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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dichotomous Christmas

I know I'm now too late to wish you all a Merry Christmas, but I hope everyone had a wonderful day yesterday, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

My day... was a day of firsts, and a day of tradition. It was a day of great happiness, but it was a day edged with grief and regret. Unusually for me, it was also a day of healing and growth - though I don't expect to see concrete results of that any time soon. Finally, it was a day of learning. Most of the things I learned were small things, it's true, but small things add up and gradually become bigger things.

Although Bumface and I began dating shortly before Christmas last year, I spent most of the day with my biological family, only meeting up with him at the end of the day. Normally, we would go to my brother's for Christmas, but this year I made the decision early on that I wouldn't be doing that. Bumface isn't comfortable with my family (and given the way they've treated us both, I certainly understand why), and I didn't want us to be apart for Christmas, so we decided to have it here -- that way, too, we could invite Baby Bear to join us, as well as any other friends/chosen family with nowhere else to go. We did invite my mother and Jerry, (her best friend who has been like a father to myself and my brothers) especially as it's the first Christmas my younger brother hasn't been here for, but they declined to join us. As a result, not only was this my first real Christmas with my partner... it was my first Christmas ever without a single member of my biological family.

This year, I pulled together some of my favourite Christmas traditions from my childhood, and I made a few changes where appropriate, to create a Christmas that would work for us. I decorated, with the help of Baby Bear and her friend. I put together 3 stockings (one each for myself, Bumface and Baby Bear). I made my favourite Christmas recipes (minus the trifle which I'll be making once we've eaten some more of the food we already have left over). Baby Bear joined us and we enjoyed plenty of nibblies as we exchanged gifts. After a brief rest, we had my family's traditional salad lunch. All my favourites from my childhood were there, and a few others I've picked up through the years were added as well.

It was a good day, but there were still things I missed. Mostly, I missed my nieces and my nephew. Without them, the chatter of children was missing, and the magic (and the laughter!) that brings to Christmas was a small wound in the day. It left me aching a little for my own little girl and boy.

I didn't miss calling my father and wishing him a Merry Christmas, but I wish I could say I didn't feel guilt over it.

This year, I learned, as I learn over and again, that some wounds don't heal. I learned, as I learn over and again, that family is about so much more than who gave birth to whom. I learned, as I wish I'd realised earlier, that coleslaw dressing and caesar salad dressing are not interchangable (worst coleslaw EVER). I learned, as I think we all wish I'd learned before making the pasta salad, that regular peas should be shelled. I learned, as I learn over and again, that just as there can be sadness in the midst of beauty... there also can be beauty in the midst of sadness.

This year, I was shown that there are some truly amazing and wonderful people in my life, and I am blessed to know them. I was shown that there are some people in my life who maybe don't deserve the amount of time and love I offer them, as they are unwilling to offer much in return... but there are some who deserve everything I can give and so, so much more.

I hope I do enough that those people know who they are, that they see I understand and appreciate just how much they enrich my life and how deeply grateful I am for all they do for me. They are my chosen family, and although not all of them could join me physically for Christmas, they were all in my heart yesterday, as they are every day, and are ever welcome at my table.

Happy Holidays, my friends.


  1. That's wonderful. I'm so glad to hear that it was a day of healing and growth for you. For so many trapped in unhealthy cycles, the holidays can be one destructive mess. Good for you for rising above that, and for being able to treasure the beauty amidst the sadness.

    Merry Christmas (belatedly), and a wonderfully happy, healthy new year to you and yours!