2000.12.27 christmas, no cheer:

well, after almost 10 days of chaos, it would seem that the planets have aligned closely enough to allow me a moment to do an update. i'm sitting at home right now, wrapped in my comfy bathrobe, alone alone alone. for the first time in i don't know how long.

took my yearly trip to visit my grandmother and assorted family on my mother's side for christmas, and fell further into this bad habit of mine. it seems like every year i get more and more disconnected from everything that's supposed to mean the most to me–my family and friends. almost as soon as i got to my grandmother's house, i went down into the basement, picked up the awesome Batman: Black & White that Paul got me for Christmas, and read half of it before people realized i was missing and started coming downstairs to convince me to come up and hang out.

part of the thing is, there is so much not happening in my life, nothing of real importance anyway, that i rarely have anything to talk about. and, as Paul pointed out, pretty much everyone in my family is blindly Republican, so i really don't have anything more in common with them than blood and a little history. and despite what people try to say, that is just not enough.

so, i'm hanging out at my grandmother's house for four days, being almost totally anti-social, getting depressed about the fact that i seemingly can't connect on a human level with anyone anywhere anytime, and the fact that it's christmas and the joy and happiness i used to feel as a child just isn't there anymore. the excitement at waking up in the morning and seeing what "santa" had left in my stocking and under the tree is gone. it's just another day in a repeating series of 365 that never seems to end, that just constantly loops.

two of my younger cousins are married, one already has a new baby and the other is expecting. i'm not alone in the singles arena, but these cousins are like 5 or 6 years younger than me. i always, growing up, figured that i would get married around 21, have a child by 25 and be able to spend christmas at grandma's with my loving wife, making goo-goo eyes at her and basking in the warmth of her interactions with my aunts and female cousins while the entire family gathered around and gushed over my adorable baby. i never expected to be the 27 year old, single, anti-social deviant of the family. the basement-dweller.

then christmas day comes, we're all gathered around in the living room, all… christ, like 25 – 30 of us, unwrapping presents, talking, laughing, carrying on. i get more boxes than i really expected too, which is nice, i suppose. but then i look over at my mom & dad, sitting over there in a corner of the room, mom holding (my cousin's) new baby with a big motherly smile on her face, dad sitting in the floor next to her, and i notice that there is only ONE bag, only ONE present of any kind in their vicinity. i looked more closely at my mother's face, and thought that i could see–through the happiness at watching her family's joy–a little sadness, a little dissapointment, a question. i felt like i could see the same emotion that i'd felt on a few occasions as a child (or a teenager) when i felt like i'd not gotten quite enough presents to really know that i was loved. (which was really silly of me, but we all know how that goes). MY PARENTS had only gotten ONE present. three children, mom's seven sisters & brothers, their wives, their children, and only ONE present. once i came to this realization, whatever joy i had was no longer there. i focused on the look in my mothers face, the look that was deeper than the almost eternal mask of happiness she carries. i looked at my father and saw the same look that i must have had on several different occasions throughout the years, saw the same body language, the same almost unnoticeable indication of dissapointment. the same struggle to maintain the masks of joy that are required on christmas day.

after the christmas wrapping carnage was over, i carried my new things down into the basement, threw on my coat, and went out for a smoke. the one place i was sure i wouldn't be interrupted. i thought about my parent's one present, i thought about the fact that i'd had to call my parents two weeks ago to ask for my christmas money early just so i wouldn't overdraw my checking account. i thought about all the other times i've had to call on my parents to bail me out of some self-inflicted financial hardship or other, and how they've always come through for me. i thought about how i was able to buy presents for most of my friends (whom i love dearly) but i wasn't able to buy a single thing for my parents.

next year will be different. i'm going to make an effort to save money throughout the year so that, when christmas rolls around, i'll have a nice little stash set aside for transforming my parents falsely joyful faces into faces of real happiness. into faces that say that they know they are loved.

next christmas will be different.

- 03:30 pm :: permalink
categories ::  Family - Nostalgia