Blue Christmas

Sometimes instead of being called an “only child” I think it should be called being an “onus child”.

Especially when your parents are divorced.

Of course one does get the “luxury” of not one, but two complete Christmases. With two STOCKINGS even, because Santa comes to both houses. Lucky, right?

Yeah. Lucky.

Christmas day started at mom’s where it’s just the two of us. We played “A Christmas Story”, drank coffee, opened stockings, ate a good breakfast, then divvied up the presents and took turns opening them.

I try to spoil my mom if I can. You see, she was the one left by my dad back in 1988. The divorce, while relatively quick and amicable, was not painless. Especially since my father took up almost immediately with the woman who would eventually become my stepmother.

The insult and injury to mom continued when my father and stepmother bought land in the ritziest part of my hometown where they subsequently built a modest mansion. All the while my mother has remained single, works two jobs, and still lives in the same small house I grew up in.

She’s earned the spoiling, I think.

This year she was floored by the laptop computer I got her. She didn’t want to accept it at first because I had spent too much on her. And then she teared up a little. All of which made my heart sing to watch.

We played around setting up the computer and then started our Christmas lunch prep. We are having a third for lunch today; mom invited a woman she works with to join us. This woman is relatively new to the area and couldn’t get home for the holidays, so mom opened up her home.

Mom even had a stocking for the woman to open, ’cause mom is cool like that.

But all too soon it was time to leave moms. She sighed when she hugged me, sad to have to share me. And sad to spend the last bit of her holiday vacation alone.

Originally I was going to spend the entire day with mother, but that changed after I called to wish my father a merry Christmas. I could hear the depression in his voice, so I knew I had to go visit.

Now generally it isn’t bad going to dads. There are usually 4 of us (stepmom and stepbro included) and we play cards and drink beer. Or watch movies on the big tv. After we do stockings and small presents and stuff, of course. We fart from too much garlicy chex mix and laugh and generally have a grand time.

Except not this year.

You see, this year for Christmas my stepmother has asked for a divorce.

Yes, twenty years after his first marriage dissolved, the second is coming to an end. And just in time for the holidays.

And to top it off, he had to have oral surgery this week so he is in pain and can’t really eat anything.

Merry Christmas.

When I arrived at dads, I gave him his bomber jacket (which was unceremoniously tossed on the coat tree), and then we spent the evening watching basketball and the movie “Superbad”. Just the two of us.

In a way I guess I see this as some sort of karmic retribution for my father. He was never the easiest man to live with- and that’s being rather generous on my part.

He was rough on me as a kid and he certainly didn’t make life a bed of roses for mom. He was difficult and opinionated and stubborn, prone to tempers, and generally an angry man. And I always felt he took his good fortune (as well as those around him) for granted.

But now here he is at age 66 and all alone in a big, empty house. And I know he’s been weighing his life these past few weeks, and he has found it wanting.

When I look into my father’s eyes now, I see an incredible well of sadness. His remaining days which he had so carefully mapped out now are in chaos. He is lost and scrambling, and that makes my heart hurt.

Yet I also find myself rather terrified. I am a perfect combination of my two parents and I can see many qualities in each that I possess.

My mother has managed to amass many friends, and yet seems resigned to the fact she will never find one special person to share her life with. And my father manages to drive away all those who decide to care for him.

When I look at my parents, what scares me the most is not that I see my future– it’s that I see my present.

Both my parents may have ended up lonely, but I seem to have started off that way.

By the time my parents were my age, they had already been married for nineteen years. Nearly half their life had been spent in the company of another.

My longest relationship to date lasted less than a year and a half.

I am a perfect combination of my parents, and I am following in their footsteps– only faster. And without any relationships to slow my progress.

And worst of all, I am all alone in trying to figure out how to care for and be there for my parents. And it is only going to get worse.

Maybe Santa can bring me a dumb, straight, older brother for Christmas next year. Preferably one who has a wife and kids.

I’m tired of being an onus child.

