I will never forget it: I was out with my daughter, hand-delivering our photo holiday cards, and a friend invited us to come in. Her young daughter grabbed the card, looked up at my daughter, and asked innocently, “Why isn’t your Dad in the picture?” As I fumbled for words to save my daughter from having to speak for herself, my much savvier friend simply looked down at her daughter and replied, “He’s in a different picture.” It was enough to satisfy her curiosity, but for me, it was another crushing reminder that our holidays were “different” than other people’s.
It goes without saying that holidays are hard on people who come from families that don’t fit the stereotypical mold. For me, it’s meant everything from meeting my daughter’s dad at a gas station on Christmas Day to get her back to him, to arriving at my parents’ house alone to celebrate Thanksgiving. And it’s hard.
Why is it hard? Because with the holidays come a ton of family expectations. No matter your relationship with your family, you surely know at least one person who struggles with their family relationships at this time of year. Some adolescents, not unlike my own, spend different holidays with different parents, traveling between homes and trying to keep it all straight. And, some parents navigate the heartsink of not getting to spend this time of year with their child or children because it’s not “their turn.”
This year my fiance and I both drew the short straw and spent Thanksgiving without our kids. We made the most of it by hunkering down and enjoying the time together, cooking and eating Thanksgiving dinner just the two of us, and spending time with friends. We’ll be lucky enough to spend Christmas with both of them. It’ll be the first time we’ve done this, and we’ll be introducing my soon-to-be stepson to some of my own family traditions. Having to “split” holiday time is hard, but it makes us appreciate the time we do have together.
No matter where home is or who you’re spending the holidays with, we wanted to remind you that you can always bring us home with you. 741741 is here for all of your holiday crisis needs. All you have to do is text HOME to 741741 and we’re there.
We’re grateful all year for our Crisis Counselors, who show up to support our brave texters day after day. But this time of year we’re especially grateful, because we know so many people are lonely and hurting during the holidays. So thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, and happy holidays.