Every year I get a little case of the Christmas blues. I get teary-eyed at the more sentimental Christmas songs and remember when Christmas was perfect for me, back when I was a child.
I have wonderful memories of my childhood Christmases. Christmas Eve at my Aunt Kathy's house. All of us piled into the den, fire roaring. We'd pass out songs sheets and sing carols together while Matt and Dave played their guitars. I looked forward to it every year. The love, the family, all of it.
And then one year, I saw how my family wasn't being treated as well as some of the others. Better presents for some cousins and leftovers for my sister and me, my mom ignored by most of the people there.
The first year that I didn't go to my aunt's house, 1999, no one noticed I was missing until it was present time. Everyone seemed so upset that I had been given permission to spend the holiday with Mark's family that year. They said I had no reason to skip out on my actual family, even though the reason I wasn't there was sound. Mark's Grandma O. was battling breast cancer. It was very obvious that this would be her last Christmas and when she asked me to spend it with her, I knew I both needed and wanted to. She was an exceptionally loving lady and I was blessed to know her.
After that, I stopped going to be with my father's side of the family on Christmas Eve. I had a new family, Mark's family, even though we were still years away from getting engaged or married. It just felt so right to be with him, but I missed my family's singing tradition. I missed that 40 minutes or so when my family acted like a family and we all loved each other for a little bit.
My Aunt Kathy has passed away but her son is trying to get Christmas Eve going again. I got an e-mail asking us to come. He mentioned there would be singing. I was so happy! I couldn't wait to share my favorite memories with Mark and Annabelle... but then I decided to turn Scott down. We aren't going to go. I realized that I wouldn't able to recapture the joy I felt as a child, now as an adult. I realized that just the thought of having to spend a few hours with my family made me anxious, nervous. I don't want this Christmas marred with my own apprehension. It would ruin it for all of us.
I'm sorry that Annabelle will not ever experience the joy that I had singing with everyone all together. I know she would love it. But I know that we will make some new memories that will be important to us as a family. Memories that she will tell her future husband about. Memories that will not be clouded with sadness, only love.