Holidays Ahead...Anybody else dreading them?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Beta, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    How are you all feeling about the upcoming "family" holidays? How do you manage your grief and expectations at this time of year?

    This will be our third Thanksgiving/Christmas without Josh present. He is blocked from us right now due to his abusiveness. I struggle every day maintaining enough self-respect to keep some boundaries and not allow him to abuse me. It's hard. I just feel so cheated sometimes from what I thought would "be". And yes, I know it doesn't mean that it will always be this way. I try to keep that in mind too.

    We just found out that our younger son is thinking about moving across the country in March, and we are being supportive of him but are grieving his being so far away. If it comes about, it will feel like we have "lost" both adult kids. My dream of having them close by seems be that just that--a dream.

    So...the holidays are on my mind and I'm wondering what your thoughts are?
  2. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I kind of dread them too since we moved away from Chicago and our older two boys.

    However I always have somewhat dreaded the holidays because my expectations are too high and are never met even though I have Iowered them over and over. Also both my parents died in January (2 years apart) when I was in my late teens.

    For Thanksgiving the three of us are going to spend the day (and night) at my coworker's farm in Montgomery, AL. I am really excited because she has 25 acres with a pond and five horses. She also has an exercise pool that is also a big hot tub! She is my BFF here in Alabama and moving to her new home for good in a few weeks. I will miss her terribly but she will only be a 2.5 hour drive from me. She is more like a sister than a friend and we've only known each other a year this past June. We are a lot alike.

    Christmas will be just us three. Last year I had the flu on Christmas Day but this year I want to walk the beach on Christmas Day since I was too sick last year! Otherwise no plans except to have a nice meal.
  3. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    RN--I too have always dreaded the holidays too (too many Hallmark commercials and movies!) Also, my family typically became even more dysfunctional around this time of year.

    I'm glad to hear you have such a friend as this and that, even though she is moving, she will still be close enough that you can meet periodically and spend time together.

    We are driving to Nebraska to spend the day with our youngest son, as we did last year. I will cook up everything and transport it with us, even the table linens because I know my 25YO is definitely not going to be thinking of centerpieces and table decor! Then, God willing, he will drive to our place for Christmas. Who knows if we'll be together next year, given his possible move.
  4. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    I dread the holidays as well this year. I feel grief just thinking about it.

    Thanksgivings was saved by my sister in law who invited us unexpectedly to her home, a 3 hour car ride away. This means I have plans, and I won't be at home. I really enjoy cooking a big Thanksgiving meal and for years it was my daughter and I who did this together. It was our thing. We would get special coffee and work together and it was so fun! That daughter doesn't exist anymore , sadly. So my initial idea was to invite a bunch of AA friends particularly those who have nowhere to go for the holiday .But both of my Difficult Child would have balked at having "those" people over and daughter would have said that "this is my home too and I need to feel comfortable". So this is better. I know neither one of the "kids" will go with us. My son has refused to come for Thanksgiving the past 2 years opting to stay in the dorms by himself rather than being at home with us.

    For Christmas, I am trying not to have any expectations, and instead create my experience. We have always been very generous with our children, and this year, I won't do that . Our adult children do not reciprocate the relationship we are modeling and so I feel kind of done always being the giver. Last year, we got nothing from our son while we had presents for him. It's not about the gift or the money spent. O would have been happy with a coupon for a night at the movies , even a nice card. Our daughter has a candle for me and a letter. Nothing like she used to do like bookmarks - you know where you could feel some love behind it. So I have decided they will each get the gifts I brought back from Europe for Christmas: a cologne each and a special collection of chocolates. I did not give them out after returning because neither one of them cared to have me back and the house was so dirty after I especially asked to have it picked up. My son has yet to ask about my trip, so why give him anything? I will start giving when they do. We were going to give them money in addition to these gifts from the trip, but today I decided against that. The money will go to cigarettes, vaping, alcohol, and MJ. Why would I support that? They are adults and don't need to be infantilized with lots of gifts anymore.

    I hope I don't sound bitter. I think I may be.

