When The Holidays Are Hard
December 17, 2015

xmas

The holidays were never hard until they were hard.

Christmas was the season where everything felt right.  It was magic when I was little, consistent and comforting in my teens, it mean home when I lived far away, and maybe what it meant most was same.  Same traditions, same foods, same movies, same family.  No matter what was happening in life, Christmas could be ordered up similar and same.  It was never perfect, always arguments about politics that my dad would catch on the camcorder and things never went according to plan.  But, all this was to be expected right along with the Polish sausage and sauerkraut my grandma made and I never would taste.

Of course, there is change.  My grandparents are gone.  We’ve grown.  Have kids of our own.  Monkey bread has morphed into chocolate croissants and camcorders to iPhones.

Change is inevitable.  I struggle with it, but I accept it.  Same is different (think about that one).  There are things in your power you can choose to keep the same.  My grandma is gone but the Polish sausage and sauerkraut continues Christmas upon Christmas.

For me, same left five years ago when my parents spilt.  Christmas and every other day seemed to split right down the middle, too.  And, while everything felt shockingly different I lived on in the shell of same, living in my childhood home.  Some days it is comforting and some days it makes me crazy.

I’ve dreaded the holidays for the last five years.  Every day between has been hard, if I’m honest, but, I never thought I would dread the day we all call merry and bright.  The first two years I tried my darndest to keep things as close to same as possible.  And, every year after, Christmas was the day where change was crushing and would mock me the most.  Being a nostalgic and sentimental person can be overwhelming.

Christmas is a week away, and this year I’m determined not to dread it.  Somehow, this year feels transitional for me.  Although same is gone, gratefulness is gluing it all together like chunky white pre-school paste.

I don’t have the answer on how to deal with the holidays when they are hard, because I don’t think there is a set answer, a “do this” “don’t do that,” 5 step something or other.  I just know it to be a going through.  You just go through it.  The day.  The season.  The year(s).  And, you find you survive.  For me it’s been a grieving process.  The death of a family.  I’ve been grieving what was, what I thought would always be, and what could have been.  Whatever or whomever you have lost, you have to give yourself permission to grieve.

I’m coming to a place of being grateful.  I’m grateful for what was.  I had so many magical holidays and I live in a home that tells the story of two parents who did everything they could to give me a childhood with memories bigger than my  80’s sized barbie dream house.  These are things I give thanks for.  It’s a starting place rather than an ending place.

Maybe I’ve taken longer then most to find a new normal.  I’m steeped in tradition and home is my heart.  And, I can’t say we’ve reached a new normal yet…that may be another five years away.  But, for now, I don’t want to loose any more Christmas.  I want to be expectant and experience some magic, again.

Things won’t be the same this year.  Not for me.  And, likely, not for you.  In one way or another same will be different.

This year, when I sit under the tree, in it’s same spot since 1989 (pictured above), I’m going to try my best to make peace with different.  And, when a memory escapes through my eyes, I’ll wipe the tear of “not all being all together” away and whisper thank you.    Thank you, that although we are not all together at the same time, we can give thanks for what was and have hope for what could be.  It won’t be the same, but it will be something.  And, after that I’ll eat Polish sausage and sauerkraut.

If your holidays are not quite as you always pictured them to be, you are not alone and you are in my thoughts and prayers.   My prayer is that gratefulness will be your glue and hope will hold your heart through.

16 Comments

commented on December 17th 2015 at 2:04pm

Love love love your blog. Xoxo this holiday!

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replied on December 17th, 2015 at 2:21pm

Thank you! xoxox

Tian
replied on December 18th, 2015 at 11:29am

Thanks for this post. Exact what I needed to read this holiday season.

@Megan,

replied on January 4th, 2016 at 3:01pm

so glad these words found you at the right time! xo . t

commented on December 17th 2015 at 2:07pm

Wow, tears streaming and heart/stomach clenching. The middle IS hard. I feel you girl. Sending big hugs from Utah.

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replied on December 17th, 2015 at 2:26pm

Thank you. Hugs back. It’s hard to write, but it’s part of the process. xo . t

commented on December 18th 2015 at 7:15am

Oh Trina. Iove this. Thinking of you! Xo

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replied on January 4th, 2016 at 2:59pm

Thank you :) xo

commented on December 18th 2015 at 9:37am

Thank you so much for sharing your story. The holidays bring so many expectations. And some are always not going to be met. But you are right to not lose Christmas but make new traditions that feel right for your family. Wishing you a nice Christmas, great is down the road. Enjoy the parts that are good and move past the parts that disappoint. But mostly, look in to your littles faces and take joy from their joy. It’s the quickest way to a smile. Happy holidays!

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replied on January 4th, 2016 at 3:00pm

Thank you for your sweet words…. I did just that, kept my eyes on my little ones, and had a really nice Christmas. xo

commented on December 18th 2015 at 10:21am

Have a great holiday season! Change is always difficult especially when it involves loved ones. But I love that you have hope for the future and surprises along the way.

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replied on January 4th, 2016 at 3:01pm

Hope you had a great holiday season. Change is difficult… I’m grateful to have hope as an anchor ;) xo . t

commented on December 18th 2015 at 1:19pm

lovely miss trina, i wish we could sit down over a pot of tea … my heart has been heavy this year and the holidays are not going to be the same … haven’t for awhile now … and i too look at the world through rose colored glasses … hugs to you and your family xx

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replied on January 4th, 2016 at 3:03pm

Wouldn’t that be lovely? I hope you the holidays went well for you, even though they are not the same, and praying that this year will be one where your heart will feel light… mine too :) xo . t

commented on January 1st 2016 at 6:50pm

Thank you for this post. Even though I am only reading it now, it’s the perfect timing. Now that the holidays are finally over, I feel I can breathe a little sigh of relief. It is my prayer for you that you will learn to be happy with your new normal some day.

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replied on January 4th, 2016 at 3:04pm

Thank you so much, Leah. I believe I will be :) xo. t