Am I the only one who feels lost at this time of year?

Where are You?

I never used to feel this way because it was always  all about my kids, Santa Claus, warm & fuzzy feelings, and giving myself 110%; trying to make everything “perfect” — whatever “perfect” is. I relish the days when my girls were younger, when they believed in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and thought I was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Such innocence, such wonder, such love, such belief in the world (and me, their mom) surrounding them.

Was I at fault for letting them be kids? Was I at fault for trying to protect them from the evil realities of the world? Was I at fault for NOT pushing them to fill in MY blanks — MY missed opportunities — MY  Ego?

In a perfect world,  I would like to think that I did not/have not. Yet, I realize my perception of the way I attempted to raise my daughters is totally different from theirs. On the other hand, I do know that what I tried to do (whether they acknowledge it or not) for both of them was the absolute opposite of what my parents did.  On one hand, I tried to protect them; on the other, I wanted them to enjoy being kids, enjoying life; something I was denied…over and over big time!

It’s extremely sad when grown ups want to make up for lost time and unfulfilled childhoods. It puts so much pressure on the little ones AND the big ones. If only we could celebrate (religiously or otherwise) this time between Thanksgiving and the New Year with no animosity, jealousy, or feelings of rejection.

We’re all in this together. We’re all in the same boat. Seriously, we’re at a point where we must rely on each other. If we do not?  Many of us will be floating with nothing to keep us above water, no life ring, no life boat, nothing to rescue us from the frigid realities of a cold, cold world. If we don’t reach out to our children and each other, who will? I don’t know about you, but my list is extremely short.

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Kalima
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I too feel lost this time of year boomer. My best memories of Christmas were during my childhood, my loving grandparents, my mother,. and I have lost them all too soon. I try to continue our wonderful family traditions each year, but it is somehow never quite the same.

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Khirad
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I tend not to get too invested anymore. I remember one time, lord, what was I tweens, or early teens? Anyway, I would wrap myself in the magic of the season, shiny like foil wrapping paper, and when it came to take the Christmas tree down… then, spiraling depression. Come to think of it, it must have been around 13-ish ’cause I would be diagnosed with pretty severe depression (a family trait) not long after. I remember huddled outside on the porch, getting my gaze lost in the amethyst glow of the stars and the pinch of a soft cyan moonlit night at my cheeks, but too numb to feel much. Then I started thinking about the fact that my parents would die, I would die, we are ultimately alone in the world… if you never get your hopes up too high, you’ll never be crushed… I think that’s when I officially transitioned from child to adult, though it would of course take me longer to mature and figure out that life is worth living, even with all the setbacks and tribulations which come your way.

Anyway, I try not to get too emotionally attached to the lights and the glitter, but do appreciate my time with family all the more, time which is precious. My favorite holiday songs, as such, are those tinged with irony; bittersweet, but with a glimmer of hope, of warmth, in these, the shortest days of the year. It makes me ponder back to the origins of the holiday season. That of the victory of light over darkness. That we must store the flame in our hearths until our Spring comes again. The story of Jesus’ birth and Resurrection, of course, is couched nicely into this as well for those whom religiously observe Christmas.

In any case, I still haven’t gotten used to Christmas in the desert, though luminarias and Santa caps on Saguaros are pretty nifty. Perhaps that’s another reason it’s hard for me to get lost in the season. All the mnemonic cues I grew up with are no longer around me. -Save, of course, the ever ANNOYING music at the mall. And I think that’s another aspect to our feelings this time of year which is all too readily appreciated already.

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Pepe Lepew
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I have kind of the opposite reaction to this time of year — for a real bittersweet reason.

When I was a kid, my mum would be awful during the holidays — complaining loudly and bitterly nonstop about all the work she had to do, all the shopping, *having* to make 100 fruitcakes (that no one would eat), *having* to make a dozen different variety of cookies. Her and my dad would get into roaring arguments every Christmas over her complaining. *I* would argue with her that no one was *making* her do all this baking, etc.

When I was little, I came to literally dread the holidays because I knew there would be fights and it would be six solid weeks of Mum complaining. Then as I got older, it went from dread to resentment. I didn’t know or understand at the time that my Mum suffered from severe clinical depression, and to a very large degree, really couldn’t help how she was feeling. I know about depression now, but it was impossible for me to understand that when I was 10. The holidays just opened up this deluge of bad feelings for her and she would suck the whole family into it.

So, yes, there’s some unfulfilled childhood issues, but I’ve kind of determined to not put my loved ones through that kind of stuff and to keep the holidays a happy, fun, safe time.

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Khirad
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LOL, I’d always assumed it was some biological thing or something. My mom is the same way. Except we were always pretty chill. Just a palpable stress which would hang heavy in the the air.

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Chernynkaya
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Are you kidding? OF COURSE I feel the same! Lovely post BTW. My son’s perceptions are so different than mine, yet over time I’ve come to see why it is that way. As a small example, when he was a kid he always used to say I yelled at him, but I KNEW I rarely did. I made a point of not yelling. But in a sense he was right, because even though my voice was quiet, he knew I was indeed “yelling.”

On one hand, I have so many regrets as a parent. But on the other, I know my motives were good, and, bottom line, we love each other. He’s OK and I am “good enough.” I wish I was better, I wish he were too. But we love each other, and for that I am grateful.

And yes, Boomer, you are so right– we are all in the same boat.

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