While growing up, the holidays signified a time of getting together with family, sharing food and meals and singing and laughter, meals with my grandmothers, the smell of a freshly baking ham when we entered the kitchen, seeing unwrapped gifts beneath the Christmas trees. I miss those traditions immensely but am so glad and so blessed to have grown up surrounded by such holidays, families, traditions, and such.
As a grown up, I tried desperately to keep those traditions alive, though grandparents have passed and family has not kept in quite so close touch. As a wife, I did my best to provide a nice decorated tree when I could afford it, supply a luscious meal for friends and family, and to bring my husband into the traditions that so represented the magic of Christmas…he wasn’t buying. As a mother, I provided the ridiculous Christmas mornings, stockings full of goodies, watching the traditional holiday specials and movies. I tried…mostly tried, didn’t I? I failed….
I am now at a point where I dread the holidays and the feeling of failure I feel each year. We don’t make a lot of money, the music I love and grew up singing has not been a part of my holidays; I could care less about having a tree; I’ve failed when I don’t have enough gifts; I’ve let my family down. I tried to explain this last night to my husband, who started his response with “You know why I hate Christmas….” which of course, did not help me at all.
I wrote about arriving at a beach and rushing to the shore simply for the thrill of burning my feet on the sand and plunging into the ice cold waters of the Atlantic…I used to feel that way about the holidays. For so long I feel like I’ve disappointed my kids, not being able to give them the traditional holidays I grew up with. We host the meal each year but can never provide gifts…they’re teenagers as are my nieces, so gifts are everything. I feel inept, totally useless, like a failure and disappointment. The holidays, to me, really bring out my shortcomings as a person and a mother…am I alone? Why do I feel this way year after year? And isn’t it amazing that my children love me despite my shortcomings?