About cb

Nickname: Munt Measurements: 45 B, 34, 38(?) Ambition: to be the best human ever! Turn ons: long walks on the beach, romantic dinners, porn, rainbows, cock Turn offs: bad smell face, men who are full of themselves, dead puppies, popcorn, sadness
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20 Responses to Blue Christmas

  1. Brian says:

    Very raw & honest post, Chris. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing it.

    Merry Christmas.

  2. Marc says:

    what Brian said . . . wow

    Parents – oy!

    Happy 2009 to you.

  3. BentonQuest says:

    Chris, you are in a tough place. It is difficult when the child has to become the parent. And being the only child makes it all the more difficult.

    But you do not need to follow in their footsteps. You have the gift of insight and perspective. You can make different choices. Just don’t sell yourself short. As trite as it sounds, love finds you when you are not looking for it.

    Learn to love yourself, and others will love you too!

  4. sortedlives says:

    WOW!! One never knows what goes on someone else’s home. Thank you for sharing, that had to be tough to write.

  5. sassybear says:

    There is little we can do about changing the family we were born into, so you have no power over your only child status and the way your parents are or have chosen to live their lives. You can have empathy and sympathy for them, but it does not have to impact how you live your life more than you are willing to let it. Recognizing similarities is one thing, giving into the inevitability of becoming like them is another. I agree with BQ:(and a very appropriate slogan from the 80’s GI Joe Cartoon) Knowing is half the battle. You can’t just decide to find a partner and go get one (well, you can, but that’s a recipe for disaster) however, you can start to make more connections in your life, reach out to people, develop and invest in friendships and start to build the life you want, socially. The happier you are about yourself and your life, the more you will attract others both platonically and romantically. You clearly have attracted many readers to your blog, so many of us are interested in getting to know you and hearing what you have to say. I know you’re on my “someone to meet some day” list (yup, I have one) so be aware that you have attractive qualities and allow them to show. I’m not the kind of person who will say you will find what you’re looking for or that as soon as you stop seeking love it will find you. I’m not that cliche nor that optimistic. BUT, I do believe you do not have to embrace your inherited behaviors and traits – it’s your life. keep the good stuff, discard the bad and open yourself up to letting people in your life. The more you interact, the greater your chances are for meeting someone who might just appreciate a bomber jacket, a post-chex mix gas attack, and a guy who cares enough about his Mom’s happiness to over extend himself financially to see her tear with joy.(Aside from my marriage, we can only be friends or fuck buddies cuz I can’t abide the gas thing…I have issues.) Seriously, be who you want to be, find ways to be happy and people to enjoy your time with and remain open to possibilities. I the meantime, know you’re more connected than you realize with a bunch of “strangers.”

    Hugs

  6. RG says:

    “My mother has managed to amass many friends, and yet seems resigned to the fact she will never find one special person to share her life with. And my father manages to drive away all those who decide to care for him.”

    See what you want, but this is not you. Your destiny is NOT predetermined.

    Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal.

  7. Matt says:

    Incredible post. Very raw and personal … I know those are hard to do.

    Don’t resign yourself to what you’ve inherited. I’m not one to talk, but my partner successfuly broke generations of destructive behavior that it would have been easy to resign himself to.

    Thanks for sharing all of this. It makes me think a lot about my family, too.

    Best for the New Year, CB.

  8. YankeeDown says:

    To paraphrase Aunt Alicia from Gigi: Sometimes instead of being happy at first, we are happy at last.

  9. Ron says:

    That sucks a lot, but don’t resign yourself to repeating the lives of your parents. If you do, you’ll definitely be miserable. Only way you’ll make it out of that is if you have the confidence to *know* that you’re going to make something different.

  10. shonda says:

    Man, this was a good post. First, I have to say I love a man who loves his mother.
    We all have our struggles in life and being in a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be lonely. I think if you just love the people in your life, be it lovers or friends or family, as you want to be loved, then you will look back on your life with pride. It is clear in how you wrote about your mom that you already do that.

  11. Doréus says:

    Thank you for sharing this. You are a true person who deeply cares.

