"Happy (??) Holidays".

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by goldenguru, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    I wasn't sure where to post this - so I will put it here unless the mod wants it moved.

    I have been thinking ALOT about the approaching holiday season and just wanted to share my thoughts.

    The holidays can be extremely difficult for many people for a plethora of reasons.

    Suicides are more prevalent during the holidays.

    More people experience depressive episodes.

    Of course, stress is often off the stress-o-meter.

    Four years ago, my daughter was not home for Christmas as we had placed her in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Around the first of December the song "I'll be home for Christmas" came on in the grocery store. I had to leave. I went home and had a meltdown. It was the most helpless, horrid, inescapable emotion.

    The next year she was not home for holidays because she had run away from home.

    These situations were difficult in and of themselves. But, when you throw in the 'holidays' - they can be (were)unbearable.

    I have often pondered what makes the holidays so difficult?

    Is it the unrealistic Norman Rockwell pictures in our minds?

    Is is the unreal expectations that marketing feeds us from October 31st?

    Is is that we envy those who are having those 'perfect' family holidays?

    I really don't know.

    I just wanted to remind myself (and others who may not have experienced difficulty dealing with the holidays) that the time approaches. I want to be emotionally prepared to deal with whatever life brings my way.

    God bless those of you have have a child in jail. Or treatment. Or on the streets. For those of you who may not even know where your child is.

    For those of us who whose nest is empty for the first time this Christmas.

    May we all find the joy in the holiday in spite of our difficult situations.

  2. KFld

    KFld New Member

    Thanks Goldenguru. I think there are quite a few people here who will appreciate this post.

    I too hope and pray that everyone can find some kind of peace during the upcoming holidays, no matter what there situation is.
  3. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Thanks I do appreciate this post. Bless you to for sending it. Last year my son was home for Christmas. The one before he was not. Last year though he was so stoned on something that he wasnt even really "here". We went to church on Christmas Eve. It was the church we went to when the children were young. We have sinced moved on to a larger church now. Anyway, my difficult child son said it felt like home. I just wanted to cry and cry. This year he is in jail and probably will be there for the holidays. I find myself not even wanted to go anywhere for the holidays. It is so hard.
  4. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Santa has already arrived at our local mall- sheesh!

    I have a hard time with the holidays. I miss my parents. I remember the sad years when Rob was in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or the group home or homeless and our lives were upside down. I try very hard to remember the "reason for the season" and to count my blessings.

    It's a good subject to bring up. I expect it will be important to talk about it as the time gets closer. This will be a critical year for Karen and for Stands and for Merris and tpcmom and for many of our other parents whose lives turned upside down this year.

  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Holidays, especially xmas, are hard on me cuz that's the time of year when it's impossible to keep thoughts of stepgfg, Kayla, and Alex at bay.

    easy child and Nichole are giving me 8x10 pics of Darrin and Aubrey for the livingroom this holiday season. Not necessarily a gift per se. But it caused a pang in my heart that took most of an afternoon to shake when they told me. Because my brain immediately went to Kayla and Alex.

    It's the same on xmas morning. While I enjoy the day with the family and grandkids..... And truely I do, there is always a pain in my heart for Katie, Kayla, and Alex. I don't let it show. I keep it to myself. But it is there.

    And my heart goes out to those whose pain is very fresh this year.

    It is a good topic to bring up.

    Oh, and Suz.....Our town is already decorated for xmas! Lights and wreaths up everywhere. :nonono: I noticed them right after halloween.
  6. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I believe it. There is just something inherently WRONG with that. Your community isn't the only one, Lisa. :frown:

  7. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    This is the time of year that I miss having the large family.

    When I was with Matt, we would wake up Christmas morning to FIVE kids opening gifts. Now it is just me, not we. There is no Matt. His 3 boys are gone too. And my oldest daughter moved out.

    Now it is just me and Tink.

    She conned me into putting the tree up today... :smile:
  8. SunnyFlorida

    SunnyFlorida Active Member

    :cool-dog: surely BBK you can't be referring to THE tree!

    On one hand I think that's pretty cool, you're one organized chick. On the other hand, I'm know to decorate the week before the holiday and take it down the next day!

