Last night, I called my dad to see if he wanted to do something because, wow, today is Christmas Eve. We haven't seen each other in a month or two and against my common sense, I miss him a little. It took me ten minutes to dial his number. I hung up three times before I actually let it connect. So finally his voice echoed through my cellular device and my breathe caught. Now I'm an excellent speaker. I compete in public speaking competitions and I've won numerous awards for them but asking my dad to be with me on Christmas Eve made me hesitate, it made me stutter. And then, my amazing, wonderful dad said he would "have to think about it".
So forgive me if I'm not in the holiday mood. Forgive me if visions of sugar plums don't dance in my head. I miss when I was little and Christmas meant something. Even after my parents separated, it was still amazing.
Christmas Eve was spent with my dad and his family. At some point during the night one of my brothers sneak off outside. Usually it was my redheaded oldest brother. And he would run around outside the living room window with a flashlight cupped to his nose. The red glow always made me gasp. I would sit on the couch with my face pressed hard against the cold glass and just stare in awe at my own Rudolph. When he finally "flew" out of sight, I turn back around on the stiff couch and everyone would giggle from my own red nose. We'd have a huge dinner and I'd always set the table. I got to use my own silverware that my grandma has been giving me since kindergarten. They have sea shells on the handle and I would get to choose who got to use them 'cause they were the "most specialest". I would sit next to my dad or my grandma or sometimes even I got to sit next to my uncle who was my favorite. He lives in Washington so he only flies in once a year, if that. And after consuming copious amounts of food, we'd head back into the living room to open presents. Those years, my grandma would always take me shopping. I'd get a hundred dollars to spend so everyone always got their own special something from me. My brothers didn't get that. I did. I was special then because I was the first girl in several generations. Back when I was little, I was the princess.
And waking up Christmas morning? There's never been a feeling like that. I was first up. Half the time I'm not even sure I actually slept. Rather I believe it was a dream like state passing the hours, minutes, seconds till I was allowed to get out of bed. 5AM. I'd go and prod my mother. She'd yell for me to go back to bed but...I'd sneak into the living room. Surrounding our mix matched tree were three huge piles. Each had a different wrapping paper and on of each was an individual stocking. The three of us had Harry Potter stockings. My oldest brother was Ron (red hair), my second brother was Harry (dark brown hair), and the third was Hermione, me. I'd spend the next long while picking up each present oh so carefully and trying to figure out what was hidden under the snowmen. My dad would come to our house around 8AM so that was more of the time we actually opened the presents.
Later, sometime in the afternoon, we would go to my mom's family's Christmas. My cousins and I would play tag outside while the men inside watched football and the women folk gathered in the kitchen like a picture of true holiday cheer. It was good. We would all cram into the dining room that's only used for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Elbows smushed elbows and you never could tell who you were playing footsie with under the table. It was love. So we would eat, eat, and eat. Everyone had seconds, most had thirds. My second brother is more of the shy nature so he'd sneak off into the back room where my Nana kept the desserts and he'd dive right into the cherry yum-yum. We all knew that's where he was. It was tradition. Afterwards the children would all grab their parents arms and try to drag them into the huge atrium where we'd open presents. The three girls, myself included, would sit on the big, squishy white couch and have ours handed to us. It was happy.
That used to be Christmas for me. Now, I'm not sure what it is. I've spent my Christmas Eve writing this, watching a variety of movies with my fever ridden little sister, napping with my old boyfriend, and driving the frost bitten asphalt doing errands for my mom. Tomorrow, we'll open presents here at my mom's boyfriend's home and at some point, we will probably meander down to my Nana's to make an appearance, eat, collect presents, etc. But I'll hug all my family members after they disguise their hatred filled glares. I'll smile at them though theirs will only be reflexes. And I'll laugh, not because of the awkwardness that will surround us but of the memory of when I was a princess, instead of the reality where I'm a disappointment.
So, forgive me my lack of cheer but your holiday season is just another one of my seasons.