A friend of mine messaged me on Facebook today and mentioned that she was sad that the new newsfeed settings didn’t allow her to see my posts. She had missed out on seeing all of Jet’s hilarious antics on Facebook because of it. I explained a workaround for that to her and hopefully she will start seeing my posts again soon. She mentioned a funny story about her Dad in her message that made me smile from ear to ear. Her dad passed away earlier this year and it was good to see her relate funny stories about him that I could tell were making her smile too. This is what Christmas is for. It’s about making memories with the people we love so that when the time comes that all we are is a memory, they have some wonderful stories to pass on.
This year has been tough for all of us in its own ways, but I’ve finally come to a place where I have made peace with all of the bad things that happened this year. My son officially became an adult. He’s legally not my problem anymore and I can’t tell you how much it hurts to know that when Christmas morning comes for him, all of the childhood magic will be gone from that tree.
I remember waking up on Christmas morning after I turned 18 and feeling like it was the end of an era, like everything had changed and it was true. Everything had changed. I couldn’t sit there in denial of my status and I felt everything that I had loved as a kid just slipped right out of my fingers during that 18th year of my life. I didn’t get that magic back until I had my son and now that my kids are nearly grown, I wonder how I will keep the Christmas magic alive.
I miss Lucy still, all the time. This has been a hard Christmas because she’s not here to smile at me when I get home. I still cry when I think about her licking her chops while slowly parking her butt on the floor as I took a piece of string cheese out of the fridge. Or good grief, that hoodie we put her in last January because her belly had been shaved and it was so cold that you felt it seep into your very bones, so we refused to send Lucy outside “naked” and my daughter improvised with a short sleeved hoodie that she never wore. Dear God did Lucy ever look adorable in that hoodie. When I think of her in that ridiculous get up with a big goofy grin on her face, I can’t help but smile, even though I have to reach for the kleenex while I’m doing it. There are so many good memories mixed in with all of the sadness here.
The thing that saddens me most though, at this time of year, is not what I have lost or what I have gained. It’s that I have a unique perspective on the lives of others and sometimes I see them miss opportunities that cause me to sit back and shake my head.
Having children young is a bit of a double edged sword. On the one hand, I’m done raising my kids and I’m not even 40. I can now go out and spend my days being wild and crazy and carefree while I’m still young enough to enjoy doing all of that stuff. On the other, I see all of my friends sitting around with their kids still young and still at home and occasionally, I want to smack them for being selfish and stupid.
Supposedly, maturity, and responsible behavior too, are things that comes with being a parent, but it doesn’t seem like these things always go hand in hand. Being a parent for me meant sacrificing a lot of things. I wasn’t always the perfect picture of responsibility, but I never dumped my kids off on my parents for weeks on end to spend time hanging out with my friends. The simple concept of not seeing my children every single day was enough to send me into panic attacks. The kids went with me if I wanted to hang out with my friends or my husband or I stayed home so the other could go out and have fun. Honestly, I wouldn’t have made it through those early years of raising children without a spouse to lean on and help take some of the pressure off. When the right man came along, I knew him when I found him because he wanted nothing to do with anything that came between me and my child.
I was a single parent for about a year and it sucked! The hardest part of it was that my son had to go with me absolutely everywhere. In some ways, that was very good because everywhere I went, we were together. If he wasn’t attached to my hip, he was sleeping in his carseat or his stroller or at home in his crib and I was never more than three feet from him. I never left the raising of my child up to a daycare center or someone else. My friends would come over on weekends, sure, but when they went home, guess who stayed and continued to raise the kids?
You guessed it!
So to all of my friends out there this Christmas, those of you that are wonderful parents, and you know who you are, give yourselves a big pat on the back and hug your children tonight. Those of you that aren’t doing such a good job know who you are too, and you need to do better. You should be spending time with your child, not your new friends or your new boyfriend/girlfriend, or even me.
Your kids will not be children forever. The time you have with them right now is so precious and I would love to smack you upside your big fat head for squandering it.
Some day, that little kid that looks up at you with adoration no matter how stupid you are right now, is going to walk out the front door with all of his stuff packed up in his car and he’s going to hug you and say good bye and go out there and live his life and he’s going to do it without your permission.
I’m not kidding. He is going to do this. You will not like it and there will not be one single thing you can do to stop it.
All you will be able to do is watch him go.
You will want every single moment of this time that you chose to waste back and guess what?
Ain’t gonna happen.
For your sake, and that of these kids, I have only one wish for Christmas.
It’s that every parent on the face of this planet gets their head out of their ass and puts their children first, because Christmas is about them and for them. It’s about creating memories and making every single minute count, because we only have so many minutes to spend loving the people we love and our children should always receive every single speck of love that we can give them. This should always come before everything else.
So, I say this with all the love in my heart. Get your head out of your ass. Love your KIDS. If you are personally responsible for doing something that is preventing you from spending every single day with your child outside of having a court order that prevents you from doing so, you’re doing it WRONG. So stop being such a selfish douche!
Go pick up your kids and love them, because they deserve everything you have to give and more.
This is my message of love, to my friends and family, I know it sounds cold and harsh, but it really is motivated by seasonal feelings and a desire to spread love, joy and cheer. Maybe not to you, but to your kids? For sure.