"You don't know what you are doing for Christmas?" she asked, like she didn't believe me.
"Not really." By the time I had sort of explained, the poor girl had tears in her eyes. Actual tears. I am not kidding. I made someone cry because of how crappy my Christmas is.
Imagine how I feel.
Christmas is the loneliest time of the year for me. Its hard watching my friends and colleagues enjoy their families, look forward to presents, children, holiday meals... My family is disjointed and dysfunctional. Even when my parents were still together, most holidays were pretty low key. Easter was non-existent. To this day, I remember writing (in purple ink) in my little diary about how sad and angry I was one year when we didn't do an Easter dinner with the grandparents and aunts and uncles (clearly, this was before I stopped eating ham). Since my parents got divorced and since my father has gotten so sick, finding ways to celebrate holidays has gotten more and more difficult, and planning what my brother and father are doing has rested largely on my shoulders for more years than I care to count.
Dad is legally blind and on dialysis. I don't know if I've mentioned that before. I can't just say "come on down to my house. I'll cook." He can't drive, and he can't eat anything that I could cook (the few vegetarian things that he wouldn't turn his nose up at aren't on the dialysis diet). Regardless, its still up to me to determine what is happening on Christmas for me, my brother and my father. I haven't yet figured it out, and I wish I could just flee. We will end up at dad's house for a little while. Dad still lives in the house we grew up in, but its only him. The house is collapsing on itself and its really a depressing place to be on a normal day, let alone Christmas.
Once Dad is taken care of, I will likely head to a dinner with my mom's boyfriend's family. They are great people, and always very welcoming. And very Christian. Not overtly, but I have to watch my mouth and be polite, which puts me on edge. Despite how welcome they make me feel, I am an outsider in their family circle. As much as I appreciate them including me, they aren't my people. But if I want to see my mother on Christmas, I have to show up there.
And I haven't even launched into being responsible for figuring out what it is that my brother wants, and taking dad shopping to get it.
Two more days and it will be over for another year.
I hope that you, dear reader, are having more fun with your holidays than I am.