In a sense this is in response to Austin’s post about disorders and the holidays. She wrote about not letting the holidays be all about you and your disorders, and I like the sound of that.
Growing up with an abusive step-dad, inevitably every holiday was ruined, especially Christmas. The yuletide season seemed to bring out the worst in him. I’ve often wondered if it’s because he was raised in an orphanage. Well whatever the cause, he managed to destroy every Christmas with his sour mood and caustic tongue. He seemed to take offense at our childish joy at finding under the tree exactly what we requested.
As I reflect on those times I can only be grateful that I was able to make things different for my kids. We were dirt poor when they were growing up, but we always had fun together (and still do.) How damaged must be the soul of one who will not allow himself to enjoy a Christmas family get together! Reading Austin’s post just now caused me to go back to that era of my life, but it wasn’t a dreadful rehashing of old wounds. Looking back from my current perspective I see that somehow I was able to turn things around for the next generation. My abuser could and did ruin things for me during my childhood, but his power wasn’t comprehensive enough to extend down into the lives of my children. Not that his abuses didn’t harm me, and thus indirectly my sons. Yet, in this one area I’ve experienced victory.
I wrote earlier about the Bah Humbug Christmas everyone here in my home is having. But none of that is associated with Christmases past. I never even thought back on those times until reading Austin’s words. And that look back at those sour holidays didn’t hurt, for in turning things around I’ve managed some smidgen of healing in the process. And that, Tiny Tim, is something worth celebrating.
(My holiday reflections were a minor earthquake on the Richter Scale of my heart.)