I’m hurting today. Some days it’s just like this. I’m sitting in Starbucks watching all the people with their Christmas shopping and their afternoon coffees. Some days I love the holidays, and some days I hate them. Today is a day that I don’t like them, but I’m happy for the color red. Seeing it kind of makes me happy. And, of course, I’m always happy that Starbucks exists.
I have friends that are struggling to set up timetables to share kids over the holidays. I have friends that dread their trip home. I have friends that aren’t going home because they have no family left at home. And, of course, I have friends who can’t wait to go home for the holidays. Most people I know haven’t finished their shopping yet, but they have plenty of time. I haven’t quite finished mine yet, but I do have a plan in place to go home for the holiday. I’m single. It makes the decision easy. I do what I want to do.
I’ve been both married and single for the holidays. One of my husbands hated Christmas. Yeah…hate is a strong word, but he hated it. It really sucked to be married to him around the holidays because I happen to like them, especially if I have a significant other in my life. You see, I like to share things. I like to share my family. I like to share gifts. I like to share traditions. I like to sit in the dark with the Christmas tree lights on and make out.
I remember the first Christmas after my first divorce. I didn’t know how to handle divorce or even being single at Christmas. I’d been married since I left college and was married almost 12 years. I decided after much deliberation to put up a tree. It was actually kind of nice to put up a tree without a lot of cussing about the damn lights and how they get tangled up. Why do men bitch about that? Both of my husbands did, and I didn’t even want to be home when Daddy put them on the tree. I mean….they get that way every year. What do you expect? Anyway, my Mother anticipated the loneliness of that day and came up to Knoxville to see me.
I just quit putting up a tree with my second husband because he made such a big ordeal about it. He was cheap, and he hated spending money, so gift-giving was a pain in the butt, too. He did like my family, so we went home a good deal of the time – my home. But, being from Chicago, he always thought it would be warm for Christmas in Louisiana, and often it was not. He would pack shorts. Then, he would freeze. He complained about the weather not about the fact that he didn’t pack right. It drove me crazy. At Christmas, I’m definitely glad we’re divorced.
I’m not glad I’m single at Christmas, though. At least at company Christmas parties, when you’re married you have an ally. When you’re single, you have to go by yourself and talk to people you don’t know. When you have a spouse, you can blame an early exit on your spouse. My family party, which will be this Saturday, is before Christmas because all of my siblings have their own kids and families, and they celebrate on Christmas Day. So, I’ll go to my parents for Christmas Eve. It’ll be very low key. It’ll be fun but mostly just like any other day.
I don’t have to buy a lot of gifts, but I don’t get many either. One year, I drew an in-laws’ name that I hardly knew. The one present I would buy for Christmas wasn’t even any fun because I didn’t even know this person. So, I asked my siblings to consider that I would like to buy for one someone I knew for Christmas and maybe rig the name drawing or something. My sister called me afterwards and suggested that we just go offline and buy each other gifts. She wanted to buy for me anyway. So, that gives me one person I can buy for that’s fun. But, I’d love to have a guy to shop for. I’d love to hang out in the men’s department and look at the boxes of men’s underwear and at least have a reason to be there. Now, I just look like a pervert.
I’d love to hang mistletoe and kiss somebody underneath it. I’d like to go to the Christmas tree farm and ride a hayride and sit by a bonfire afterward. I’d love to have a tree and decorate it with his ornaments and mine, and we could talk about what memories come up with each ornament that we hang. Hell, I’d even tolerate some cussing with the Christmas lights. And, I’d love to open presents – nice big ones – on Christmas Day. I’d love to see his face when I finally get the right gift that makes him smile. Is that such a big fantasy?
For now, I’ll drink my coffee and dream of what could be. I know…I’ve been married at Christmas. It’s not always like I want to see it, but it could be, couldn’t it? Shouldn’t it?