For as long as I can remember Christmas has been my favorite time of year (despite the fact that I do not like the cold). As you can well imagine this year is proving to be very difficult for me. I am doing my best to hang on to all the things that I love about this holiday, but do not feel like I am being very successful. My tree is up and decorated. Our stockings are hanging. I have sent out Christmas cards (including to people whose friendship has evaporated over the past year). Have already had a gift exchange with one of my friends already. I have been talking to my son about Santa and we are going to be seeing Santa later this coming week, but I am not really enjoying it like I usually do. I know that is normal and to be expected, but that knowledge does not make this struggle any easier. I am trying to forge ahead and am even trying to think of traditions that my son and I can start to develop (since it is only his 3rd Christmas I could easily get away with starting new traditions), but all I can think about are the traditions that his father and I built up over the last 16 years and how Christmas will never be the same. For the rest of my life Christmas will always be fractured and shadowed by sadness.
I am not able to let go of the memories and I have no control over when they force themselves upon me (again very normal, but they do make things VERY difficult). I don’t know what to do. For so many years (13 of the past 16 years to be precise) Christmas has been all about my husband. Trying to make it exciting and enjoyable for him was part of what made it exciting and enjoyable for me. (His Christmases weren’t very nice growing up.) I am trying to shift gear to focusing on making Christmas exciting and enjoyable for my son, but it is easier said than done. My soon-to-be-ex and I were supposed to be doing that together and now all I can think about is how for the rest of my life I will never have a full and uninterrupted Christmas with my son which means that every year I will be spending about half of each Christmas by myself desperately wishing that my son was at home with me where he belonged.
This year my parents are coming to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (and maybe another day or two) with us, which should be helpful, but I also fear that it will things more difficult by strengthening the reminder of just how different things are going to be from now on. I like it when my parents visit and usually feel like the visit isn’t long enough, especially when my dad is here with my mom (mom is the one who visits the most, it is more difficult for my father to visit because he is still working full-time). Since I insist that Christmas Day be a super lazy day I look forward to just being able to hang out with my parents instead of trying to accomplish a million and one things.
I have been surprised to realize this weekend that most of the things on my Christmas prep list are actually done (especially the things that I can’t help being on the list like stressing over what to do about traditions and what Christmas is going to be like from now on), but there is still more to do and time is very quickly running out. The closer we get to the holiday the more stressed out about it I become and one of my biggest fears is that I will fail to make Christmas something magical for my son.
List of Christmas things to do:
- Put up and decorate tree – Check
- Put up stockings – Check
- Send Christmas cards – Check
- Debate and stress over traditions – Check
- Find a time to go and see Santa – Check
- Go see Santa
- Buy presents for my son
- Figure out what to have for Christmas dinner (previously traditional meal or something different?)
- Worry about failing to make Christmas something special for my son – Check
- Feel like I have forgotten multiple things for the prep list – Check
I’m in as good a place as I can be for this coming Christmas (without some impossible Christmas wishes/miracles coming true that is). Now all I have to do is find a way to avoid being haunted by my Ghosts of Christmas Past. — sigh