When I was growing up life was hard. My mother, myself and two younger sisters were on welfare, and my mother was an alcoholic who very often put us in dangerous situations, brought her men home, passed out and the men came visiting my bedroom.
But we celebrated holidays. I remember our holidays. We always, always had Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house, which was often the only time I got to see my three uncles and cousins. Of course, I felt like the outlier, the bad seed; my mother would become drunk, and I would be embarrassed. My clothing was always shabby. But Grandma loved me so much as I was the first born grandchild and, excuse my candor, but the smartest thanks to my long-gone father who had been the valedictorian of his class. Thanksgiving meals were soup to nuts fantastic! Grandma was a wonderful cook.
Christmas with Mom was also a happy event despite being on welfare. We decorated our live tree with ridiculous amounts of tinsel, and Mom let us girls put the tinsel on so there were spots with just big globs of tinsel on the tree. We’d wake before the sun got up and scurry to the tree….rushing and looking for our names. We kept our gifts under the tree for weeks as the pine needles fell on the toys; each of us taking a section of the bottom of the tree to store our beloved pile that we would visit and adore.
At age 57, over the years as an adult I have saved and gathered some beautiful holiday decorations that I obtained at after-season sales. Boxes and boxes of exquisite items. Year after year during my children’s childhood I decorated our home with love and care creating a warm, welcoming, inviting, festive home.
My husband finds no value in this. I grow tired of his complaints about too many boxes and clutter in the attic. One of my sons now has a home of his own. Today, we emptied the attic of all of the Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations including an expensive artificial tree (bad experiences with cats climbing up a live tree!) to give to my son. I am delighted to give these items to my son.
And now, my home will look the same regardless of whether or not there is a holiday. My son tells me, “Mom! You will come to my house for every holiday!” And I love him so. But today, someone took the wind out of my sail. But it is my fault because I let him.
I hold my holiday in my heart.