Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Past and Present

The Holidailies writing prompt for today is Home Alone.  I saw it this morning and have been turning it over in my head all day.  There are a few directions I could go with it.  I guess that's the point of a prompt, to get you thinking, get your creative thought processes in gear.  But see, I've been trying to stick to lighter subject matter.  Ever since I ended up in that last hole, and had to wonder how much of it was the fact that I was opening up doors I'd kept closed for a long time in posts here.

But as much as I'd like to go the 'what I'd do with a day alone at home' route, that's just not where my head wants to go.  So let's go ahead and expose a few more skeletons and hope for the best. 

The year I was 16 I spent Christmas alone, away from home.  I was in the psychiatric hospital I've talked about before.  My mother, a single parent with 3 other children at home, made the 2 hour each way trip a few days before.  She brought my presents for me to open, most of which I wasn't allowed to keep anyway.  So she took them home with her.   My father had been allowed to plea bargain on my abuse case shortly before Christmas, although I wouldn't find out about that for a while.  Needless to say, he didn't come to visit me either.

I did make it home for the next Christmas.  I'd learned what was expected of me, said what all the experts and doctors wanted to hear, and gotten out.  But things at home were chaotic at best.  I snuck out one time too many and ended up getting permanently kicked out of my mother's house a few days after Christmas.  She slapped me across the face and called me a whore. 

I spent the next 5 Christmases in varying states of sobriety, mostly trying to ignore the date.  If I was high enough, it worked.  One year Tony, my husband (at the time) was in jail, his mother bailed him out the day after Christmas.  Another year we got a free tree on Christmas Eve from a lot that was closing down.  I think that was the only time we ever had a tree.  A church gave us gifts one time.  That was the same year as the tree.  I know the first year I spent it in tears, all day long, at some guy I didn't even know's house, while Tony was gone all day, trying to score.  

Christmases since I've been with S have been completely different.  Good.  Family oriented, even before we had our own family.  I've stopped dreading December.  But this year... his Mom and Dad will be here, something I'm looking forward to.  But so will my mother and her husband.  And that, I'm not.  I'm worried about how my mother will react to not being the center of attention.  What she's going to do to embarrass me, how she's going to ruin things this time... she's got a track record of it.  If we're lucky she'll find some excuse to not show.  She's done that before too.  And while I feel guilty for thinking this way about my own mother, I can't help it.  So this year I'm just hoping that everyone else doesn't end up wishing they'd stayed Home Alone.  And that's not the way I've come to enjoy feeling about Christmas.


Anonymous said...

Jennifer, I am so sorry to hear about what you have been through. I truly wish you a merry Christmas and hope everything goes good while your mom is visiting.


heather said...

i'm sorry to hear about what you've been through too. lots of love and hoping you have a very merry christmas!

Erin Lutz said...

Hugs, Jennifer. This christmas my husband and I are praying for a blizzard. I know how you feel just waiting for something to be said/done. Hang in there!

Dawn said...

I'm really sorry that most of your Christmas memories are not good ones. I am glad that you are making new and better ones now.

Oh, and on the bully front...we got a new decoration for the living room, so Oscar, Cookie Monster, & Elmo are now residing in Taylor's room. So you will have to find another reason to call me a "big bully". *laughs*

Thanks for checking in on me...I'm trying to catch up on everyone's blog. Sending you big *hugs*

won said...

Wow, this resonated with me in several ways.

I too was in a psych hospital on Christmas season. Like you said, I figured out the "right" things to say and I got a 12 hour pass out of there on Christmas day. I went to my parent's house.

I'll never forget them lighting a joint at 9AM, and being thoughtful enough to ask "what should we do, just pass you by?". (note: sarcasm)

I called a friend and asked him to come get me and take me back to the hospital.

I am really hoping your mother doesn't cause you undue stress this year.

Aunt Becky said...

This breaks me up because I know how hard Christmases can be. I'm hoping this year you get the Christmas that you deserve.

Sending you love and light.


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