Guarded Joy

As a child and into the teenage years, I learned to guard my feelings. I did not want to give in to the joy of the holiday season, because it could be ripped away if I got in trouble. If I showed that I was happy about Christmas, then I was considered “arrogant” and I didn’t deserve Christmas gifts. I don’t remember a year when I didn’t get gifts, but there was always a threat. I never knew until Christmas morning if Christmas would actually happen. I did not make a list or wish for anything, because I didn’t feel like I deserved a Christmas. I felt that I was arrogant and selfish. I was told that I only thought of myself and I needed to be more giving to others, and I believed them. Mom and Dad tried to make Christmas happy for us. Dad would call on the phone pretending to be Santa. Mom would fill our stockings with treats. I know my parents wanted Christmas to be special for us, but I remember being extremely nervous around the holidays.

These are the feelings that I have been battling this morning. I have been happy with myself this year, because I have successfully stayed in the moment. I have made happy times with family and friends. Last night I got very little sleep because of the baby. When I get little sleep, then it is easy for the negative feelings to arise. I want a happy Christmas, but I don’t deserve it. Husband and I picked out our gifts for each other last night, but I have a hard time accepting anything. I just want to give to others and have everyone forget about me. I don’t need anything.

I want to show my children the joy of giving. I want traditions. They deserve to have a happy time with family and friends. They have a lot to learn, but I don’t want them to feel like they are lower class because of their lessons. I would like for them to feel the joy of giving gifts while still getting some special things on their lists.

I know that we are living the dream. I am so lucky. I have a home and a beautiful family. I am so thankful for my life and the opportunity to heal from a troubled past. I know there are many who face personal struggles during this time of year. Thank you for letting me share mine.



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