The Holidays Are What You Make of Them

Originally posted December 8, 2008

The holidays are weird.

I suppose anyone who’s lost a parent at any time will tell you the holidays can be tough. That’s no big surprise. And eight years after the fact, I should probably be over the reaction of wanting to cry for my mommy the first time I smell a Christmas tree each season. I think I am for the most part, but sometimes it still gets me. And always when I least expect it.

Each holiday season has gotten a little less sad, so much so that now I can only describe them as being “off.” Up until recently I’d been a bit of a vagabond during Thanksgivings and Christmases, staying on people’s couches, showing up to celebrate other people’s family’s holidays. I certainly never lacked for invitations, but I still felt like more of a spectator than a participant in these traditions. It’s not that I felt I was imposing, per se, but I didn’t feel like I was in the right place, either.

Then I met the boy. And we started dating. And that first November he asked if I wanted to spend Thanksgiving with his family. And for lack of a more binding offer, I did. And it felt so … nice. At ease. Right. Not like I was crashing someone else’s holiday. So I did the same thing for Christmas. And I felt at home. Weirdly, oddly at home — more than I did with the extended family or friends I had been spending those days with previously.

That pretty much sums up the nature of our relationship, the boy’s and mine. Within no time at all, he felt like family. He was family. And so this year, when we learned his family would be out of town for Thanksgiving, we opted to have our own — just the two of us — rather than finding another person’s holiday we could join in on. I wanted to share this holiday with him, to do our own thing. And it was great. I roasted my first turkey (a mighty fine one, if I say so myself). We made our own massive feast, which we lazily didn’t begin until late after being distracted by A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and then several episodes of Anthony Bordain’s No Reservations. We didn’t eat until 10 p.m. It was relaxed and comfortable and exactly what I wanted.

I’m not saying I’ve solved the general melancholy that I still experience from time to time during the holidays. It’s still there, and I’m sure it always will be in one form or another. But maybe all holidays will feel “off” until I make my own traditions, with my own family, rather than try to recreate what I used to have with someone else’s. And right now, that family is me and him. And ‘Smo, of course.

(Artwork courtesy of The Graphics Fairy)

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Filed under Life, the Universe, and Everything, Sight, Smell, Taste

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