Holidays Without The Family: How I am Learning To Cope With Their Move

Today we were asked who inspires you to write your blog and it brought a tears to my eyes as I tried to write it. My parents are who inspire me to write, they have been the pencil that sketched out who I am today, and I thank them for that.

My father has taught me how to cook since I was in 2nd grade and put that first raw slimy chicken in my hands to rinse in the sink. I can still remember standing on a chair leaning over the sink rinsing this big bird and listening to my dad talking about how I needed to learn how to cook if I was going to keep a man. Little did he know back then that it takes more than food these days to keep a man happy.

Though I have to say, my mommy is my real inspiration. She has been the center cog in my family for ages. From telling my father that we are girls and not boys and should not be treated as such, to protecting us from the things that were going on during the bad times.

My mommy has been my rock of sanity when I started dating some crazy guy, or telling me why she did not like the last guy I dated. She has seen me through the triumphs and tribulations called life and has always been there for me when I needed to talk to someone.

This spring my parents moved from being a short 5 hour drive from Chicago to almost 18 hours away never bothered me at first, until Thanksgiving rolled around.

That Wednesday we had a half day at work and I dragged all day, never knowing why. I got home and turned on the TV, watched a few political shows before they went on their break for Thanksgiving and thought nothing of it. At about 9pm that night, I realized that this was going to be my first year without my mom and dad for the holidays and I cried.

I never really knew ho much my parents meant to me during the year because I talked to them so much on any given day it was as if I was still at home. After their move, I had one conversation with my mom on my birthday to let me know they made it to their new home OK.

Throughout the year my mom and I maybe spoke on average once every two weeks after we planned our trip to Hong Kong. You would think after 17 days together that I would be set on my mommy time, but that was not the case. THAT WILL NEVER BE THE CASE EVER.

I grew up poor in Chicago up until about 1990, the year I went to high school. Now I wrote a post about being bullied and all that so I will not rehash that, but the best parts in life during those poor times was the holidays.

Thanksgiving and Christmas my parents would invite all of their friends over for dinner and have someone to spend the holidays with, since many of them had no family left or were too far away to visit. Our doors were always open, even for the friends my sister and I had growing up.

When you are a poor kid, you learn to live with what you had and what was given to you. My parents always tried to make Christmas special for my sister and me, even if it meant that Santa was not going to bring me that Barbie house that I wanted. What I did get what the dollar store doll you find now that was hollow, clothes, educational books and games, and little stocking stuffers.

My sister and I use to snoop all the time trying to find everything that we could and see if we were getting anything that we flagged in the Sears catalog. I remember one time finding flash cards and a memory game that were all wrapped up, but learned how to gently peel the tape away and peek in. I'm sure my parents knew back then.

The Sears catalog was the best thing ever when they were still around. I would make my wish list from those pages and then write my letter to Santa. My mom would take the letters and "mail" them to the North Pole on Thanksgiving and my sister and I would wait to see if we would get what we asked for.

My mom probably still has a couple of the cards or letters my sister and I wrote to Santa. I am just like her in this way and keep things that are sentimental to me, even if it seems insignificant to others.

Since I could remember, my mom would take my sister and me to see the Christmas Trees From Around the World at the Field Museum, get hot chocolate from a street vendor on State Street and see the Marshal Field's and Carson Pirie Scott windows.

In the evening, my mommy and I would bake cookies for Santa. We would then stay up as late as we could for Santa while watching classic Christmas movies or listening to the Avon Christmas record my mom bought one year. Every year we would bake cookies and every year those cookies just disappeared.

I still believed in Santa until 5th grade, that is when I knew my mom and dad were Santa. Usually by Christmas Eve we would have presents under the tree, but this was the first year there wasn't.

I am sure my parents were out that morning frantically shopping for things that were practical and a few things that were not. Watching my mom running from her bedroom to the tree with wrapped presents was how the code of Santa was broken.

My grandmother was living with us at the time so may parents got her a TV, but for my sister and I it was the first year that we had what seemed like an MOUNTAIN of presents. Most of them were clothes, a watch, and a few little trinkets.

None of the presents were the big things that we wrote to Santa for, but we didn't care. We had gotten so use to not having a lot growing up that whatever we got we were grateful for.

As I write this I realize that this will be my first Christmas that I am not standing in my parents kitchen with my mommy baking cookies, for a party or their friends, and reminiscing about the old days. A funny one I will always remember is the Christmas I was in 1st grade and my dad came home from deer hunting Thanksgiving weekend with what we now call the Griswold tree.

We lived in an apartment on Glenwood and Winona at the time that did not have very tall ceilings. When my dad got this monstrosity of a tree (had to be about 16 feet to me back then) in the apartment, it hit the ceiling and had about 3-5 feet too much at the top.

We could not even fit this thing in a standard tree stand so my dad had to put it in a 5 gallon bucket with bricks to keep it standing up straight. After trying to cut off some of the trunk, my dad finally got frustrated and chopped off the top. That was the last year my dad decided to cut down his own tree.

This also happens to be the only year we did not get a picture of out tree. I also believe this was the year we started a tradition of watching the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Though I know I spent 2 weeks with my mommy in Hong Kong, the holidays just do not feel the same without her or my dad. Sooner or later I will learn to accept their decision for moving, but until then I guess everyone will have to accept why I have decided to spend the holidays alone and to stop asking me why I am crying.

Though I know my mom and dad are not tech savvy and will not get to read it, I want to tell them that I love them and miss them.

I want to wish every one a Merry Christmas and that I hope you get to spend it with your family.

And now I leave you with this last favorite scene from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacations...


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