Christmas in my rear view mirror

At 5 years old… Jumping up and down on my oldest sisters bed on Christmas morning, with my sister, T.  “Wake up!  Santa came!”  The orchestrated chaos of Mom’s Christmas morning.  Had to have breakfast before gifts were opened – usually some nutritious PopTarts – but we were allowed to dig into the stockings.  Mom liked to drag things out – only one gift opened at a time to “make Christmas last”. 

At 10 years old… The year i ruined my own Christmas by peeking at every gift with my name on it under the tree.  i was good with the letter opener, and carefully slit the tape to reveal what was inside.  Lesson learned:  Don’t fuck with anticipation.

At 15 years old…  After a tumultuous year of battles with my sister, T, we reconcile.  She was suffering quietly through fights with her girlfriend – she wasn’t ‘out’ to anyone then.  After my best friend, J, had come out to me earlier that year, he suggested i just go ahead, tell my sister i knew she was a lesbian, and offer support.  It worked.  My gift to her that year was a collection of  ‘gay lit’ books – “The Front Runner” and “Rubyfruit Jungle”, suggested by J.

At 20 years old… My first Christmas away from my family.  i had been living with EJ for a year, and he was going to Florida to spend the holiday with his parents.  i go with him.  Calling home on Christmas day is weird.  A little bittersweet – a sense of independence as i start something new, and a sense of loss as i leave something behind.  And the weirdest thing of all:  Having a family meal with people who were quiet.  i could hear myself chew! 

At 25 years old…  A baby? The girl at about 18 months old.  Our first house.  Having a baby gave us an excuse not to travel, so we don’t have to go to Florida, but we are required to bring the toddler to The Park.  Overloaded toddler by 5:00 pm, as we retreat homeward as soon as we can possibly escape.

At 30 years old… The peak years for me “doing” Christmas.  Love buying gifts and wrapping them beautifully.  Baking with the kids.  Driving through the neighborhoods looking at holiday lights.  Hitting the road for “warm” Christmases in Florida every other year.  Our own family holiday traditions emerging – saying “It’s the most beautiful Christmas tree ever” as soon as the tree is done – which has to be said every year.  Still the ‘Santa’ years… One kid serving as “elf” to distribute presents.  Learning that dogs can smell wrapped chocolates under a tree, and will eat an entire pound box.  And then paint the household a horrid shade of brown…

At 35 years old… Mellower.  Santa puts scratch off lottery tickets in stockings, and the emphasis is now hanging out, watching movies, and eating junk food until we achieve sugar comas.  Travel every other year to visit grandparents – despite the fact that no one really wants to do it, we made the best of it… sometimes renting a beach house for a few days en route. 

At 40 years old… Awkward.  My husband and i are effectively separated and living in two different homes, but we converge on the vacation place up north for Christmas.  The kids are REALLY over the hype.  We spend our time watching satellite tv movies.  Playing with dogs.  Staring at the frozen lake.  Drinking.  A lot.  The Trailer Park Christmas has gotten ugly, with disagreements percolating in many corners.  i develop the ‘avoid and minimize’ strategy.  Mom grumbles that the family has fallen apart and that Christmas just isn’t the same any more.

Today… It’s noon.  i’m still in my pajamas.  The Girl is sleeping downstairs because she works retail now, and had to work late last night.  The Boy is visiting his dad up north, because Dad needs company after losing both his live-in girlfriend and his father within the past month.  Drank a half pot of coffee – with a little Kahlua in deference to the holiday.  Read the newspaper.  Basically, it’s kinda like any other Saturday,  only everything’s closed.   We’ll get together and hang out when The Boy drops by early next week.

Life is good.  Merry Christmas!

taken a couple of weeks ago when The Boy was home for his birthday…

42 thoughts on “Christmas in my rear view mirror

    • i’m 48, dear. and i left out 45 because that was the year i was diagnosed with cancer, after being divorced 6 months, but we still got together up north and it was a weird one… i was lucky in my childhood, no doubt. and i’m guessing there’s a good reason you blanked it all out…

  1. so far, it’s been prosecco with breakfast, bourbon with coffee and cheesecake and it look like there might be a cocktail or two being prepared to go with prep work before we start dinner. oh yeah, my favorite kind of saturday, too! muchos smoochos, sugarpie! xoxoxoxo

    • The Girl has been up for an hour, and i keep saying “it’s too early to really start drinking.” to which she replies – “It’s after noon…” and away we go! have you found the alcohol-infused flavored whipped creams yet? there’s some caramel awaiting my next cup of coffee!

