It’s a Wonderful Life?

It’s a Wonderful Life?

Jeez Louise, here I go again. Another Christmas without my grandchildren. It’s been a very long time since I saw their eager, excited little faces on Christmas morning. However, the reality is that they’re no longer little, but teenagers who have been absent in my life for more than a decade. 

As difficult as it is every day since this estrangement began, the holidays are even worse. As we are all aware, holidays were created for families. But, what about those of us without families? What the hell are we supposed to do?

Here’s a rare glimpse into my personal Christmas survival kit: For starters, I ban all movies that glorify families. I avoid, at all costs, anything on the Hallmark channel and above all, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I know that it’s a classic and, for many, a holiday tradition, but hello – it’s torture!

Also, when my friends talk about their fabulous holidays, perfect gifts and beautiful grandkids, I listen and do my best to be glad for them, but I’m really crying inside. It hurts, dammit, it hurts.

Another survival tool is to plan ahead. Maybe a getaway trip, or invite friends over who are also family challenged. Make a good meal, take a walk in the woods, along a shore, around the block – just get out in the fresh air and move the body. Take a luxurious bath, treat yourself with tenderness and love – someone has to!

In addition, you might write your feelings and thoughts in a journal; make a gratitude list (this may sound like a cliche, but it works); watch your thoughts; manage expectations; and compartmentalize. Stop thinking about your adult child – they’re probably not thinking about you! 

Finally, let yourself cry. You have a good reason to cry, so let it rip. When you’re done,  wipe your eyes and get back out there. You don’t deserve to have another miserable Christmas. Seriously! You deserve to be happy, no matter what your adult child may or may not do. 

Let there be peace on earth, especially within our broken hearts.