Stille Nächte

Since I was a kid, I’ve hated the holidays. I have no idea why, really. I remember Thanksgiving as a real clusterfuck of a holiday. Food was great, but the family structure was not what my mother (and in turn, I) had signed up for.

I don’t remember a Thanksgiving dinner with my father. My parents were married for 12 years – I don’t remember him being there for ONE. Hmm.

My grandparents were always there with us – Grandpa watching his westerns or “war pictures” and Grandma helping my mother cook and clean. I stayed in my room, watching Nick At Nite marathons, complaining that Christmahanukwanzaa was around the corner and we’d have to put on the “happy holiday family” façade again. Yay.

And we did, this time my father would make an appearance on Christmas Day. He’d always play with my newly unwrapped presents before I’d been given a chance to, adding a layer of sourness to my morning.

“I’ll be done in a minute, Alice!”

When that minute was up, my father would leave. It would be weeks before we’d see him again. My mother and I would get dressed and go to my grandparents house, where Santa had also made a visit; I now believe this extra Santa’s visit was to ease the blow of the real missing piece from my holiday celebrations.

I’d get everything and more than I asked for; I would leave my toys and clothes under the tree, lock myself in my room, and watch Nick At Nite until dinnertime. My depression and sadness raged on, not soothed by Santa’s elves.

Now that I’m married, I’m not able to disappear into the mists of Nickelodeon’s nighttime programming during holidays. My in-laws come over and I find myself still wanting to crawl into a ball in my bed and hide until dinner and disappear when it’s over. My grandparents are no longer here, making me wish I’d stayed out of my room as a child and enjoyed their company while they were alive. G-d, I miss them so very much. (Notice my regret to have spent more time with my grandparents is not akin to spending more time with my in-laws. Nope nope nope.)

So what are my plans today? Stay in my room for as long as I can get away with it at my age and knit. Or sleep. Do my laundry. Meditate. Pray. Anything but prepare food and socialize. I’ve found that I don’t talk much unless I’m manic or at work.


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