The Other Side of Christmas

Part of what makes Christmas hard for me is that I didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time being a kid. So when I try to look at Christmas through a child’s eyes, it’s hard. My dad died when I was young, and I realize now that it sort of forced me to view life from a different perspective. I started hardening up at the age of 12.

Here’s what I wrote Christmas Day in 1992, the year my father died. We went to Disney World that year so as not to have to spend that first Christmas at home. I remember a friend of my mom’s had sent us a small balsam fir to our hotel room and we decorated it with paper cutouts of Mickey Mouse that we’d gotten in the hotel restaurant. I never expected anything to show up under the tree.

My mom and my brother were fighting, as had become the norm since my dad died at the beginning of the year.

I was 13 and I still believed in Santa Claus, though it would only be a week or so later that I would find out the truth. I realize now, at 27, how hard the whole thing must have been for my mom. And why it’s still hard now, 14 years later, for all three of us.

December 25, 1992
This morning when I woke up I didn’t want to get up because it was Christmas. But when I was finally jolted out of bed this morning, I was in for major surprise. Santa Claus came after all. He said I could have a puppet and one other thing and Rob could have a sword from Eurospain at the Marketplace. Mom got an outfit from this boutique by the Watercress Cafe. But we didn’t actually get that stuff, we just got a note saying we could get it. But the “V” bus never came, so Rob’s in a pretty bad mood. Rob says he’s sick of fighting with Mom, but he doesn’t stop. Neither does Mom. They’re perfect for each other.

He’s finished his speech. Clap, clap, hooray. Great job.

It was awful. He was just making Mom angrier. Actually, I dont even think Mom cared what Rob thought. Rob’s still going, always has beeing going, and probably will never stop going.

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14 responses to “The Other Side of Christmas

  • eclectic

    In retrospect, do you think it was better to be away that first Christmas or do you wish you could have stayed home? I’ve often wondered what I would do about the holidays if Mr. E weren’t with us, because the loss would be so overwhelming to me, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to clearly see what the kids needed most.

  • eclectic

    In retrospect, do you think it was better to be away that first Christmas or do you wish you could have stayed home? I’ve often wondered what I would do about the holidays if Mr. E weren’t with us, because the loss would be so overwhelming to me, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to clearly see what the kids needed most.

  • the Caitlinator

    To be honest, I don’t know whether the place would have made any difference at all. The only reason I remember that time in my life is because I wrote about it. We were all in so much of a fog that nothing seemed to matter much at all.

    But… I guess if we were going to be anywhere, Disney World was as good a place as any. There was plenty there to distract us from what wasn’t.

    I think, in the end, I got everything I needed. My mom, despite falling to pieces, provided all the love and care any two kids could ever want. And I suppose, that’s the best Christmas gift I could ever have gotten that year.

  • the Caitlinator

    To be honest, I don’t know whether the place would have made any difference at all. The only reason I remember that time in my life is because I wrote about it. We were all in so much of a fog that nothing seemed to matter much at all.

    But… I guess if we were going to be anywhere, Disney World was as good a place as any. There was plenty there to distract us from what wasn’t.

    I think, in the end, I got everything I needed. My mom, despite falling to pieces, provided all the love and care any two kids could ever want. And I suppose, that’s the best Christmas gift I could ever have gotten that year.

  • Anonymous

    Really sad Cait. I hope your Christmas’s have become more joyfilled over the year.

  • Anonymous

    Really sad Cait. I hope your Christmas’s have become more joyfilled over the year.

  • Jill

    Wow, I’m not even sure what to say to this. But I do hope that you have some peace and good cheer this holiday season.

  • Jill

    Wow, I’m not even sure what to say to this. But I do hope that you have some peace and good cheer this holiday season.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Cait. I came back and read this again. It reminded me of my husband and his memories of Christmas. They are not bright memories due to extreme poverty. The brightest memory he has is his grandmother’s banana cake. Now he makes it every year. We are disappoint when he doesn’t. And every year he goes all out with the decorations and gifts. It has become a totally big deal for him. I just sit back and watch the show.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Cait. I came back and read this again. It reminded me of my husband and his memories of Christmas. They are not bright memories due to extreme poverty. The brightest memory he has is his grandmother’s banana cake. Now he makes it every year. We are disappoint when he doesn’t. And every year he goes all out with the decorations and gifts. It has become a totally big deal for him. I just sit back and watch the show.

  • AnnieElf

    Hum, I am back again and notice that the above is anonymous. That was ME! How’d that happen. Oh, well, I’m now id’d. Annie

  • AnnieElf

    Hum, I am back again and notice that the above is anonymous. That was ME! How’d that happen. Oh, well, I’m now id’d. Annie

  • Moo

    I hope the Christmas holidays since have been much happier. But, I understand how you felt. My parents had nasty arguments when I was young. Every Christmas, we never truly felt “right” because we were supposed to be merrier than we felt.

    Merry Christmas.

  • Moo

    I hope the Christmas holidays since have been much happier. But, I understand how you felt. My parents had nasty arguments when I was young. Every Christmas, we never truly felt “right” because we were supposed to be merrier than we felt.

    Merry Christmas.

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