True Story: my Christmas RebellionDawn Kotzer
What happens when the familiar, the comfortable, the freedom of choice seems taken away and we feel dragged into the dreaded landscape of a ‘painful unknown’.
At times, when tested by one of life’s real teachers, a.k.a our ExpecTations, we might spiral into fear and angst faster than Santa drops down a chimney.
At other times, we might try rebellion, hoping to find a way out of angst and into some Zen experience that delivers peace of mind.
Let me tell you what happened when I created my Christmas Rebellion-
20 some years ago, I left my marriage. Unexpectedly I became a mother who didn’t live with her young son, often separated for weeks at a time.
Many months after the split, the first Christmas found me sitting with confusion, grief, anger and a very fractured relationship with my own family.
My son’s dad eroded our joint custody comfort zone by demanding that the holiday revolve around his plans.
Without telling me, my mother invited my very unhappy, lonely and sad ex-husband to join our family celebration.
I couldn’t really blame any of them. We were all sad, angry and confused, caught up in a situation that no one knew exactly how to cope with.
But man…I wanted to blame someone; anyone-everyone-including myself for a Christmas gone very wrong in my eyes.
The best solution I could come up with was to spend lots of time alone.
That wasn’t really the answer but it made things easier.
Did I mention that at this time I made my living as a Floral Designer?
Working hard at making everyone’s holiday cheery and bright was my specialty.
I had a love-hate relationship with my career during Christmastime. I was so miserable.
It felt like I had to watch the holiday parade from the sidelines.
By the time my son arrived at my house for Christmas, people were way past hanging stockings; they were hanging new calendars instead.
Finally, f-i-n-a-l-l-y…. I realized I DID have a SAY in all of this.
I could create a Christmas with my young son that we’d both LoVe, yet didn’t take away from anyone else’s celebration.
This is what I decided to do.
With GreAt FanFare, I declared that Christmas Eve would happen the day my son arrived on my doorstep…whatever date that was.
I will never forget the look of confusion turned to wonder on my young son’s face the first time I first told him that Christmas Eve was the day he arrived at my house…no matter when. Period.
“but Mom, you’ll miss Christmas.”
“No way.” I said. “Christmas comes when YOU are in the house.”
A Big, B-I-G smile took over his face as he instantly hopped on board this holiday train.
The first thing we did after he arrived was to head into the forest, cut down a tree that called our name and drag it back up hills, through forest and over snowbanks.
Tired but happy, we set it up and decorated it with our favorite bling.
Did you notice the crazyhaired red flocked angel topping the tree in the photo above?
Tacky, poorly made and cheap as dirt, she’d been around forever.
In Ian’s eyes nothing else could crown our Christmas tree.
We hung stockings, listened to carols, drank hot chocolate, laid colourfully wrapped presents from family and friends under the tree. Then we’d turn off all the lights and stand in darkness watching the tree lights winking and blinking with a ‘night before Christmas’ excitement.
The next day, the calendar might show Dec. 27, Dec. 29 or even Jan. 1~
We paid NO attention. It was Christmas Day at Mom’s house.
Some of our extended family played along and waited to wish us Season’s Greetings until we celebrated our day together. I often wonder if they knew what a gift they gave me by offering my Christmas Rebel so much space and understanding.
Occasionally, my now grown son mentions what “Mom’s Christmas” meant to him.
Creating Flexibility for holidays made his childhood better and now gives his family permission to do the best they can celebrating special days in a way that makes sense for them.
All those years ago, I had no clue that allowing my Christmas Rebel to help me adjust holiday expectations would turn into the gift that keeps on giving.
So from my rebel to yours,
Best wishes for a little Christmas Zen and blessings for ‘Christmas NoW’, no matter how or when you get to celebrate.