    Thanks GG, this time of year can be very stressful for many.
  9. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Thanks Suz for remembering me! It is a hard time. My mother died two days after Christmas 2 years ago. I miss her still. My difficult child was in prison then and he missed it. We sent him a "care" package that year and he mis behaved and they didnt let him have it. It is all so surreal to me sometimes that this could be happening to a family I thought was going to be ok. It will be interesting to see what happens to him this time. My husband doesnt hold much hope for him not going to prison. God will give me strength I know. :angel: P.S. I couldnt believe I saw Santa Clause at the mall today!!!!!!!! Isnt it early?!
  10. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Sunny ~

    While I would like to take credit for being organized, I won't even go there.

    See, we just moved a month ago. And instead of putting the tree in the storage locker, we left it (and all the other Christmas decorations) in the dining room. Since I don't have my table and chairs yet.

    Also, Tink was supposed to be with her dad this weekend, but his father passed on, so she is back with me. She was rather antsy, so when she asked about the tree, how could I say no? It was sitting RIGHT THERE, after all...
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    :rofl: BBK

    I thought I was bad cuz I always put mine up the day after Thanksgiving. Then the day after xmas it's promptly put away.

    I'm sick of looking at the decorations by then. :rofl:
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Last year we had one of the best Christmas's we have had in a long time. We went to the neighbors and ate, we did not exchange any big gifts. I got some things for Lauren, but not a lot to speak of. Just household things. We didn't buy anything for M, because the last time we had, he wouldn't come get them, and then lied and told everyone we didn't get anything for him after we dropped them off at the dimwit's house. We had not expectations, so we weren't disappointed.

    I have dropped several hints to people that we have no plans for Christmas. I envy the friends I have who have no children. Their lives are different than ours, because they don't have any family traditions. And honestly, looking back on most of the Christmas's there were fights and hard feelings and selfishness and stress.

    I love Christmas music, though. I am having Bunco at my house in December, with a gift exchange. I'll do some decorations for that, and call it good, I think.
  13. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    What a beautiful posting, GG.

    I think what makes the holidays so hard is that the expectations being marketed to us are NOT unreal. That IS what it is supposed to feel like to have your children home for the holidays ~ or to have grown children at all, for that matter.

    It must be as satisfying a feeling as checking our sleeping infants was, when they were tiny babies.

    That is another feeling that is often used to market some product (usually natural gas or propane ~ something warm and safe).

    I am not dreading the holidays like I did once, but they don't shine for me, anymore.

    husband says I should remember my good fortune in having had those wonderful times to remember ~ not mourn because things are different, now.

    But when I think about the way it used to be, or when I think about the things I had envisioned for the future as my children were growing up....

    The reality of our situations today never crossed my mind in a million years.

    Not in a million years.

    So, for me, and for the others of us who will spend the Holidays celebrating something that is more a wish than a reality, weneed to look at it the way my husband suggests, I think.

    With gratitude for the wonderful things we had, once.

    For those of us whose children are still living, there is hope.

    What a relevant topic to consider as we all go into this season, GG.

    Your comments about those celebrating their first Holiday season without their children safely at home struck right to the heart.

    I add my prayer for them to yours.

    Thank you!


  14. KFld

    KFld New Member

    I am surprisingly looking forward to the holidays. Not quite sure why, because they are going to be totally different this year then any other, but for some reason I am excited about them. Maybe it's the thought of decorating my new apartment that I love so much and I'm so comfy in??

    I am going to my sister in law's sisters house for Thanksgiving and easy child will come with me. difficult child is going to girlfriend's families house, wich is different, but good, and I really could care less what s2bx is doing. I haven't spoken a word to him in a week. It's up to him to arrange spending any of the day with his children.

    difficult child told me last night that xmas eve will be spent with girlfriend's family, which is fine with me because I've been invited and am still planning on going to sister in law's that has xmas eve every year, yes with all my in-laws, but they have made a point of letting me know that I'm expected to be there :smile: There will be enough others there to focus on and the house is so big that I think I'll be comfortable. difficult child always hated going there on xmas eve. Too many people, too much chaos, so I think he's thrilled to have an out to go to somewhere nice and quiet after all these years. mother in law has made it very clear to s2bx that his new girlfriend will not be part of our holiday celebrations this year. She is furious with him at this point and refuses to even meet her for a long time, so I don't have to worry that she will be there xmas eve. Hey, even if she was, who will be the one feeling uncomfortable?? Not me!!

