For the most part, I have not felt that - I went to the tree farm with my family, I bought and wrapped presents, and have been watching my traditional favorite holiday flicks (Home Alone and Home Alone 2). I got out my decorations, decorated a tree in my dining room, and put gifts under it. I hung my stocking, filled Juno's stocking with toys & treats, and am overall enjoying the holiday season.
That said, I am dreading Christmas day. Scratch that, Christmas afternoon.
My mom's side of the family has begun a tradition of celebrating together on the Sunday before Christmas. Perfect. Love that. It allows us to slow down and spend more time together, as opposed to Christmas morning, when we all have 7 million other places to be. So that's this Sunday. I can't wait. I bought everything I need for deviled eggs, and will make them Saturday while I likely watch Miracle on 34th Street and It's A Wonderful Life. I wrapped my Stacey Family gifts and am looking forward to the time with my family.
Christmas Eve, I will most likely sleep over at my mom and dad's, as I usually do. We will watch Christmas movies and eat popcorn, and I'll sleep out in the living room by the tree. This is a tradition rarely broken that has taken place since forever. I look forward to it every year, and this year is no different.
Christmas morning, I'll wake up and we'll do Santa presents, just me, Tony, my mom and my dad. Santa already bought me a laptop, so I will unwrap the empty box happily. We will drink mimosas and do a German toast that our dear friends Julie and Toby taught us. We will eat bacon and eggs for breakfast off my mom's fancy Christmas dishes, and we'll spend the morning in our jammies, while my dad may or may not go fishing.
Christmas afternoon, I have to go to the W's Christmas. In the past 5-ish years, I've looked forward to this party less and less, as my family continues to dwindle. I feel less like this is family and more like it is people I can't stand spending time with. I realize that this is a harsh statement, but it is how I feel nonetheless. And this year, Karen is not coming home from Minnesota. Laura is going to Kansas. Keri won't be back from Colorado. Carolyn is spending it at home. So my support system won't be there.
I am dreading Christmas with the W family to the degree that I have gone back to counseling. No one should dread a family dinner the way that I am dreading this one. I have an appointment tomorrow with a new therapist, and I made the appointment specifically because I don't want to spend Christmas with my dad's family, with whom I have shared the last 29 Christmas dinners.
The more I connect with my cousin Spring, the more I talk with Karen and Laura about things in our childhood (and adulthood), the more I feel a disdain for some members of my family, the more I want to distance myself. Are there good people on my dad's side of the family? Yes, of course. But is there a trace of evil? Absolutely. And for the first time in my life, I am in a place emotionally where all of the good is not making up for all of the bad, and I just want to stay in my jammies at my mom's all day. I am longing for one of those years where we opened Santa presents and then played with toys all day, and then anxiously went over to Aunt Barbara's house for more of the same. And this just ain't it anymore.
I skipped Thanksgiving this year because I was feeling this way. I told my mom I would not skip Christmas, even though I want to. Instead, I will likely drink a lot of vodka on my mom's sofa in the middle of the day to mentally prepare. I'm sure that one of these years, when I no longer have a living grandparent to spend Christmas with, I will look back on this and feel guilty. But the reality is, I feel the way I feel. I feel anger and resentment over many things that have taken place within the walls of this family, and I can only deal with it at my own pace, in my own way, in the office of a licensed therapist who tells me I am not the crazy one.