A long relationship often includes sayings, inside jokes, and traditions. This Christmas was one of the last firsts in a year of change. In loss, the firsts after the loss can feel challenging. Sometimes they offer a fresh start, but often are mixed with moments of tears.
This week I definitely felt the need to stave off the tears, which have now finally bubbled to the surface. While our marriage was not meant to last, my then husband was always generous at Christmas.
He loved to say “Christmas means presents.” Last year was the first year that the gifts under the tree did not matter to me as much. In fact, he ended up returning several of the gifts due to my apathy. It was not good and I feel badly for that.
By that point, I was already emotionally checking out of the marriage. It would be two weeks later that I would not go on a trip to visit his parents. Then a week and a half after that, I decided to proceed with asking him for a divorce marking it on my body with my first tattoo.
After the fiasco that became my first “relationship” post divorce, I took this month to again evaluate what felt good and what made me happy. There was not going to be that special anyone to buy my presents to put under the tree. This did not make me sad.
I enjoyed the independence this year of determining what I wanted for Christmas. While I bought myself some presents to put under the tree, mostly I pampered Merlin with gifts.
I spent the month redecorating the house and making it feel very much my own – taking ownership of it fully. It now fully has a mid-century modern flair with a feminine touch plus I have my first bed of my own since college from Tuft & Needle.
Last Friday after my final deal of 2017 closed, I headed to La Jolla. My childhood friend throws a Chrismakkah party every year. For the last few years, I missed the party. I felt compelled to attend this year. It was great. I am getting better at attending events solo.
The next day, another friend and I enjoyed lunch with my 97 yr old Grandma.
Then I shared time with my Mom, who had left me a little care package when I checked into the hotel – super sweet.
I capped off Saturday heading down to Mission Hills where my Dad had a house most of my childhood to share the evening with my bestie in that neighborhood and her family.
On Sunday, I enjoyed coffee, a walk and shopping with my Mom. She got my humor about the whole dating experience this year and pulled out funny sweatshirts to show me. We also found some decor for the new vibe in my house.
Then I met up with the friend from childhood for lunch in the Village where it took us eons to get to actual lunch as we kept bumping into people. In the former life, this would have felt stressful. On Sunday, it was just pure fun to run into people that I had not seen in 20 years.
For Christmas Eve, I joined my 88 yr old Grandma for church followed by dinner with her lifelong friends.
While I know that my framily aka my local family bought me presents, I am more excited for the time we will share when I cook them dinner this week.
When I went to sleep on Christmas Eve, I truly felt that this year Christmas meant presence. There were no gifts that were going to take away the bit of sadness this year that I was not sharing Christmas with my then husband yet I was able to fill up my soul in a different way.