    I will add my own psychological two cents here… Personally, I enjoy being single. I have been for most of my life and I find it liberating and fulfilling in a way that no relationship has ever fulfilled me. Maybe there’s a side of yourself you have to acknowledge and embrace… don’t wait for your salvation to come from others. A relationship is a bonus, it can add value to life, but that life has to have value in itself; otherwise, one becomes a burden in a relationship. Oh yeah, and don’t let yourself be weighed down by determinism. You are free-spirited. Be a free spirit.

  12. durban bud says:

    What Ron said.

    Great post, cb. I’m sure many can relate.

  13. Rich says:

    CB, wow. Your post blew me away. There was a lot of good things already said here..but just the fact that you have these observations is very powerful. I think having these insights, and being able to articulate them so clearly, makes it all the more possible that you can take the best of what you’ve inherited and make them work for you. We all have negative stuff that we need to filter out as adults. And to quote Shonda, “I (too) love a man who loves his mother.” You are awesome.

  14. Tony says:

    Great post, CB. I have to agree with what everyone else is saying. Your life isn’t predetermined. You can do or be anything you want if you are willing to work for it.

    I feel bad for you father. He sounds like he has really screwed up his life.

    However, unless you have some compelling reason for saying it, I don’t know about your Mom. She may be happy in her single life. It sounds like she is able to surround herself with people who care and she also sounds like someone who reaches out to other people.

    Just the fact that you have recognized some of the mistakes that your parents made with their lives says to me that you are trying not to make the same mistakes in your own life.

  15. dirkmancuso says:

    As a fellow only child, I feel the same fear and frustration of solely shouldering the responsibility for aging parents (my mother counts as two). And like everyone else said, your life doesn’t have to be the same — you can make it what you want. I’ve just learned that in the last year, so I’m not just blowing smoke up your skirt, mister.

  16. irishfusilier says:

    So sorry to hear of this buddy. So many people forget that Christmas doesn’t exactly bring a great deal of happiness to people who truly deserve it. I am sure your parents are so proud of you though. I am sure there are loads of Mums and Dads out there would would give anything to have such a caring son as you 🙂 *hugs*

  17. I have a straight older brother; with wife and kids. It’s not good; trust me.

    And thanks for sharing this with us…it’s a difficult situation; but you shouldn’t think you’re going to be alone for ever. good stuff is always round the corner.

    Did you get a ticket to Paris for christmas?

    tbnil x

  18. Chris says:

    you know I love you, and I’ve said this to you before, but if this is how you see your life to end up… then yes, it will happen. Make it change! It is possible.

    While I do feel bad for your father… the thought that keeps running in my head is… your mom got a little extra present in her stocking… One big Karmic “HA!” What goes around certainly does come around. It may take years, but…

  19. truthspew says:

    Sorry to hear about your torn up family and all. In my case the wrong parent died when I was 13.

    Ever day I wish my mother was the one who had lived. More than that I wish my fathers second wife had lived too.

    Call me mommas boy all you want but my mother was an incredible person. So too was Peggy, the 2nd wife. Both could keep my father in check. His 3rd wife not so much, he’s even talked of divorcing her.

    On the loneliness front, relax a bit. That’s what did it for me. I have a very hard time making friends but those that do become my friend are friends for life. Luckily I found someone 16 years ago who is now my partner/husband/whatever name they call it now.

    I have this thing where I have a hard time associating with people I deem to be my intellectual inferior. If your world consists of sports and reality programming I really don’t want to talk to you. If however you understand politics, the proper role for religion or lack thereof, and you have an appreciation of technology then we can get along for the most part. You can follow sports to some degree, even I understand the objective of most organized sports. But you can’t be a rabid fan.

    Luckily my guy falls into the category of my intellectual equal which I like very much.

  20. Mark in DE says:

    Your mom sounds like a great lady, and your father sounds like a bit of a bastard, neither of which have anything to do with your life. Yes, you may recognize traits of your parents in you, but YOU are the one in control of your present and future. YOU are the one who decides if you will be kind and generous like your mom or difficult and angry like your dad. YOU get to choose.

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