    I have always given my parents gifts and cards for birthdays and Christmas and could not fathom not doing that for them.
  5. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Unfortunately, having lived with an alcoholic husband for many years I think I literally held my breath through the Holidays. My expectations were so low during them it was insane and yet I still was always disappointed. So much hurt and pain from the drinking and verbal abuse that tore us all apart.

    This is my 2nd year of holidays divorced and they have been peaceful but I still have a bit of a hole in my heart wishing for connection and love with my sons. I spend it with my sister and her children and I see how they are so connected and caring and it brings a bit more pain but I try to plow through it.

    Always hoping and praying that someday, after lots of healing my sons and I can celebrate together.
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  6. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    We do not overdo it with gifts at Christmas either. Last year (the first year our son was home) we bought him a new coat (much needed) and some clothes and gave him a little bit of cash. He was so wonderful when he first came home and so grateful that I was so happy to do it.

    This year we will get him a few things but we never go overboard. Usually my husband and I don't even buy each other gifts or we each pick something we'd like and then we just buy it and all it a day.

    I never dreamed my son would not be in as good a place this year as he was when he first came home. My prayer is that 2020 will be better for him.

    Last year we also paid for a round trip to our new home for each of our two older boys and their girls. We also paid for everything when they were here visiting. They did not visit until first quarter of this year. I do not know what we will give them this year.
  7. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    I don't like the holidays either. My two younger sons moved away because of my oldest and only come in for special occasions and on the condition he doesn't show up. This year doubt thats a problem as he is in jail. Thanksgiving, one is coming Sunday before the other on Thanksgiving. I will be cooking 2 full dinners. Thats ok i am glad to see them but feel bad that it is not whole family. Currently have older blocked because of the nasty way he talked to me. I am not sure what Christmas will bring. Praying we all have as much happiness as possible.
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  8. newstart

    newstart Active Member

    Oh no Triedntrue, I hated to hear he was back in jail because I know he was in there not too long ago. I sure hope he can straighten up. I think he is my daughter's age, 37. Way too old to still be doing what he is doing. I am so sorry.
  9. newstart

    newstart Active Member

    RN, Oh my gosh, I can't get my mind off the exercise pool that is also a hot tube. That pool plus being surrounded by horses is like the best holiday I could imagine. Hope you have a wonderful time and I hope your son continues to rise above and do even better.
  10. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Not thrilled about holidays either. Last year my son, his girlfriend, her 4 kids, (including one date) our two adopted DGDs, their dates, and one 2 year old belonging to one of the dates, my husbands daughter, her estranged husband, her 2 daughters, her son, his girlfriend, and her 2 yo daughter all came for the noon meal for Thanksgiving. I about killed myself cooking for three days. I didn't enjoy it as it was too many people. Plus DHs daughter and her family didn't really interact with my son and extended family.

    This year DStepD and family (minus the now divorced husband) will come for leftovers in the evening and my son and family will come for the noon meal.

    This will be less stressful...but I worry that older DGD will be obnoxious to younger DGD and her boyfriend. He is not my favorite person, either, but it's my house and I want a peaceful day.

    I had wanted to be out of town for thanksgiving. We just got back from two weeks from volunteering in TX working on homes for people displaced by Hurricane Harvey Others in our group were staying til mid December. But we were worried about being gone that long, because of younger DGDs pregnancy, her manipulative boyfriend, no vehicle or transportation, and couch surfing.


    husband is now 75 and I'm 64. I don't know how much longer we will be healthy enough to do physically demanding work, like sheet rocking, insulation, flooring. It's like we have placed our lives on hold for 16 years, adopting and raising DGDs. Now, they still aren't stable and adulting. And our first great grandchild is on the way. I just want a few years to enjoy retirement with husband and traveling and volunteering.

    It's not really like either DGD really wants to spend quality time with us, but they want us available when they "need" us. And neither is responsible enough for us to leave the house available for them if we are gone.

