Our society promotes this myth that if you “believe,” that if you are good, that everything will turn out all right. But that’s a childish world-view. You can be terrific, you can be as perfect as is humanly possible, and sh*t happens.
But growing up, I’d watch all the holiday specials and wish, and think, and dream that maybe I could make my dad change. That’s exactly what an alcoholic wants: Someone else to take responsibility for his/her drinking. So, in concert with the television specials and wistful ads and happy cards and overblown sentiments, I had my father suggesting that if my mother was a better wife, if his job was less stressful, and if I were a better daughter, he would be different.
Today, most people think I live a charmed life. And I do. But on these dark days, I fight to be positive. I work hard to live in the moment, to appreciate my blessings, and to enjoy how wonderful my life is. After all, it’s good because I’ve done everything in my power to make it this way. Back in college, I made a conscious choice: I didn’t want to live my life the way my father did. When I learned counseling was free at Ball State University, I made an appointment. Over the years, I worked HARD and I realized I was not to blame for my father's behavior. I spent so many hours in therapy, that I've calculated it cost BSU more money to treat me than I paid for my education.
The lights of this season have special meaning to me. They are the lights that interrupt the darkness, the cheer that struggles through the weight and cold of the snow, and the reminder of the spark within.
I try to surround myself with holiday items that speak to the child in me, like the cheerful ice skating Snoopy who lights up my office window. I do this because some days, the little girl in me forgets she’s a grown woman, and she worries. She worries that her daddy is coming home drunk. That he's going to ruin yet another Christmas.
I’m curious. Do any of you have sad holiday memories? How do you cope with them?