My mother showed her love through holidays. By this I mean she spent countless hours making Christmas crafts with me and baking with me. I gave up the cookbook with all those recipes to leave my ex sooner, I wish I had the strength to go back one last time and grab it. Regret has never been a dominant emotion in my life, probably due to my impulsiveness. Having both impulsivity and a penchant for regret would tear me apart. So I chose impulsiveness. I love my impulsivity, it's why I have done some of the most amazing things in my life. It's why I travel across the country with my kids, it's why I've slept beside Niagara Falls. I guess what I am trying to do here is forgive myself.
I couldn't show my love through the holidays as I have for many years. I worked too many hours for my body to handle. I did not have the energy to bake or do many crafts. I baked frozen pizzas, chopped cucumbers and fed them baby carrots. I made hotdogs and frozen lasagna. Then I climbed into bed exhausted and sore. I would call them to my room to cuddle before bed. I tucked them into bed on either side of me and we'd watch an episode of something silly on Netflix then I send them to sleep. Weekends were a bit better, we built a Christmas puzzle while listening to Stewart McLean, we made our hand angel wing ornaments, I did take them to see a movie.
You see what I am doing? I am listing all the things that made me a good loving mother over the holidays. I'm doing it for me infront of you all, looking for you to reassure me. I know I should be able to do this for myself. Today, as I put away the mini tree I had set up in my room days before Solstice, I'm in tears, because I have taken on the responsibility of making every holiday joyful for my kids. My worth as a parent is deeply rooted in this, and when circumstances beyond my control (or that I thought were beyond my control as pertaining to my unhealthy relationship) create stress around the holidays, I feel like I've failed to provide them with a quintessential childhood experience and the guilt is overwhelming. Every year, they get older and I think this might be my last chance to give them a great loving holiday.
Fuck you holidays. Fuck you in your stupid glittery ass.
Okay, so apparently I moved to the blame stage...
Really though, I have put too much relevance on these particular dates and it has created a lot of negative emotions within me. I have many great ways that I show my kids I love them on a daily basis. I don't need a fabulous magical holiday for them to know I love them. This is where I list them to reassure myself:
When we make dinner together and clean up together. When we cuddle on the couch. When we draw on each other's backs. When I ask them what favourite foods they would like me to buy for groceries. When I make sure that they are representing all four food groups in their lunches. When I teach them to do laundry, how to scramble eggs, how to tell if meat is fully cooked. When I validate their feelings, when I tell them "I'm sorry." . When I teach them their bodies are their own. This is how I show my love.
None the less, I miss that cookbook, but I love our new life as our little 3 person family. Trading that cookbook for a feeling of safety and security as well as my mother's forgiveness for leaving it behind... That is love. That is love that no amount of cookies and hand painted ornaments could ever equal.