This is a particularly hard post to write, because I revisit this memory every Christmas. I try not to, but when it's quiet and I'm alone, my brain goes back and I instantly relive the moment...
I don't know exactly how old I was, but I was fairly young. My sister (6 years my junior) was little enough to sit on my lap, so I'm guessing she was a toddler? So I'm guessing I was around 6 or 7? Maybe 8, but I'd almost say I was younger - by 8 I knew a lot of what I was and wasn't supposed to do.
Our Christmas' were pretty hectic. We were expected to go there, go here.. we were always on the move. Now as an adult, we make one trip. Christmas Eve is spent with outside family and Christmas Day is spent here.. no rushing or yelling.. just enjoying the kids, enjoying Christmas.
I will say now, that if it wasn't for my children, I'd have no use for Christmas. Not only is it a highly commercialized endeavor these days, but as I mentioned.. it holds not-so-pleasant memories. Every year I get very anxious and usually wind up taking some kind of anti-anxiety med. A couple of years ago I tried to muddle through without anything.. and wound up having a very bad panic attack. Very bad.
The Christmas routine consisted of spending time with my grandparents on my mother's side on Christmas Eve and then Christmas morning we went to my grandparents house on my father's side. We as kids, couldn't just get up and enjoy the morning at home... we had to get up when it was still dark, have dad yelling at us to, "Hurry up Hurry up Hurry up!!" as we scrambled to get dressed and get downstairs before he overloaded. I say before, but normally he did anyway. I wonder now what kind of anxiety he had during that time of year and why. I mean, he was always so uptight and on edge.. and still IS that way. As a grown woman, I HATE going over there for Christmas... you just never know what kind of 'mood' he'll be in.
This particular year I overheard my mom asking my dad if my Aunt (his sister) and her kids were going to be there Christmas Day. See, my Aunt and my cousins were the opposite of us. They had very little money, their house was always a pig sty, their dad was never around (they divorced right after my youngest cousin was born) and my Aunt was generally thought to be 'crazy'. But the one thing they DID have.. was love and affection in their house. To this day, I say they grew up with FAR FAR more than myself and my siblings did...
Anyway, as kids my cousins were not well behaved. I don't mean the normal not behaved.. I mean, they were really NOT well behaved at all. I think maybe it was an attention thing? I don't know for sure...and who am I to analyze? I just know that when all of us got together, it was majorly chaotic and my mom couldn't handle it.
So she asks my dad if they'll be there and he says something to the affect of, "My sister will be there, but the kids will be with their dad..." to which she replies, "Oh good because those kids drive me nuts..." or something along those lines. I don't remember the exact words, only that she was glad that my Aunt's kids would not be present.
So fast forward to Christmas morning that year. We were all sitting around waiting for Christmas breakfast to finish cooking and my Aunt arrived. I asked her, "Aunt *****, are ***** and ****** and ***** going to be here today?" And she replied with, "No, they are spending Christmas day with their dad." To which I then proceeded to repeat what my mom had said.
Yes, I know what you're thinking. "OMG... why did you DO that!?" To which I'd have to reply, I have no clue on this earth why I thought it'd be a good idea to repeat anything either one of my parents said. I just had heard it and repeated it... for lack of better things to say in response to her answer? I don't know and I can understand being peeved about it, believe me, I think I'd be a bit peeved myself if my children decided to repeat something that was less than nice?
The next thing I know, she's yelling at my mom, my grandpa comes in and HE starts yelling and pretty quickly I figured out that I said something I shouldn't have. I grabbed ****** (my sister) and sat her on my lap. I was scared because I could hear my dad coming... and he. was. pissed. I picked up my sister for protection because I knew he wouldn't hit me if she were sitting on my lap. I was right.. he didn't. If looks could kill however, I wouldn't be here now.
They had a "meeting" in my grandparents bedroom with my mom, my dad, my Aunt and my grandfather, all trying to work things out.
I couldn't understand why everyone was THAT upset about it? I still don't. To be pissed off was one thing, but to have a family meeting about it? It's not like my mom said she wished they'd never come or that she hoped that they had a shitty Christmas? I don't know.
On the way home, my mom and I were crying and except for that, you could hear a pin drop.
My father looks in the rear view mirror and says to me, "Well, you ruined Christmas. I hope you're proud of yourself." Just as hateful as he could. The look in his eyes.. it was of pure hate. Not of disappointment or frustration. Hate.
We got home and that's when I recieved my 'punishment' for repeating what I knew (his words, I should have known not to repeat things) was wrong. I was whipped with a razor strap and didn't "get" Christmas that year.