I loved Christmas growing up. Big family, big dinners and lots of presents; it was great! Undoubtedly , no expectations! You had to be good or else!
Growing up and moving away, getting married, divorced and becoming a single mom, whew….. life just happened! Your expectations change with each life role. Some are good and some just awful.
Let me explain.
As a single parent, life sucks! Especially when it comes to money. Not every every single parent gets help with raising their children or any household expenses. Most of the time, we work two or three jobs, try to go back to school to better ourselves and our situation or rely on our parents to help us make it through.
As any parent does, a single parent wants the best for their children, too. It just is a little bit harder to do when you can’t make ends meet. Bills come first and then I always have to decide between gas for my car and groceries. Sometimes I split it in half and pray, as God is my provider. Birthdays aren’t as hard because you’re only buying for one person. But at Christmas, you are buying for a bunch of people including your own children.
My kids had to find out early that Santa doesn’t bring all the presents. But that his spirit of gift-giving exists in all of us. I had them make Christmas lists in September and then chose, usually the least expensive things, to buy them.
They are young adults, but I still struggle. Just because your kids grow up, doesn’t mean your bills and responsibilities go away. They’re still there in great number and Christmas doesn’t go away either.
It’s an emotional time for me. I feel like a failure and inadequate as a parent. There have been times I bought Christmas presents with bill money and there have been times I paid the bills and not had very many Christmas presents. I realize it’s not about them and the way they feel, but about me and how I grew up and feel about myself. I wanted my one parent household (me) to look and feel like my two parent household (my parents).
I know my kids love me no matter what they get because they tell me. They know how hard I’ve struggled all these years because they tell me. I know they appreciate the life I have given to them because they don’t want to grow up. But the feeling of loss doesn’t go away with words or actions. You must grieve and then move on. You must allow yourself to feel the pain of what once was so that forgiveness and redemption can cover the loss. Then you can move on.
Even though Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday, I do have one! It is Thanksgiving because there are no expectations! I just bring the rolls!