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Christmas in April April 22, 2010

Posted by phoenixhopes in Christmas, Holidays, Kids, marriage, Procrastination, thoughts.
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Why is it so freaking difficult for me to box up and put away the Christmas stuff? Here it is the end of April and the stockings are still hung on the bookcase with care, the few ornaments I used last year and other items are still piled on the coffee table and all the boxes of decorations are sitting in plain view to the right of the TV where I put them weeks ago when I was filled with good intentions.

I know at least part of the answer is that I’m a procrastinator and a clutter-bug with selective vision. I simply don’t quite see what I don’t want to see. It’s rather easy for me to think and say I’ll get to that next weekend. And yet, how many weekends since New Years Day? I don’t think I’ll count them.

Bottom line, I just don’t want to address the memories. I’ve had quite a bit of success cleaning my life of the junk from my marriage. I have new furniture (especially a new bed and everything that comes with it), new location, new music, new friends, etc. I’ve gotten rid of or avoid the things that hold bad memories. If it makes me uncomfortable, I’ve moved on. But the Christmas stuff involves more than just me. These boxes also hold my kids’ memories and so I can’t sweep them into the trash.

Christmas is a time set apart from the rest of our life. The memories found there are segregated from the rest of the memories. It should be a magical time and opening the boxes of decorations each year should be a time of anticipation and joy. For me, the past few years opening these boxes has brought so much dread that for three years I avoided it completely and left the boxes buried in the garage. I’m reminded not so much of the bad times but of the bad man. My memories of Christmases Past are intertwined with memories of my ex. It’s like an inoperable tumor — I can’t cut out the bad memories without cutting out the joyful ones.

I may be dealing with selective memory here, but I don’t have many bad memories of Christmas.  Oh sure, there was stress and expectations, trying to do too much, trying to meet everyone’s needs–but I don’t remember many fights or much anger. Too much alcohol and dealing with a drunk guy– that I do remember that but then again, that was all the time, not just Christmas.  There are ornaments that remind me so much of my ex that I want to burn them, but I can’t get rid of them. I wonder what they might mean to my kids, if they have good memories attached that I have no right to erase.

In the eight years since he has been out of our lives I have spent little time facing the memories with my kids. I’ve come to terms with many things on my own and listened to them when they have wanted to talk, but rarely have we discussed it together. I’m still guarded, careful not to influence memories of their father. They know little of the details about what it was like to be married to him. I tell myself it’s not appropriate or important to share the indignities, the awful things he said. They know how he treated me at home and in public but don’t know what went on behind closed doors or how it all affected my core.

Today I am again choosing to delay dealing with the memories  However, I do have a day off work and my other plans fell through so I will finally get those boxes out of my line of sight. No sorting, culling, organizing or embracing the memories, simply box them up and put them in the closet. Maybe it’s denial but I prefer to think of it as healthy postponement. I’m not pretending this part of my life doesn’t need to be examined, I’m just not ready to face it. It is a difficult job to look my past life square in the face and I’m simply not up to it yet again.

Christmas Rant December 22, 2007

Posted by phoenixhopes in Christmas, Holidays.
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I don’t much like Christmas. There, I said it, so shoot me. I don’t like the expectations, I don’t like the expense, I don’t like the crowds. I don’t like the mess. Should I go on? (The food however… I do like the food. Christmas food is awesome. Cardamon rolls, butter toffee, cookies, candies, peppermint ice cream, one tiny sip of eggnog. The food I’ll keep.)

At Christmas I fight too many ghosts… those unpleasant memories of not so great Christmases Past. Memories of never doing enough, never being enough. Of trying to make up for a dad who was too drunk to care.

I know, I know, I have a choice. THIS is my life now and I want to live in it and not in the past. I can make Christmas whatever I want it to be. But what if I just want it to be over? I want to wake up and it’s just another day and I can go back to the regularly scheduled struggle of being a single mom. I don’t want to deal with all this extra pressure.

I don’t think there’s any getting out of it though. Christmas will be in three days even if I attempt to wish it away. And, like it or not, I am the mother, the responsible one. It’s up to me to help the kids have good memories of the time we spend together. Although I try to gift them with things they want and need, I really don’t much care if they remember the ‘stuff’ with fondness. I do care that they remember the time.

Maybe I’m just the Memory Facilitator. My job isn’t to infuse their brains with happiness and peace but to help create an atmosphere where cozy family times can incubate and grow. I can set the scene but I can’t make them get along.

My Christmas Wish for my children is that they can look back on the time we spend together without the need to fight the Ghost of Christmas Past. And maybe, when enough time has passed, my own ghosts will fade away.