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I guess the whole premise of this blog is a negative and rather childish attempt to let the world know all of my family “secrets”.  I wonder if I need to take a stepback and attempt to reflect on how it is I got here and to take some ownership in this crazy and broken relationship. Today it dawned on me the holiday season is about to kick off in high gear two weeks from now, where did this year go? I am also reminded of how this time of the year brings out the longing for all things not meant to be.

It almost always stings when people ask, almost out of habit, what are you doing for (fill in the name of any holiday)? My answer is always the same, it is just us, I am doing the cooking.  The real pain is the realization that there is really no where to actually go on holidays. Life is just us and our nuclear family with a few relatives on my husband’s side sprinkled in. My children have activities that consume my time in early to mid November every year and that allows me to have a proverbial out of sight,out of mind approach to the approaching madness for a short amount of time. Every year just the idea of making a huge dinner with all the trimmings feels about as fun as having surgery without anesthesia but I do it. I manage the grocery store with all of the other busy people getting things at the last minute, Every year the same meal gets cooked, the same games played at the table, a movie watched as we recover from our meals, the same Christmas play list is played during dinner. I often live vicariously through my friends and their stories of crazy relatives, special treats and as always it circles back to family. Every year I get sad and put on a happy face for the world and my family to see.

I am well aware that I over compensate for our lack of family with the kids during this time of the year. Under the Christmas tree there are miles of presents, thoughtfully wrapped and counted out to make sure that everyone has their fair share. The Christmas tree is filled with sentimental ornaments, many marking milestones in the kids’ lives. We even have beautiful hand made stockings from Ireland for the kids to connect them to their heritage and a tree skirt that I made in a sewing class I once took. All of the things still do not fill the void left in our lives from lack of close family. What does fill my soul during the holidays is my connection to my faith and the opportunities to teach my children about giving to others. Still sometimes I find that is not enough and I have to remind myself that I am grateful for having the strength to move on from all that life has dealt me. I am grateful that I have friends who breathe life into my heart and soul every day even if they are not aware of it. I am grateful that I have the family my husband and I have created. We are not perfect, but we are happy and secure. I am grateful most of all that every day I am given an opportunity to learn, to grow and to share. These things I will have to remind myself of every day when the weight of the holidays drag me down and I am annoyed by the lack of parking at the mall or the grocery store or even the annoying 24/7 Christmas music playing on the radio ( I like Christmas music trust me, I just like it on my own terms and only after Thanksgiving) and most of all when I feel down about not having more family to share the holidays with. I hope you all have many reasons to to gather and celebrate over the next few weeks and remember it is not about presents but more about presence