I warned you long before that this was coming, and by long before I mean five days ago, that my Christmas rant might becoming.
With the Christmas season among us I am sure that many of you can relate to this rant in some form or way. For this rant won’t be about the decorations, the timing or anything that hard facts can back up, no this one will be personal, it will give you further insight to my life and well, I am sure you will be able to relate on some level.
It is finally the time of year for the fun and festivities, the lights and the wreaths and as everyone runs around excited about their holiday plans; I can’t help but feel like a little Grinch.
Let’s rewind a season or two, to ensure you understand. I love the Christmas season, for 25 days you are sure to hear something about Christmas come out of my mouth, how excited I am for the gifts I have bought or something about going to see the Christmas tree in DC. But back when I left for my freshmen year of college everything changed…
I had lived in the same house for nearly 13 years, always celebrating Christmas in the same room where the Christmas music played and the tree always found a home in the middle of the front window. My first year of college was different though; in the first few months of being at school, away from home and in a new place I got an email from my Dad, “Your Mom and I are getting a divorce.”
Needless to say, not a holiday has been the same since.
I was 18 at the time and my brother was 16, every Christmas of our life had been spent with our family and now as near young adults, all of that had to change.
The first year our Mom, who had moved out by December, decided to make it “easy” on us kids and came over to my Dad’s house where my brother and I still resided to spend Christmas as a “family.”
It was the most awkward Christmas I can recall. Everyone was silent and the tension was high. We had dinner “as a family” around the table that afternoon and by then no one was any more comfortable. I remember eating quickly around the table my Dad had just bought because my Mom had gotten the old one and then my brother and I both running out the door.
Along with all of the Christmas cheer, this time of the year always means carving up the calendar to ensure both parents are happy. It has gotten to the point where one of them just calls “dibs.” If you ask about the holiday first – well then it is yours.
The next few years lucky did not follow the same pattern as the first; instead it was a struggle to figure out who gets what time of each day each year. The well, “We spent Christmas Eve at Mom’s last year… does that mean it is Dad’s turn this year?” stumped my brother and I each time.
Every year it is a causes for a few harsh text to go between my brother and I, and on occasion even some tough words.
This year our Dad called dibs early, right after Thanksgiving early, the email had been sent and his girlfriend cc’d. My brother and I both ignored the email for about a week. We have an unspoken rule of talking to each other about things before giving either parent an official answer.
So December rolled upon us, the turkey had been eaten, the leftovers were gone, Christmas lights were being hung and Christmas songs filled the air. It was time to finally address that email. So I text my brother asking, if he had talked to Dad yet about Christmas. No. Have you talked to Mom yet? No. What are your plans? I don’t know! I don’t know what is going on. Just talk to Mom and let me know – idk.
I think we were both at our cracking point. We had just spent our “last Thanksgiving” at our Mom’s house; in the New Year she plans on moving to Florida so of course prior to she was looking for tons of family time.
Along with our parents, my brother and I each have significant others whom we like to spend the holidays with and have gifts to give to their families. Christmas doesn’t just mean making out time for Dad and time for Mom, but also time for the not actual but close enough family-in-law.
My brother and I are looking for that strange cut off point, when holidays do not always need to be spent with your parents, although I am not sure we will ever reach it. I may be getting closer then my brother, I have moved out and essentially started a life of my own, while he still lives at home. But, in all honesty, I cannot imagine celebrating Christmas “on my own.”
We all finally came to agreement; this Christmas, Christmas Eve will be spend with Mom and her husband and Christmas day will be spent with Dad along with an early dinner and desert at his girlfriends house.
I am sure just about everyone own holiday story of dividing time between in-laws or parents.
I know this is nothing new to a lot of people, but for my brother and I even four Christmas’ with divorced parents everything about this interaction seems unfamiliar and uncomfortable.