Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Feelings around the Holidays

Holidays are hard for me.  I think it comes from being an only child of divorced parents.  I have 5 siblings (3 brothers at my mom's and a brother and sister at my dad's) between the blended families so it is hard to imagine that someone with so many siblings (and extra parents) could feel lonely around the holidays but, I do.  Well maybe it isn't that I feel lonely but that I feel left out.  When I am at one house I am being "left out" of the fun and memory making going on at the other house.  I always feel like I am missing out on something.... because I am.  It has been SO hard growing up with two families spread so far apart (one in southern US and one in Canada).  I never get to have the feeling of having my WHOLE family together for the holidays and that makes me sad.  I am the only child between my parents so I am the only one that travels back and forth and always missing out at one place or the other.  Maybe this would have been easier if I would have had a sibling to share this with.
So even though I am a grown adult with a family of my own, I go back to those feelings of sadness around the holidays.  Feelings of being left out.  Feelings of not belonging (it is hard to fit in to blended families at times).  Feelings of missing out.  And now that my siblings and I have parents in different area codes AND some of my brothers are married, our time together is even more limited.  When some choose to spend holidays at other houses (not with my family and I), I go back to those feelings of being left out.  I get sad.  I get depressed.  And it happens every year.
I have started to dread the holidays.  Brad and I are always thinking about where we could escape to to avoid this holiday sadness.  I was sharing this all with a friend who then told me that I needed to start focusing on my family of 5 and the memories we were going to make, the memories my kids were going to look back on and remember when they are telling their kids how they would spend the holidays.  Do I want them to look back and remember a mom that was sad.  Of course not!!!  I want them to remember a house full of laughter, silly dance parties, evenings outside, and a home filled with lots of love!!!!  It is now about MY family and the memories WE are making!
So after my week of depression after I learned that once again my brothers and I would not all be together to share a Thanksgiving feast, I realized that things had to change!  I had to start a new tradition of holiday feelings for me!  I had to not worry about what any one else was doing and make the plans based on what I/WE wanted to do!  So I decided to make a WHOLE Thanksgiving feast for just my family of 5 and I was going to make the WHOLE thing and I was going to make it MY way!  We were going to start new holiday traditions and fun memory making and it was going to start this holiday season!!!
Then, just when I was feeling like no one loved me (funny how when you are depressed your thoughts can become completely irrational... and while I was planning on making the change some moments are better than others) I got the surprise of the year when my parents walked through the door on Tuesday night!!!  I had NO idea they were coming to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with us!!!  And to know how much effort and planning went into them getting here and surprising me made me realize just how much I am loved!  It is also a reminder to me that even though we do not spend every holiday together (and this goes for all of our family members) doesn't mean that we do not love and care about each other..... this is the hard one for me to remember this time of year.
While I had already made the commitment to try hard to change my feelings and emotions this holiday season... and I'm sure I could have done it on my own.... I got the pleasant surprise of having my parents join us and help me kick start our new holiday traditions and memory making!
And fun memories we are going to make.  It is going to be about my kids, our new traditions, and I am going to learn from them.  Learn that it is about the little things.  It is about the moment and who is here sharing it with us.... it is NOT about who is NOT here and what we might be missing out on.  We cannot think about what we are not doing.... just enjoy what we are doing and living in the moment is WAY more fun than thinking about what we might or might not be missing.
This holiday there was SO much love that filled my house and so many fun memories made.... a great reminder of how much I have to be thankful for!  And I'm thankful to have new feelings of hope and love this holiday season!


dave and jenn said...

Sounds like you are taking a great perspective on things! Dave has not-so-fond memories from holidays too, even though his parents are still married. But, like you, we have decided to focus on our own holiday memories!

I can relate to the excitement of getting an unexpected visit from your parents. What a wonderful surprise!

The Ware's said...

A new perspective indeed - little ones help make everything better...