As the holidays approach I cannot help but reflect on the past and how I grew up. I often reflect on my childhood because it is what has made me who I am today . Though I would never want to relive my childhood I am very grateful for what I did experience. And because of my childhood I am trying to create a different atmosphere for my children just so that they can have an authentic experience …not because mine was horrible because it was not . Just in case my parents are reading this and think that I hated my childhood. I actually had a wonderful time as a child and I appreciate the experience more and more daily .
Back to what I was saying . When my parents were first married my father moved to Mississippi and brought his bride with him. So my mom left her mom and dad and my dad left his mom to begin a new life here. My grandfather lived here with his wife and my father had a few sisters here but it wasn’t the same when you don’t have your mom for the holidays. I don’t know what they did in the beginning but I do know when I was a child we traveled to the midwest a lot. As we got older my mother and father decided to create our own traditions during the holidays. The first years were sort of hit and miss because I realized very early that my mother missed her family and some times early in the mornings or late at night during the holidays there were lot’s of tears. For years my grandmother sent boxes of toys and clothes for us during Christmas and we would always film ourselves opening our gifts and talking to her on the phone as we opened them .
It wasn’t until I was 13 that my grandmother ( my mom’s mother ) moved to Mississippi and during those times I saw my mother in full submission to my grandmother as she prepared Christmas dinner , Thanksgiving dinner and any other holiday meal for our family . We would invite my mother’s god daughters over and we created a family . Pretty soon our holiday’s were filled with more people including a cousin who moved down with my grandmother . My grandmother was only with us for only 3 or 4 before she passed away and it left a big hole in our family life. The first year after her death my parents church made sure to do things to ensure that our Holiday’s weren’t as sad or lonely .
Without fail you would see our home filled with people from our church for the holidays. We called them extended family. As we got older and as our church grew we realized that we wanted to have more memories as a family and begged to dwindle down our holiday festivities. Though we still had an open door for the church , we only really invited one person to all of our holiday functions. Her title was personal assistant to my mother but to us she was more than that , she was family and we loved her more than we could have ever expressed.
Every holiday we shared some sort of theme: camo Christmas, country Christmas, pjs for Christmas a Charlie Brown Christmas and more we planned Thanksgiving , Easter , birthdays and weekend trips . Though we complained about doing dishes together every year without fail you would see us in the kitchen doing all the dishes and fussing all the while. We didn’t just spend holiday’s together , we traveled together , shared hotel rooms , she was my son’s godmother and I considered her my other mother. I opened my heart to her and I felt like she opened her heart to me . The first year we spent any holiday a part we called each other at least 20x and then one day she disappeared. It was like she fell off the face of the earth , literally . We had no explanation and there were people who knew where she was and why she was gone but they would never say anything . Almost like they wanted us to feel bad that she was gone and had left us with no explanation. My boys would ask about her and I had no words for them . I would ask others about her and they had no words for me. Pretty soon my son’s stopped asking . I stopped wondering but there was still a hole there much like the one when we lost our grandmother. I showed her picture to my middle son and asked him who she was (he was 4 when she left) he had no idea. My heart sunk …a little.
Our holiday events changed forever we never invited anyone else. One by one we got married , my eldest brother first , I got married the next year . We added two new babies to our family and the next year two more the following year there was one more and one day I looked into the kitchen and saw a full room of laughter and fun . Though we were full…we still had the question that loomed over our heads. My eldest son graduated from high school and finished his first year of college …we still have not heard one single word. What happened?
See growing up as a PK you realize pretty early that you cannot trust everyone , when people like you they like you and when they don’t they don’t . They will speak about you with great respect when they are around you and when they leave you could possibly be the worst person ever. One day you can be everyone’s favorite person and the next day they hate you . We get it . It comes with the territory . We are used to serving and continuing to love people no matter what . But we don’t always receive everyone into our personal life. Though we are very transparent and very open its not everyday that we allow people just to cross the line and become ,”family.” I am sure you will not understand and I am not trying make you understand that part but just know that if I ever call you family …I mean it .
I really thought I had a lesson in this …but I do not . I really thought I understood my point when I thought about writing this but I don’t sheesh! If you know who I am talking about tell her to call me …I guess