Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together.
November 3, 2011 4:41 PM Subscribe
How can you "fake it" or "power through it" or "put on a brave face" to make the holidays as normal as possible, when other people depend on it?
posted by anonymous to human relations (26 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Every family has "that year," the year someone died, or got cancer, or ran away from home, or got divorced, or flunked out, or got into drugs, or went to jail, or whatever. So when it comes time for the holidays, how do you summon enough energy to do the cooking and shopping and wrapping and tree-trimming and etc., and also feign enough enthusiasm to allow the people in your care to be comforted by the ritual even in spite of the difficulties?
In our particular case, I'm a single mom of two teenagers, and one of them has had a truly awful, terrible year burdened by mental health issues that have caused him tremendous suffering and also affected the entire family. It's ongoing and will last through the holidays for sure. Although he will likely not want to participate, I think it's important to have the festivities around him continue as normally as possible. Important for him but also for his sibling, my other child, who deserves to have as much normalcy as possible. And although I am exhausted and at this point even apathetic about it all, I know it will probably be good for me to do it too.
If it were just me, or just me and the boyfriend, I might say let's just skip it this year and go away for the weekend. Our relationship has been strained by the difficulties of the year as well, so a weekend away sounds like heaven. But it's not about us, we can go away another time.
I am not looking to put a false front on some picture-perfect hallmark holiday season that doesn't exist in the real world. I just want to put my own exhaustion/apathy/anger/fear/suffering aside and allow my children to be surrounded by the familiarity of their family rituals during a difficult time.
So how can I do that? Please share your stories as well as any advice you might have. But please don't tell me to just shelve it this year. It's not about me, it's about my kids. (And yes there is lots of therapy going on, and I'm getting regular exercise and fresh air and all that good stuff. No meds for me aside from melatonin at bedtime & non-troublesome beer w/the bf on weekends.) Thank you in advance.