To say that I loathe Christmas would be an understatement. Growing up, my mother always tried for a ‘Norman Rockwell‘ holiday season and she was always disappointed. When we were kids it was usually my father (not my step-father who I also talk about here) who ruined the day by drinking too much. I guess he couldn’t put his alcoholism away for a day. Or my grandmother would get angry about or something or a toy would break. Something would always happen. I was never the favoured kid in the family so I always secretly hoped that this would be the *year* where they would see me. But it has never happened. I usually got clothes from the fat ladies shop and there was the parade of me going to try stuff on that wasn’t going to fit because I was too fat. Sigh.
As the years went on there was always someone who wrecked Christmas. Generally in those years alcohol and 20-something young men were part of the family. There was my brother, a step-brother (or two depending on the year), a step-brother in law and my sister’s latest asshole boyfriend. They all seem to have one thing in common: they liked to drink and fight. This really did not fit with my mother’s new house in an upscale Calgary neighbourhood. One year, after a particularly bad Christmas, she asked me why this always happened. I quietly suggested that buying hard alcohol by the case was not wise and that perhaps if she kept them to beer and wine there would be fewer problems. It worked – the alcohol problems were gone but other problems stepped in to take its place.
One year, my step-father gave her a $10,000 cheque to buy her own present. That was a really bad year because we were stuck at Radium and could not really escape the stress and tension. The more stress there was, the more my sister and my mother would fight. My step-father, who never reacted in an emotional way, would just ignore her. It really did not seem to affect him at all. I thought it was quite funny and wished that I could be like him. Still, I waited for the year that I would be seen and valued by my mother and it never came.
Years went by and now we live in Maple Ridge and my mother and sister live in Calgary. My step-father is gone and my mother is devastated. Christmas means so much to her and she doesn’t know how to get it now. We have offered to have her come out here, where we would cook a turkey, put up decorations, get up early and open presents. But she always declines. She would rather spend it with my sister and her husband (who my mother hates). I guess she still doesn’t see me.