That was the year we didn’t even try to dig the Christmas decorations out of the closet under the stairs until half way through December. It was probably the first time our family tradition of decorating the day after Thanksgiving was abandoned. Instead of retiring to the family room in a turkey coma to relax in happy peace and watch reruns of Miracle on 42nd Street or It’s A Wonderful Life, leftovers were immediately packaged the moment we got up from the table to be delivered to our homeless addict daughter. After months of enduring the horror of her living on the streets, the reality of the necessity of that task completely sapped our holiday spirit.
And then it just never returned. Somehow it was just too hard to focus on tinsel and lights, shopping and baking. The massive, eight-foot, four-piece, pre-lit tree that took hours to assemble and decorate stayed in the boxes under the stairs. Instead, we set up the tiny two-foot tall blue tree on the chest near the front window and placed our gifts around it. It was the one with the angel on top that usually sat on a small table in the entryway. It seemed appropriate. Even that small amount of festive effort was exhausting. At least it had one strand of blinking lights.
I tried to remember what it felt like for my family to be whole. I wondered if I would ever feel that way again.
That year was always remembered as the year we lost Christmas. It was a year when we lost many things. Some of them were found again but others never were. Like so much stolen from us due to addiction, we came to realize the intangible things, like priceless memories of precious family time, were what we missed most.
Laura is a lover of reading, writing, sparkly things and whatever purrs, barks or flies. Former helicopter mom, co-dependent and enabler, Laura is now addicted to walking, her family and her iWatch. A teacher by day and writer by night, she is clearly the one learning the most and plan to keep it up until she gets it right. Choosing joy one day at a time and sharing her journey so others can see why it might not be found if we don’t look for it.