It’s been nearly a week since we all sat around the tree unwrapping presents and enjoying the festivities. And this year it was just that bit different because the family was smaller than usual. It was my first Christmas without one of my sons. So I’m writing this post to share with you some of my process as I came to terms with how that would be.
I think I was making it a bit difficult for myself because I had expectations of how I thought it all should be. You know. Families all belong together at Christmas. It certainly never even entered my mind that one of my kids would want to go off and be somewhere else.
When he first told me, I took it with a pinch of salt and had this belief that he was going to change his mind. But as the day got closer, it became more and more obvious that he really meant it. He would be spending Christmas with his girlfriend. Oh my God. I immediately went into the victim role, feeling totally got at and abandoned because he was putting her before me.
The day came when he was ready to go off on his journeying and asked me to help him get his things together. We ended up stuffing things into a suitcase at 1 o’clock in the morning, freezing out in the hallway with arctic conditions in the house. I went to bed with a headache and got up really early to see him off. Not a joyful moment. The rest of the day I felt quite miserable and kept wondering what I had done wrong. I knew this would come at some point, just not as early as this.
But strangely it was my husband who came to the rescue. He caught me wallowing in self-pity and said quite simple: ‘You know, it’s only Christmas. Don’t get all hung up on it!’
I stopped in my tracks and gave it some proper thought. He was right. Although it was the Festival of Light, a time of connecting and a time of rekindling love in our lives, it was still only another day. Me having a good time would be a choice. Choosing to have a great Christmas, whether or not all my kids were with me, was all it would take. I could continue to love them all and feel loved whether or not they were there on that day. And the fact that one of my sons had chosen to spend a few days with his girlfriend didn’t mean that he loved me any less.
We all act true to our values no matter how we try otherwise. It’s a subconscious thing. We can’t stop ourselves. And just remembering that my son was doing the same as I was doing, helped to put it all into perspective. We are all in the right place at the right time no matter how it may seem on the surface.
And so Christmas day came and went. I had a lovely time. And the days passed quickly, my son returned and it was lovely to have him back. No more. No less. No big deal.
One more lesson learnt in the art of mastering the chicks leaving the nest.