Ah the holidays. The time of year where everything is festive, colorful, and full of life. Twinkly lights. Hot toddies. Matching Christmas outfits for the kids. Christmas carols, holiday get together, and so much more. Memories are made. Hearts are full.
I use to love Thanksgiving and Christmas. I threw myself into the decorating, the celebrating, the whole atmosphere the holidays were. Yes there was stress involved but it never could diminish what the holidays gave me.
That all changed on December 15, 2015. I was sitting wrapping my children’s Christmas presents, trying to not let my husband’s absence of the day get me down. To worry me. I knew we were struggling but not to the extent it really was. Ten days before Christmas, my world shattered. My heart was left broken and bleeding. I pulled together what strength I had to give my boys one more holiday as a traditional family of four. Smiling, laughing, pretending I wasn’t falling apart in front of family and friends. The New Year was spent with my husband moving out, coming home to a half empty house, and me picking up the pieces of what I thought was my forever.
Last year, the holidays were divided. My boys in Colorado, me with my family. I thought this is it. Nothing could be worse. Next year will be better. And now here I am. At next year. Yet, I am dreading these next two months. I have nothing left in my heart to get excited.
What once filled my heart with so much joy and pleasure, now leaves a sick feeling in my stomach. I can feel the anxiousness building inside of me. For these special days are no longer special for me. My mind replays past memories and my heart yearns for something that I can’t even describe. Maybe for what was. Maybe for what will be. But right now, the holidays are a very painful reminder of what my life is right now.
I really wish I could just pretend that the holidays are just another day. That the days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas are nothing. Honestly, when the day comes I would like to drink myself into forgetting. Bury my hurts and sorrows into an alcoholic daze. I would like to shrug it off. Feign indifference to the meaning and memories made during the ‘happiest time of year’.
But I can’t. My T & G need the holidays. They need the sparkle, the lights, the songs, the tree, the traditions. They need a joyous and present mom. One who oohs and aahs along side them. So the tree will go up. The garland placed around the house. St. Nick will show up on December 6th. Christmas cookies baked. Gifts wrapped with bright colored paper and placed under the tree.
I will force myself. I will put a smile on my face. My boys deserve it. However, I am empty inside. I try. I try to get excited. I try to be merry and bright. I try. So hard. Because I want to feel how I use to about these joyous holidays. When I saw the fun memes, when I heard my favorite Christmas songs, when I anticipated my children’s reactions, when I didn’t feel dead inside.
I had been told that the first holidays after a divorce were the hardest. Because it was the first. I had to experience all of these emotions and I didn’t know how hard it would be. Now, I do know how hard it is. I know how lonely it feels to be away from my children. I know how I ache to share these precious memories. I know how stressful the expenses and planning is on me. I know how these special times are when I feel the most alone. I know that after the holidays come the darkest months of the year. I know that I have to do this for the rest of my life and it exhausts me. Even celebrating the birth of our Lord doesn’t melt the cold and ice in my heart. Counting my blessings and being grateful are struggling to rise up.
So, please forgive me when I just can’t muster up the excitement and anticipation. When the light doesn’t reach my eyes. When my smile is accompanied by tears. When I decline an invitation or can’t afford the simple gift giving.
I am trying. Really I am. Yet, my heart is only getting by. Wishing for these next months to be over quickly.