    My dad will be here 2 days before xmas and we will all spend our first xmas without my mom together. He may or may not come to sister in law's house on xmas eve, but xmas day will be at my apartment. Xmas day is always spent with my side of the family and we will squeeze everyone in and make it a merry one. It will be very different waking up with easy child, my dad and myself, then difficult child and girlfriend will come over early morning. This will be the first time difficult child will not be waking up with us on xmas morning, but I have realized that it happens as they get older and have other family.

    The only glitch is that my kids want s2bx there on xmas day, so I will let them invite him to "my home" where he will be a guest and if he's not comfortable, then oh well!!! I'm doing it for the kids, not him.

    easy child and I were already talking about where to hang the stockings last night as we don't have a fireplace. I have a feeling her and I will be decorating the day after Thanksgiving :smile:
  15. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    GG, thank you for posting this. These thoughts have been in the back of my mind and I haven't given myself time to think about them really and truly.

    Each year, I host a family Christmas get together. Usually my brother and his family come up from NY and my local (loco) sister and her family come over. We have a nice buffet dinner, share stories and toast the holidays, share some small gifts - kids only - and it's a nice time. However, two years ago, following a fallout between my loco sister and me, I called it off that year. A few months later, I sent the gifts over for my neices and nephew to my loco sisters' house and we never received anything back until Summer, and those were obviously re-gifted items. Not that it's about the gifts, but it was hurtful to me because despite the fallour we had, I still put some thought into nice gifts for her kids (who, by the way, are adult children). Last year, we hosted it as we've done in the past, but mostly because my mom was with us for the first time in 25 years! Though it was much smaller an affair, it was very pleasant as there were so many people in my house and it created a diversion for me having to interact with my loco sister too much. It was agreed that no gifts would be exchanged so that also lessened the pressure for everyone.

    Witz, I extracted from your post some good ideas. I'm closer with my friends than I am with my only nearby family (loc sister) so I am thinking that I will put together a list of friends and see if maybe we will host a holiday party with our friends instead this year. It may prove difficult as two of our friends are going through a divorce, but even if it's small, it will at least be filled with laughter, fun and much love instead of walking on eggshells all night, hoping that nothing sets off loco sister.

    on the other hand, I am feeling like something is wrong with me for not wanting to bother with a family holiday hosting...I always feel like my daughters get gypped when we don't do SOMETHING, but I don't feel I have it in me. When my sister walks through the door, you can see that she is simply fulfilling some obligation, and then I feel "why did I bother?", Know what I mean?? It's a sense of mourning to not have a rowdy, loud group of people in the house Christmas. This year, my girls are with their dad in NY for Christmas so the day will likely be quiet anyway. H and I don't even like to open gifts without the kids home. And traditionally, we spend the afternoon at the movies anyway, so it will be just another day for us. My birthday is Dec 27th so my girls will come home that day and we'll celebrate then.

    Thank you again gg, for such a thought provoking post. It is helping me overcome the guilt I feel for not wanting to spend the holiday with my sister.
  16. mary9461

    mary9461 trying to hang on

    I don't think "Perfect Holidays" are as common as people want us to think. My husbands mother has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and we spend the week after Christmas with her and my Father In-Law and Sister In-Law and her family. We have already started to dread it. She wants the Perfect Christmas and I truely believe she thinks she has it, but hear me when I say She Does Not. When My difficult child was in jail she refused to believe it. In fact she kept it from everyone. "He had to work" or something like that. SHe works herself to death and a good time is not had by all. This year my difficult child son will be with us and I have to say it's not going to be good. He has got to be the center of attention all the time and it can be very trying. Holidays at my parents house isn't much better and I always considered my family to be somewhat normal. I don't look forward to the holidays like I use to. Thank you for opening up this subject, it sure helps to vent to people that know where you are coming from.
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I have not had my son home for Christmas for so many years we stopped decorating. That is why the card list here became so important to me.

    I don't know if I'll get to see him this year or not, but I can tell you that the same "I'll be home song" brings me to a sniveling crying jag.

    This year our family has forgone the retail christmas and we're having a celebration. Instead of gifts for each other we're going to do the "tree" and give back to kids who are less fortunate.

    I'm not going to worry about a tree, gifts, or anything. After our life? Just knowing where everyone is and be able to make a call to say HELLO is a gift unmeasured.

    It doesn't all have to be miserable - it will be what you make it.