. To feel like i have some sort of normal, stable family. I had a great childhood, but I will be honest and say I’ve spent a lot of my life as a child and youth in situations based on the adults in my life. Based on the choices the adults in my life had made, based on the complex relationships of the adults in my life. I’ve done a lot of reflecting and healing work on this and I can appreciate that the adults in my life were doing the best that they knew how, we all are.
But, I think some part of me still clings to this idea of family and home and I feel this strong desire to have my own little family, with my own little traditions and these ideas of how I want our Christmases to look. I think it comes from the loss of those traditions and moments that come with separation and grief.
Like, i still hold onto those memories of childhood and what Christmas felt like then and compare it to life now. It was so easy going for me as a kid at Christmas, and now on one hand I spend most of my time trying to squeeze everything in rather than just being. And on the other hand, i am so grateful to have family and friends who love me and want to spend time with me.
I feel relieved in thinking about this and reflecting on it. I have been feeling so heavy the past few days and listening to this podcast really allowed me to shed some light on things and to say “hey, you know what. You’ve been feeling this way for a reason”. Which is true. I have been– it hasn’t grown overnight, it’s been there for years and this is the year I acknowledge this shadow. It’s time to shed some light, make a bit of space, to look at things with a more mindful approach.
Do you relate to this? Reflect on it. Leave me a comment and let me know, maybe this is a completely foreign concept to you. Sit with it and see.