Saturday, December 24, 2011
I think I believed in Santa until I was about seven years old. I totally remember "hearing" the bells and sled and hooves on my roof one night! I also remember one night constantly getting out of bed to check out if Santa had come (only to find out later my mom was pissed off because she was trying to "assemble" two bikes for my sister and me, and I kept interrupting her!). After the last of the little ones in my family were over Santa, we didn't celebrate Christmas (as we were not really Christians, hence the religious part of Christmas was not what we adults or older children were into). Also, my mom did the decoration thing to the max. Way over the top for me. Even in her old age, she still hired someone to set up all of her decorations ... plastic sleigh with Santa and reindeer, lights everywhere, tree way over decorated, the whole shebang.
Like Bob, I too, had a mom that imbibed a bit too much. Actually, my mom was a complete drunk, and there were several Christmas occasions when I was older, but there were still some little ones, that my mom completely ruined the entire evening. Once she tipped over the tree. Once she never even bought a tree (when she got mad, she got mad). Once she pee'd in the refrigerator vegetable drawer .... both my sister and I never ate anything stored in that drawer again!
I was glad when I left that house and moved in with my aunt, uncle and cousins. No more drunks and no more beatings that usually accompany the drunken episodes.
But, somewhere when I was in my 30's, I re-discovered Christmas. Not in the religious sense, but it was born when my ex was fighting me for custody over my then 7 year old daughter, and claiming "Christmas" and my lack of doing anything during this time was somehow evidence I was a bad parent. So, I went out and got a tree and silly me, bought my first ever ornaments and lights. Man that was a costly adventure, close to $1,000 back then. But, since I actually LOVE CHRISTMAS music, it was an excuse to play songs, FINALLY! And, I found out that when I took the religion out of the holiday, I actually enjoyed it more as an adult.
I had one interesting holiday when I lived in Portland during the divorce period, and my daughter was 2 or 3 (the fight when she was 7 was his second attempt to get custody), and we were so poor we made all our own ornaments, and we actually cut our own tree from a local tree farm. Maybe next year, I will scan some of my Christmas pictures over the years.
I think my saddest Christmas was when my sister and I were sent to live with my grandparents for a year when we were 5 and 6 respectively (I was older), and we didn't see my mom for a year. She came to Baltimore, where we were living, for Christmas (bringing my baby cousin, Kelly, who was barely six months old) and stayed for a week. I cried for days when she left.
But, that was when I grew up when I should not have had to. I realized I didn't have a mom that was capable of taking care of me, and I had to take care of myself. Harsh reality at such an early age.
Anyway ... I am sure I will end this evening with some more posts that are more upbeat!!!!