” The best Christmas of all
is the presence of a happy family
all wrapped up with one another”
[Unknown or at least unmentioned on my favourite quote page]
I wasn’t planning on writing a christmas post this morning. I was planning on being extra-good (the kind of good that you believe gets you extra loot under the christmas tree) meaning studying.
I really, really was.
But then two things happened:
- I woke up and remembered, that I had “tired-commented” on the lovely Miss von Furstenburgs post (Tired commenting to me is the equivalent of drunk-dialing w/o a phone and minus the off-chance that you would have the good fortune of forgetting all about it the next morning.) In any case, I checked back to see how much of a fool I actually made of myself last night and was immediately side-tracked by her new “Liebster Blog Award” Acceptance Post ( yes, I guess I am one of those “ohhhh, shiny object” – people). So, curious as I was, I immediately took to checking out the new nominees… .
- This is when the second thing happened: All of them had christmas posts up (duh?!) and one of those posts which I love-adore-am infatuated with was quick one-way-nostalgia-ticket off to childhood christmas in the 80s – yay!
All of the above had me thinking of Christmas’-past and there is one Christmas that especially comes to mind.
You see, my father and I had this special christmas tradition of cleaning to house to an immaculate shine on the 23rd, then grabbing all the Christmas gifts for our family in the US, flinging them into the trunk of the car along with an overnight bag and making our way to my grandparents in Baden-Wuerttemberg (the state just north of Bavaria) with a quick stop along the way to mail the US-headed Christmas gifts.
On a side-note: I actually do believe that my cousins got a kick about opening christmas presents in march – april, well at least I hope they did because that’s how long it usually took them to get there: Right in time for easter!
Obviously all of this last-minute-christmas-activity usually resulted in one or the other quarrel between my dear ol’ dad and me – usually about something vital like if the living room floor had been properly vacuumed or needed a doe-over.
"Through the black forest and across the bridge to grandmothers house we go"
Usually, it was not a big though, because the minute we hit the free-way everything was forgotten listening to rock christmas songs on the radio and dreaming of my grandmother’s divine baked christmas goods (All praise be to the healing effect of the german “Autobahn” on Christmas!)
Except for this one year… .
Admittedly, the details are blurry. I am not even sure what year it was. My guess is I was 16 (but I might have been 17) and I had reached the eclipse of my good-girls-gone-bad-phase and we argued about something.
In all honesty, I can’t even remember what we argued about, but at that time it seemed like more than the usual pre road trip bitchiness, so when my father told me to get in the car, I refused.
I remember looking at him and telling him, that I was “sooo over” this “Christmas – phoniness of having to be all forgiveness and smiles just because it was the 23rd of december, what is a date anyways?!”
My father tried to persuade me to swallow my pride, quit being a self-indulgent brat and get into the car, but in the end it got later and later while I was self-righteously sulking away in my bed-room and finally he just left.
The first couple of hours were a feeling of utmost triumph and exhilaration: I had won an important battle! I had stood my ground! Finally, he would have to accept me as an equal adult and not just a little girl he could boss around!
I celebrated this with loads of christmas candy and even more christmas TV. It was christmas and heaven on earth to me.
Slowly it got darker outside and when I looked out of the window I could see the faint glow of light christmas trees in other people’s houses. We, obviously, hadn’t put up a christmas tree, because we weren’t planning on being at home for christmas.
The excitement started to ware off.
I decided to bundle up and go to christmas Mass at our church, thinking that following religious christmas rituals would give me a sense of warmth and belonging and all in all just the spirit of christmas.
The church didn’t help. Actually it made things worse. It wasn’t the sermon or the people there, everything was lovely and peaceful and the people were joyous. Standing there in the middle of the church I suddenly realized that I was the only one there that was all alone on Christmas Eve’.
As the words sunk in (each one pronounced like its own sentence by that little voice inside my head), I was ready to cry. I didn’t feel “all grown up” anymore. I felt small and scared and lonely. I wanted nothing more than to be with my father and my grandparents, curled up in blankets, sipping a hot cup of cocoa and munching on some special christmas cookies.
So I fled the church back home.
There I waited for something to happen. My father to miraculously come back. My grandparents to call and to order me on the next train down to them.
Nothing happened. No one called. No one ever called our house on christmas because we were never there.
So in the end, adding stupid decision onto to stupid decision, I raided my dad’s bar.
I think I downed half a bottle of Bailey’s coffee cream, before the world started to spin before my eyes and the gooey – sweetness of the liquor made me horribly sick.
I don’t remember much after that.
I do remember waking up on christmas morning on the cold bathroom floor with a splitting head ache and an awful taste in my mouth.
I distinctly remember lying there thinking that I would trade all the presents in the world just to be with my family.
I remember picturing them at the breakfast table, cheerful, clad in sickening-sweet christmas sweaters, just celebrating the wonders of christmas and the privilege of having one another.
Later that day my father and my grandparents called to wish me a merry christmas and see how I was doing.
I didn’t mention any of the above, I never did.
I feigned high spirits and maybe even a bit of annoyance regarding their disturbance of my peace and serenity. I’m not sure why, but my guess is (and that’s a pretty safe guess) it was pure juvenile pride that kept me from coming clean.
However, when my father returned the next day, I didn’t really care for the gifts he was bringing home.
All I cared about was a long, long hug: And I got it!