This is a season of family, of home and hearth, of big meals, and gathering of loved ones. All the magazines give you hints and tips for the "perfect" holidays, all of them filling with articles and photos reminding us of this fact. It surrounds you in stores, on the tv, in the movies, and everywhere you look and go.
Nothing wrong with this, but this is the week every year since 1993 that I begin to feel all alone in a life of strangers. In 1993, on Christmas Eve my mother died at the age of 52 of cancer. From 1994 to 2006 my father and I were virtual strangers due to a falling out over my mother's estate and we didn't speak. For much of that time period, my brother was in jail, and then I was afraid to re-connect with him. So, from the holiday season of 1994 to present day, my holidays, my birthday, my everyday events are celebrated not with my family and those that knew me growing up, but with my husband's family.
Don't get me wrong, these are wonderful people I have come to love. I want them there, and I want to be with them for family events, but oh how I miss my family. Imagine what it is like to attend every holiday as a guest. These aren't the homes you grew up in, the food you ate, the voices you heard. These people didn't see you as a very small child, didn't hold your hand when you were afraid, or take care of you when you were sick. Siblings and parents to your spouse, they are just one step removed from you and as kind and loving as they are, they are not your parents or your siblings.
Yep, this is the time of the year when I struggle to bring my family traditions to my child's life. I want so much for some of what I remember. I him to remember some of my foods, my traditions, my decorations, the things that made the holidays so happy and secure.
There are new people, new traditions, new connections. All these things I am profoundly grateful for and I realize that Connor won't feel cheated, for him this is his tradition. As happy as I am to look around and see all the people that I love during the holidays- and this is dear friends and family, I yearn to see or hear some of what I knew as a child.
It is so hard to explain, so hard to understand, but as surrounded as I am by people and places and thing I love, I still feel alone. Thank goodness for the wonderful people in my life, I can't imagine the emptiness without them.