    Another deep sigh. Ksm
  11. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    Thank you. He is in for a summary offence whatever that means. But he was on probation in another county and they put a hold on him. At least i know he is not out in the cold.
  12. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

  13. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    That is alot of people to cook for i would have had a meltdown. We would also have been sitting in each others laps. You are entitled to enjoy your retirement and each other. If they need a ride consider giving them an uber card. I can understand being available when the baby is born but after that if you choose to give rides maybe you could do it only if you have no other plans. Emergency call ambulance. I did this for so many years believe me i understand. It was so nice to be able to sit home and send a digital gift card. Gets there immediately and you can use the app to figure out the amount needed for that ride. Have a peaceful Holiday.
  14. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

  15. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    That is a lot on you. But you have to choose not to take it on. Maybe you can change how you do thinks in the new year.

    2020 can be a time of change for all of us to decide what we will do for others that they can do for themselves.

    I'm saying that to myself too!
  16. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I'm looking forward to it too. It will be nice to get away and our son really likes her and her husband. The ironic thing is they ran the "Celebrate Recovery" chapter in their church for many years. She knows my son's history and she does not judge. I really think she was put in our path for a reason. For a million reasons. We both feel that way about our friendship because she says I have helped her overcome a lot also.
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  17. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Wise, I don't think you sound bitter; I think you sound realistic and aware of how things are. These behaviors are so hurtful--I'm so sorry. I have felt that way with both of our kids from time to time--just kind of an indifference from them. You're right--it has nothing to do with wanting a gift. It has everything to do with wanting to see some evidence of love and appreciation from our kids. Sometimes I wonder how prevalent this is and whether its a generational thing?

    One thing I noticed about my kids, as they were growing up, was the fact that they never asked about what my husband and I were like when we were kids or what our growing up years were like. This was very curious to me because when I was growing up, we were curious about what our parents were like as kids and the experiences they had. I remember listening to stories from my mother and my grandparents about years past and being curious. Neither of my kids have ever expressed any curiosity about our growing up years. I still can't figure it out, but I have always found it somewhat hurtful.

    I am definitely dreading the holidays. Our youngest son will be with us, and I'm thankful for that, but there will be an empty place at the table.
  18. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    Definitely dread the holidays I once anticipated with great joy. My Difficult Child daughter will see the pictures my son and his wife (who also live out of state) will post when they come for Thanksgiving. How hard that will be for her. She wants nothing to do with my sister who will be hosting the festivities, and Difficult Child has made it clear she hates her because she has been part of interventions and took her in at one point and got her to detox. So, it is Difficult Child that has locked herself out. I understand it is her behavior that has created this, but it still leaves a hole in my heart. All I can do is send living thoughts, envision her getting help and let go. That is my go to and there us no doubt the frequency iui s ramped up.

    I understand about adult children moving away. I can say, however, it seems I have more quality time with my son and his wife than when they lived 20 minutes from us.

    Hope for healing through the holidays ahead.
  19. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    This will be the first year that I'm not hosting a large crowd. Each year I host either Thanksgiving or Christmas and do a sit down dinner for anywhere from 20 to 35.

    I asked my husband what he wanted to do since we are not going to be hosting and he said "let's go serve at the rescue mission" so that is what we are going to do.

    I love the holiday's. I love to decorate with all my fall stuff and then for Christmas.

    I used to dread the holiday's but realized that my expectations were not realistic. I find much more joy in giving. A couple of years ago I made over 40 loaves of orange, cranberry nut bread and gave them away. My husband and I loaded up and walked around our neighborhood giving them out and I took a bunch to church and gave those out.
    I also like to play secret santa to people I know that are having a hard time. Nothing too expensive, sometimes just Walmart gift card.
    This year I'm buying 3 gift certificates for a nice restaurant to give to the three police officers that live in my neighborhood as a thank you for their service.
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  20. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Thank you for your kindness. My kids have on a few occasions asked about specific things about my childhood .I have told them stories whether they wanted to hear them or not.

    Yes, it is the indifference that hurts. Today, son asked about my trip and said things like he enjoyed us going to the gym together but it seems so fake. I think he just said what he thought he was supposed to say in order to get the focus off the cigarette smell in his car (see my other post). However , I have to rational and say I cannot change him .I can only accept . I don't want this hurt anymore .