Christmas This Year

Christmas is my favorite holiday and it’s falling apart before it’s even Thanksgiving.

Zack has never spent Christmas with my family (and not because he hasn’t been willing). We spent the first Christmas we were dating with our respective families. The next we spent with his family. The one after that was three weeks before our wedding and, while it was technically “my turn,” my mom basically said that if we wanted any semblance of holiday cheer, we’d take ourselves to a place where a wedding wasn’t happening in three weeks. Did I mention my mom planned our entire wedding? So yeah, there was stress. And another Christmas with Zack’s clan.

This year we are spending Christmas with my family. There isn’t much extended family in the area, though, so holidays tend to be quiet but happy and relaxing. My mom bakes up a storm and goes overboard with gifts, my step-dad deep fries or roasts a turkey, we sit around the mostly-unused but grand dining room table for an early dinner before the food coma settles over us. Sometimes we go to the movies for a late show.

Christmas with my family is nothing like the large, boisterous gathering of Zack’s relatives. Almost all his extended family lives in the Twin Cities area and their Christmas Eve get-together is steeped in tradition, from the food they eat to the pink pillowcase that makes an appearance each year in the white elephant gift exchange. He has never spent a Christmas anywhere but his home, so this year is going to be a tough one for him. It was hard for me, too, that first Christmas away from my own family and our familiar holiday goings on.

I found out this morning that my brother-in-law, a Marine, is not going to be able to come home for Christmas as we’d planned. He has a superior who’s got it out for him and who has laid down an order that will prevent Tony from being able to take any leave around the holidays. Which means, of course, that my sister won’t be home for Christmas either. She’ll come out the week before Christmas or some other time around the actual holiday, but she’s going to spend Christmas with her husband in California, which is exactly what I would do in her situation.

I’m angry and frustrated with this particular man who’s making Tony’s life hell on purpose. It’s not fair, it’s not right, and there’s also nothing anyone can do about it. I’m sad that our Christmas is going to be even smaller than is usually is, and that vitally important family members are going to miss Zack’s first Christmas with us. And if I’m totally honest, I’m sad that our Christmas isn’t more like his family’s, with all the people and the commotion. I want him to have fun and feel like it’s Christmas, not just any old day at my mom’s.

I want Christmas. So Zack can see what it’s like when my family does the holidays.

Edited to add: We just got word that Tony MIGHT POSSIBLY get some leave time before these new orders kick in, which means there’s hope for a Christmas celebration with all my family people after all. Keep your fingers crossed for us, and especially for Tony!!!

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3 thoughts on “Christmas This Year

  1. Annabelle says:

    Fingers are crossed for Tony!!!

    Also, DUDE, now what…two days after we realized we both live in Chicago, I learn that your Z is from the Twin Cities, where I am from pre-2006 (I moved here to be with my T, who is from the Chicago area). HOW STRANGE IS THAT? Craziness.

    • Austin says:

      Thanks for the crossed fingers!! Hopefully we’ll get some good news in the near future, but in our experience the Marines haven’t been super reliable when they say something’s going to happen a certain way (unless it doesn’t work in Tony’s favor, in which case it always seems to happen EXACTLY the way they promise).

      That is TOO WEIRD! Whereabouts in the Twin Cities area are you from? Z’s in law school now, finishing up his last year. We’re moving that direction after he graduates. We picked Chicago for law school because my family’s in the area. Spooky coincideeeeeence!

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