I love Christmas NOW, as an adult. But as a child-of-divorce? Notsomuch...
My parent's divorce made holidays like Christmas and Birthdays uniquely stressful.
“I’ve always loved Christmas,” I insisted the other day to a friend after she hinted that I seemed rather Grinch-y about something.
But no sooner did the words leave my mouth than I realized wait, that’s not true. That’s revisionist history.
I have not, in fact, always loved Christmas.
Let me try and explain.
To put it plainly, growing up in a divorced home with parents who didn’t (couldn’t?) cooperate at holiday times was stressful AF.
Prior to the divorce (which happened around ages 8-10 for me… it was a lengthy, messy process), I’m sure, like most kids, I loved Christmas (and I’ll lump Birthdays in as well). I don’t have a ton of memories before age 8, but many of the ones I (feel like I) do have involve Christmas time. Specifically going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the Martin family gathering every year on Christmas Eve!
All the cousins going downstairs to the basement while the adults filled our stockings
While in the basement, going back and forth from watching bits and pieces of The Christmas Story in one room and shooting pool in the other
Mandarin oranges at the bottom of the stocking
A new ceramic clown figurine every year (for me, anyway. Each grandchild was assigned an animal at birth, so that my Grandma would get a new figurine every Christmas for each kid. For reasons unknown, I was the only one not given an animal. Instead, I was assigned clowns. Some day I’ll share with you my clown collection. You’re welcome)
Hearing the Christmas story read (and even one year, getting to be the kid to read it!)
Those memories are warm. They’re fond. They fill me with lightness and love.
But post divorce? Christmas started to suck.