“Sons of Bitches, Bumpasses!” – The Old Man, A Christmas Story
As the Holiday’s fast approach and everyone is running around lost in the consumerism of what Christmas has become along with the hustle and bustle of trying to get last minute decorating, baking, wrapping and so on finalized. It has occurred to me that Christmas, has lost its meaning in more ways than one. The fervor of shopping begins on literally the day after Thanksgiving and we are off and running, lining up outside malls and stores to fight among others for the most of electronics, clothes, jewelry in order to pay the least. And in all of this, where is Christ? Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ and the meaning behind his birth has been pushed back (way back) behind buying the latest and greatest of anything. I am certainly not a religious person, I am a spiritual one which means I don’t necessarily believe that God only hears those that congregate but he hears all of those that have a spiritual connection with a higher power.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not here to preach to anyone, but I have come to realize that Christmas is different when you’re an adult. These are my beliefs and I am far from imposing them on those that don’t agree with them. But I know that Christmas was once a holy day in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the one who died for our sins, and because of that, his birthday should not be about ourselves but the spirit of being civil to others no matter how much we disagree with them. So now my rant as an adult will go on……stay with me here.
First of all YOU are the one now that is spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on the very latest gadgets or the most up to date games etc. Then you have to make it spectacular by wrapping it and presenting it to those who the gift will go to. Also we as adults are in charge of the decorating, baking, cooking and entertaining of family and friends and frankly…..I’m tired. As a child all we had to do was wake up on Christmas morning and undo all that was under the tree and if we got what we asked for we were happy. If not we would sulk a bit until well until we didn’t sulk.
I’m exhausted emotionally, mentally and financially so this Christmas is going to be less than spectacular and thank God my boys understand. But for me Christmas has always been a struggle because I have a mother that suffers from depression, is narcissistic and I’m pretty sure she has Munchausen’s as well. Her narcissistic tendencies have always ruined the Holiday’s, any holiday for me. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years have always been about her, what she wanted, what she didn’t get, how she felt and how no one in this world understood her. She brought in some Christmases with crying, ranting and raving followed by alcohol induced tantrums followed by prozac and sleeping for hours, which to be honest was a nice reprieve. One year my younger brother and I were awoken by shouting and banging around in the living room. We walked into find my mother pointing a .22 caliber rifle at my father’s forehead. In spite of her children’s begging and pleading she didn’t flinch. That is the day I learned to detest Christmas and I was only eleven years old. Of course, now she is seventy-five years old and fraile but her demanding tendencies are still there. Only now after years of counseling I have learned not to give into her tantrums and demands. I am forced to endure holidays with her and my father, and to be honest I seem like a bad daughter, I don’t want to spend what should be happy times with my sons, with my parents. In any case, as a child one only had to be around adults until we were told to go out and play or go to sleep.
As an adult we are the gatekeepers of everything, our children (no matter how old) our elderly parents (no matter how mean or disagreeable) and of our homes (no matter how chaotic). I want to spend one Christmas, just one without having to constantly tell my mother to pipe down because she comments on everyone’s gift after we open them. Last year we opened gifts and she kept say’s “I want one like that” or “why didn’t you get me that?” or “I want to go on a cruise with you” because my friend mentioned that we should take a holiday cruise one year instead of staying home, we were facetiming. And she added “I can get someone to take care of your dad” and then I stopped her and said “Your not being invited mom, this isn’t about you. We’re talking about me and my friend. Why would I want to take a cruise with the person I’m trying to get away from?” Granted I shouldn’t have said it that way but by this point in the day I was tired of her comments and attitude.
She didn’t talk to me for three weeks, those were three of the most blissful weeks I can remember. In any case, when you’re a child Christmas is magical and full of whimsey and surprise. You can’t wait for that day to come and to be able to show everyone what you got as a gift. Your starry eyed and naïve, your innocent nature hasn’t yet been corrupt by the “adultness” of responsibilities, financial hardships, relationship failures and jaded by family issues. Yes, indeed Christmases are very different when you’re an adult. I’m sure that there are many out there who have great holidays with their families, children, neighbors and church families and I’m not trying to take away from that very well-deserved happiness. I’m speaking strictly for myself.
I’m sure if my childhood hadn’t been mired by the dysfunctional family life I had my view of the entire Holiday season would be different. But because I am very aware of where I came from and I have tried very hard to break the cycle when it came to my boys. I tried to make it as normal and drama free as possible. Of course that only lasts until my mother arrives and then the crazy train to hell stops by to pick us all up for a quick trip to crazy town. But they know what she’s like and we, for the most part try to dismiss her behavior because my counselor tells me not to acknowledge her tantrums. So yes, Christmas is different when you’re an adult but let me leave you with a very adult thought, in the spirit of the Holidays, act like a kid if for only a moment, jump into the pile of wrapping paper, or the snow (if your lucky enough to have snow), eat as many cookies as you want, watch all the holiday specials and don’t change the channel. Stay in your pajamas all damned day long, answer the door in them, walk outside and play in your yard in them (but please don’t go to the store in them that’s just unacceptable). Hug everyone and I do mean everyone that walks in your door, show everyone what you got for Christmas with childish enthusiasm! Sleep under the tree with (or without if your single or your kids are too grown up) those you love. Cuddle with your fur babies and put weird sweaters on them to keep them warm and go and talk to the neighbor you hate. Yes I do have a neighbor I don’t get along with, she has a life size Elf on a Shelf in her front window, and her four grown kids don’t have any children! I mean what the fuck!?!?! Hence the quote from a Christmas Story, lol.
I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.