Hers and Mine by Conlee Ricketts
I recently confessed to a friend that for the first nine years or so of my daughter’s life I would have to take some time to go off and cry every Christmas. I cried because I felt like I didn’t provide a “magical enough” Christmas. It took me a lot of inner work to examine my tears and feelings. My inner reactions to my outer circumstances didn’t make sense at all. They were way off balance. I realize now and am happy to report that I have basked in the glow of happy Christmas mornings ever since.
The answer? Simply put—I am not my parents. I am me, and I do provide magical Christmases for my daughter.
BUT my inability to understand and accept this made my cry every year. My parents had a gift—they provided me and my brother with wonderful Christmases well into our twenties when we would come home from college. Never once did I question the arrival of Santa. The magic was part of the tradition and I cherish that. I am a 48 year old believer and it makes me smile.
We would have lovely Christmas mornings taking turns opening presents with my Dad always hiding one so he could be last. I always felt as if our day was abundant: gifts, laughter, food, time together.
I realize that I felt like I wasn’t providing “enough” for my daughter—enough magic, enough presents, enough…of my parents.
It is no longer 1975 and my Dad isn’t filming us coming down stairs and my Mom isn’t here to share Christmas with us, but none of that matters to my daughter. She has no idea what kind of Christmas mornings I had. She only knows what kind of Christmas mornings she has. Her only point of reference is the years of magic her dad and I provided, and my ridiculous comparing my childhood with hers, my kind of magic to my parents’ kind of magic and determining that mine wasn’t “enough” was just plain silly—but it took me awhile to figure that out.
My daughter genuinely appreciates Christmas. She doesn’t count presents, she never says there’s not enough or asks for more, or thinks twice about time with her Dad for another round of food and gifts. This is how her Christmas is. She enjoys shopping for her Dad, his girlfriend, and me. She takes pride in her gift wrapping and has fun organizing the morning. This year she wants to space out her gifts to last “all day” (even if that means she has to wait 2-3 hours between gifts) I think that’s sweet. I don’t think she can do it, but I applaud the notion.
I realize that she’s making Christmas her own, creating her own memories and traditions, and the fact that they don’t match mine is exactly the way it’s supposed to be. I have my parents and my memories, and she has different parents and different memories and that is absolutely enough.