I guess in some sort of mental way; I received my own visits from Christmas' past, present, and future.
I have mentioned how memories have flooded in and out of my consciences, whether positive or negative, and I try to slow down and analyze them. Perhaps there is some kind of lesson, or if it's positive, hopefully, I can soak it in just a little bit longer.
Christmas has changed exponentially since Kat, and I have been together. I suppose that is bound to happen after twenty-two years. Every story comes from the beginning of our relationship to some degree, I believe, but let's travel back to when we were 16 years old. Kat takes me to her Grandma's; at this point, I know it's near a VERY small town, is a farm, and there will be many people in a small farm home. Needless to say, not only am I a "city boy," but at this point in my life, the positive larger family get-togethers on my side were few. Perhaps I did it to myself, or it's something to look into further, but I often felt sort of black sheepish.
So we roll up, and there are hundreds of thousands of vehicles there, like at least 15, but it makes for a lot of people in a house. We enter through the walk-in door of the garage and into the house. As soon as you hit the screen door to enter the home, you can hear the roar of family talking, laughing, maybe even yelling, and you can smell what can only be described as a REAL homecooked meal; those potatoes and gravy, though, damn.
As I come around the corner of the kitchen and entryway, I see what anxiety probably told me was 15,146 people in a house made for 3, lol. Obviously, it's inaccurate, but there were many people in a smaller old farmhouse. It has taken me SO many years to really understand what was right in front of me the whole time; another family that eventually, continuously, and always support us. It may have developed later in life, it may have had its own unique context and story, or it might still be in the works. Either way, let this be another growth lesson.
Again, I can't tell you if it's because of the added sobriety, the mental health medication, or just what I continue to learn from, but as I now look back, I have memory flashbacks or talk situations over with Kat. Still, I have certainly learned so many great things from her family, and so much of it that I tried to push away. If it made me feel awkward and uncomfortable, I ran the other way or was VERY negative about it. That is another example of mentally pushing my wife negatively or in a direction that would be more comfortable for me. Looking back at Christmas past, I sure wish I had embraced and soaked in more of those moments. Back to this one memory that popped into my noggin.
After dinner, everyone continues to gather and catch up. Then at midnight, "Santa" drops a bag or two full of gifts outside an outside door. Everyone hears a knock on the door, and an adult yells at the kids, "Did you hear that?!" As the kids are all attentively watching the door, it's opened, and they all scream in excitement as the bags are brought inside. That is, "Grandma Great" takes over. Names are written on all the packages, and she reads them out and hands them to all the children; usually with some sort of comment only she can make. Well, my first Christmas there, sitting next to Kat, and then a package is laid on my lap with my name on it. "Steven," I remember thinking, what the hell? I got one, too, and Kat said she mentioned I was coming, so they included me too. I can't tell you how I felt then, but now, it seems like more of a big deal for some reason. Perhaps having an unconventional upbringing, to say the least, makes me overlook those things so I can just be negative.
Enter the present day, and sobriety has taken full hold, but much more positives. I walk into the community town hall place they have them now, and have after awkwardly announcing we made it to the whole crowd, 😵💫 That I am sure stems from some coping mechanism, class clown type crap, so instead of walking quietly and going in the corner or finding someone with a drink, I act like a goof to somehow break the ice or just being silly makes it easier for me somehow. Anyhow, I found myself in a groove, eventually speaking with her relatives and being more chill. Of course, when we left, I made some other goofy statement as we left, but I am sure some laughed 😉
Our little homemade family celebrated Christmas on Christmas Day, opened gifts, and had some brisket for lunch. It was pretty laid back and peaceful, much different from some of those past Christmas. At one point, we had six other places to go, and we had to haul our new little nuggets around. It was always so tense frustrating, and creating fights within our marriage and putting negativity on the holidays. Now that, at this point, I haven't spoken to my mom for almost four years, a lot sure has changed. I focus more on what family benefits I have missed over the last twenty-two years. Then I try to remember not to just live in resentment and realize I have a future with this amazing woman and amazing little women to continue creating new memories and new traditions or at least soak them in.
The holidays are another great excuse to party as well. OR it sure used to be. It goes without saying that it has stopped, but at one point affected so many decisions and the kind of attitude I would have. I was trying to push for us to leave earlier or ask if I could bring some booze with me somewhere. Either way, all in an effort to get drunk or get back early enough to get drunk with my people and, if I didn't have to work in the morning, drink well into the morning. This year, my wife hasn't left my side, and I am sure it's always been that way, but this year I probably just paid closer attention, especially since I find myself being a bit more emotionally needy these days. Anytime I felt weird, nervous, or stupid, she was there to comfort me or tell me it was all good. Yet again, even after all these things I have done and yet she continues to console and comfort me. Amazing.
No one can tell you what the future holds, but I indeed feel most positive than I ever have before. I now close my eyes and see visions of Kat and I much older, being silly with grandkids, spoiling the hell out of them, telling them stories, and most of all, loving them in only the way Kat and I can. We talk about the future a lot, but those conversations feel different these days. It was different not seeing any friends, however, something that seemed to take over so many decisions or time in the past. Our future, specifically our holidays, will continue to evolve if we evolve. I am very grateful for where I am right now, and I am very excited for the future. I need to continue growing, learning, and slowing down enough to have gratitude and soak it all in.
Again, I share these stories or experiences in the hopes that someone may be inspired to make a difference in their life someday. If I lived it and came out the other side, I owe it to the universe to help. I am a work in progress and still have A LOT of work to do. Thank you for coming along.
*None of the views, feelings, opinions, or statements in this blog represent the author's employer or the position therein.