Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wish I was there

Every December (for at least the last 6 years) I've loaded up whoever happens to be living at my house (and often a few spare people) and headed here for a long weekend. We always go with my friend and her family of 7. This to be exact, they are there and I am not. This is just one more reason that my holiday season sucks this year.

We'd actually planned to go. However, we miss two school days for this adventure each year. And Alli just got that interim subbing job at my school. And she's already missed some days for pregnancy-related doctor's appointments. And if she has to miss any more, they'll give the interim job to someone else. So, we're not there. Yes, I could have gone without her. But Beth's social calendar is jam-packed, as always. I don't know that she'd have wanted to go. That would have left Elvis and me to go on the trip. Elvis and I function quite well here at home but he's harder to manage on the road. The other family would have gladly helped with "Elvis management" but he's not their responsibility.

So, I'm sitting home, bummed. Christmas is so different this year. I've always done what we call "calendar gifts" and others might call advent gifts. Each child got a small present to open each day of December. It was usually nothing big - a flavored chapstick or a pair of gloves or a piece of candy. But it was a fun tradition. I didn't do them this year. Alli is married. Beth is rarely home more than 5 nights a week. It seemed a waste to do all that when she's not here. I decided I'd just do Elvis gifts. I borrowed another friend's idea and was going to do just books. He'd have a Christmas book to open each day of December. (The friend stores the books and re-wraps them next year and her son opens one a day again. Sounds like a great idea.) I bought all the books. I just never wrapped them.

Yes, gathering and wrapping all those gifts was a huge hassle each year, but I enjoyed it and looked forward to it. It got me into Christmas-mode. Instead of being relieved at not having to do it this year, I'm sad. The planning and effort required to pull off our multi-state trek to the water park was huge. Instead of being relieved to have all that extra free time, I'm sad.

Depression? I guess so. However, I also think it's situational. I'm moving into a new phase of my life. I'm becoming an "empty nester." The odd part is, my nest is far from empty. They are all still living in my house. I see them on a daily basis. I can't get away from them yet I can't do anything with them, either. It's like the empty nest from Hell.


EasterApril said...

"It's like the empty nest from Hell" LOL

I'll second that - I sent daughter #2 off to college and was just starting to enjoy not having to cook every night when I had to bring her home now battling an eating disorder - empty nest from Hell indeed!!

What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger!! haha


Lisa said...

It's so hard having a houseful of people who aren't interested in relating to one another as a family - at least that's what it feels like - they all NEED you for various things/reasons, but when it comes to giving back to you (their time/attention) they're off "living their lives". I'm not criticizing - I have a few kids here like that, and it sucks. I make huge meals and 3 people leave less than an hour before it's on the table. I decide to make left overs or soup for dinner and everyone shows up starving - can't win. Make some new traditions, look up old friends you haven't had time for in a long things for YOU.

Friday said...

Hell yeah! Live for you. You seem to be waiting on someone to need you when you should make them look for you.

Mongoose said...

You're one of only two adoptive parents left on my blog roll. I suppose I'm not the expert on good parenting, but I like that you don't spend all your time trying to force your version of "family" onto people who grew up differently. There is a lot of arrogance, in a way, in a lot of adoptive or foster parents, and you have more humility. A lot of parents somehow don't seem to realize that their kids' lives aren't about the parents... I don't see you making that mistake.

I hope you have a good Christmas, even if it's not what it used to be.

Jules said...

Hi, sorry for the comment on an old entry I've been reading your blog from the beginning and I wanted to just mention that you seem like a wonderful mom and person in general. I find myself getting extremely frustrated along with you regarding Alli.

Is she just going to continue having children until she can no longer do so biologically? That's a rhetorical question of course but I just don't... get it. Why would you INTENTIONALLY have a child with no means of support, no stable job(s) and living at home basically? It's obvious from your writing that you have good kids but it's hard to judge their intelligence level on this end. Even dogs and cats learn from negative consequences of past actions. I know she's had a hard life but like you've said, she's just perpetuating an endless cycle. So because she and her husband either don't care (which I suspect is the case), or think producing child after child recklessly is perfectly acceptable; the rest of society suffers as a result. You support her by giving her a place to live and basically raising her first son, and then I support her family by paying for her health/medical insurance. What an awesome plan. Because lord knows we need more non-functioning people with low IQ's in this world who absorb resources without contributing anything in return!

I'm sorry if that sounds harsh but I just wanted to share my thoughts. Other than that I've really been enjoying your blog and I hope you're doing well.