    • Thank you Ms. Coma! i’m still tracking your transitions and adventures, and am wondering how i’m going to book a business trip to Hoots one of these days, because i really need to meet those folks! Merry Christmas!

  2. Sounds like you had just the Christmas you wanted and needed, very pleasant and low key.

    We started the day with stockings, which had plenty of chocolates to start the sugar high. After that we drank the traditional gin fizzes (always served at Jim’s family home on the high holidays — Christmas and Easter). Once the folks arrived from out in the county, we had breakfast. After that, we all gathered around the tree, which had a pretty amazing amount of packages around it, especially after my folks arrived with their things along with the box that my brother sent from Connecticut.

    The present opening orgy over, I took Ruby for her walk in the snow, and then we had a beautiful prime rib for dinner. Now there is a traditional football game on, which my son and Jim totally love to watch together.

    I am sated with chocolate and alcohol, and am already planning the severe diet I am going on after New Years, which will be aided by one of the things Santa brought us, a brand new scale.

    Hope you had a wonderful day, it was good here.

    I really liked your retrospective, and it would be interesting to make the same sort of post over at the Havens. Odd how life moves and things change.

    • Sugar, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol – along with some delish smoked turkey and a vat of heart-stopping mac and cheese – got us through the day. Glad you had a wonderful day in The Havens!

  3. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane – this was really lovely, and I’m glad it’s come back around again.

    Merry Christmas, DaisyFae… hope you’re still enjoying the time with your family.

  4. ‘Don’t fuck with anticipation.’ I like that one. It is amazing how you remember all of this. Fantastic memories and a very emotional read. A fine example of life in general. And even if the wine runs out, remember that there is more, waiting to be had!

  5. Anybody win big with those lottery tickets? i do know at age 40 i’ll remember this, little Nick Disaster figuring out it’s okay to destroy wrapping paper, then seeing presents and dancing around and pointing yelling “yay, yay, yay”, made his big old dad smile.

    • we haven’t done the gathering yet. maybe tonight. not sure when The Boy will show up… usually, no one wins big with the lottery tix. gambling is generally a tax on people who can’t do math. fingers crossed, though, for some big money!

  6. If we’re smart like you, we’ll all fess up to a little ‘peekin’ prior to the big day. I know I did, and it was the worse Christmas ever. I don’t recommend it for anyone who actually might like a surprise.

  7. We play the ‘White Elephant’ game on Christmas for the adults… there were lottery tickets this year. I think the Christmas of yours I liked was the one where you were going for the sugarcoma. Lol
    Thanks for sharing.

    • as far as christmas present gift exchanges go, that game is my favorite. especially when there is booze. and i get it! we do that one at work, and there is usually a big ass ham involved… i like to spank the ham… it gets ugly quickly…. and there’s nothing wrong with a few days in a sugarcoma!

    • of course! you know guys like him. if he were older, and not quite such an asshole, i’d make him court you… sad thing? he’s got beautiful hair. down the middle of his back. wears it covered and tied in a pony tail…

  8. Belated Merry Christmas to you and yours and a Happy New Year too.

    Also, I have learned the issues with wrapping chocolates and putting them under a tree in a house where a snack-happy dog lives. It cost me a rug I really liked.

    • And to you as well! Just last year Mr. P turned my downstairs rug into a jackson pollak print after eating a tray of brownies off the counter…. dogs and chocolate. yep…

  9. I read this a bit ago, but didn’t get by to comment. I like the anthology. May have to drag one out of the recesses of my memory some time.

    This year was a tradition breaker around our house as eldest daughter went off Christmas Eve to spend it with her boyfriend’s family. Kind of weird, really. She’s 28 now and of course it’s time, but still. You know?

    Hope all of your family had a decent holiday break and enjoyed whatever together time you could have.

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