Once again this year, DH and I packed up the cats, and made our Christmas pilgrimage to the north to spend the holiday at his sister’s house. I really like it when we go there for Christmas, because that means we get to do Christmas with his family, my Dad, and usually my brother-in-law’s family. It’s slightly crazy, but that’s how I’ve always loved it.
This year was different in many ways though. I spent most of Christmas Eve feeling nostalgic, and a little melancholy. Although it’s been great the past couple of years to start new traditions, in my heart I was still wishing for some of the old ones. I mostly missed being with my Mom on Christmas Eve. I had literally spent every Christmas Eve of my life with my Mom until I was 24. Since being married, I haven’t spent any of them with her (not that those two are terribly related–she moved away that year). But still, this year I really missed the chaos that used to be Christmas while growing up: Christmas Eve mass with my Mom, leaving to spend Christmas Eve with my step-dad’s family, Christmas morning with my Mom and step-dad, getting picked up by Dad and opening gifts with him prior to his family gathering, and finishing out the day with M. While this year was really nice, it was just…quiet. Not quite the crazy chaos of shuffling homes that I had grown up with.
It probably didn’t help to find out that there’s another women living in the house I grew up in. I suppose I should have anticipated this day coming. I didn’t really expect my step-dad to spend the rest of his days in lonely isolation, even if it’s in the house that we all built together. I think part of the pain comes from the fact that she’s redone the house. And she has 5 dogs!!! 5 dogs–in the house that he wouldn’t even let us have one in! I hear she’s nice…but it was a pretty blatant reminder that that house will never be my home again. It’s hard to let it go, even though I haven’t lived there in a while. It’s also pretty clear that there’s still a hole in my heart left from that divorce. Like all divorces, I don’t know if that scar will heal. The memories of the good times often far outweigh the memories of the bad, and so they’re hard to let go.
I know it’s all part of growing up. Things change, and we’ve got to adapt and learn to love the new traditions. One day when M and I have kids of our own, things will probably change again, and new traditions will continue to be made. I just hope that those changes will be a lot easier to institute and adopt, and that feelings of longing and sadness on Christmas will just be a thing of the past.