I used to love Christmas. It was a happy time, a build-up of excitement right through December finally culminating on Xmas Day, a day of joy. The family would all get together, there’d be laughter, stories, eating, drinking, presents, and fun. Long summer afternoons. Little by little the joy of Christmas has been whittled away and the absence of Bumble seems to make that worse.
Looking back I think the disappearance of Christmas began with the death of my grandmother. It was at her house the family used to congregate each year. The loss of a loved one always puts a damper on celebrations regardless of when that loss occurred and Christmas is no exception. However, those of us in the family who get on well still manage to get together most years so I guess my Nana’s death was just the chip that started the crack in Christmas.
Work hasn’t helped fortify Christmas either as my job is now so busy in the lead up to Christmas that it’s hard to get into the holiday spirit. I forced myself to stop what I was doing the other day and put some tinsel up around the office to make it feel mildly festive. Rushing from one thing to another does nothing at all for making it feel like a special time of year….But most of us need to work (and overall I work for a great company) so my jobs contribution to the downfall of Christmas is only minor.
Having a more major impact on the destruction of the merry Christmas is our trouble conceiving Bumble. At nearly 2 years of trying this will be our second Christmas with no Bumble in sight. While that may not seem like much to many of you, when you understand that each month seems like a year to a TTCer, 2 years (and 2 Christmas’) is a very long time. So “alone into a cold new year” (thanks The Cure), we push through another Christmas being constantly reminded of what we’re missing, and the hole left in our life. Oh yeah, and some more pregnancy announcements just before Christmas, yay. Thanks guys, what a fantastic time to announce your awesome news.
Lastly, the in-laws. Things have been slowly deteriorating with my in-laws for a number of years. Not just from my perspective but also from my husbands. Neither of us can quite put our finger on what it is that has caused the issues, perhaps just the culmination of things left unspoken (or spoken too much) over a period of many years. In short, the impact on Christmas is this. Tantrums. Tantrums seem to be a regular part of our relationship with the in-laws and two years ago a tantrum was thrown over the Christmas present we gave them, apparently we hadn’t put enough thought into it. Never mind the fact that we agonised over their gift for months and probably put more thought into their present than all others combined. Bear in mind these are people who can easily buy something if they want it, so no easy task getting pressies for them! Anyway, not at all happy (really quite hurt) that this is their reaction, and extremely displeased that a tantrum was how it was dealt with. We were all away for a long weekend and me, my husband, and my little sister were not spoken to, other than grunted answers, for 2 days straight. Big blow up over that, family chat, supposedly all resolved. I tell my husband if this happens again that’s it, I’ve had enough. Guess what, it happens again about 7 months later. I pull the pin on the relationship and we don’t talk (me and his parents) for about 9 months. Nothing like some added stress to stop a Bumble! So last Christmas was a sour affair where we spent some time with my family, then my husband left to spend time with his….not before a nice argument with me thrown in there to make Christmas day super special. That’s two Christmas’ ruined by this drama.
Well, not wanting to ruin the pattern we’re currently working through the destruction of Christmas number three. I thought we had Christmas sorted. My family had decided to hold Christmas at my Aunty and Uncles house 600 odd kilometres from where we live. I plan to go as it’s been a long time since we’ve spent Christmas at their house, and tell my husband I completely understand if he wants to stay home and spend Christmas with his folks. He decides to come. At least half a dozen times I ask him if he’s sure this is what he wants. He says “yes”. We book tickets and eventually he tells his parents, look out here comes World War Three. Yet another tantrum ensues, placing enormous pressure on my husband. Trying to be supportive I tell him it’s up to him what he wants to do. Cue another week of agonising then the eventual decision to spend Christmas with his family. This is fine, as long as that’s what he wants to do then cool. The thing that really pisses me off is that I’d double checked with him countless times before booking tickets and only post tantrum does he change his mind. From my perspective it looks like throwing tantrums is the way to get what I want. Funny, I thought I was taught the opposite when I was a kid. Anyway, my husband is now coming with me until Christmas Eve before flying back home for Christmas Day, at significant extra cost to us. To me this is almost worse as I’ll have to ‘give him up’ right on Christmas and struggle through another Bumbleless Christmas alone. Never mind, at least he’ll be happy.
So as you can see, Christmas is becoming more and more a troubled affair. I’m just so thankful I’ll be spending Christmas Day with my wonderful, loving and supportive family who will hopefully distract me from the sour side of Christmas and I can once again feel the Christmas cheer slowly lost over the last 4 years.