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Holiday Traditions And The Second Day My Life Changed

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

Continued from Part I

What makes the holidays? What do you and your family look forward to each year? Traditions!

My family has many traditions. Some involve special foods and desserts.

  • Christmas Eve can't happen without seafood galore; shrimp, lobster, baked clams, clam sauce, scallops, and much more.

  • Christmas morning we do bagels, muffins, cinnamon buns, pastries, eggs, bacon and Portuguese sausages and rolls.

  • Christmas dinner starts with a huge antipasto, full of Italian and American cold cuts, cheese, peppers, olives, salads and breads. After that is a roast with a ton of sides like on Thanksgiving.

  • Christmas morning we open gifts all together with the entire family.

  • We also have a houseful of guest both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, usually 30 to 40 people.

  • We play games, like cards, charades in the past, board games, etc.

To me, Christmas is about family, friends, food and fun! We bake, cook, decorate and shop for weeks before. It's exhausting, but worth it. Christmas was always my favorite holiday and favorite time of the year.

Today would have been my maternal grandfather's birthday. Sadly, he passed in 1989, the day after his birthday. Tomorrow is the anniversary of his death. We also lost my nephew and Godson in December on the 16th in 2011. Those are hard days. But the 15th causes mixed emotions. Sad over the anniversary of my grandfather's death, but thrilled at the anniversary of the second day my life changed forever. (The Day My Life Changed)

On December 15, 1994, I picked up my two very young children and walked out the door never to look back. That was the best decision I ever made. The day started happy. The kids and I were home alone, music was playing, I was puttering in the kitchen, the kids were playing, we were happy! Then... he came home. And the nastiness and misery began. I'll save you the boring details, let's just say being married to a person like that is no fun.

I left ten days before Christmas, given no choice. There was NO WAY I was going to meet his demands to stay home. I was never going to miss a wonderful Christmas to sit in the house miserable with him and ruin the holiday for myself and my kids. No way in hell. And I didn't. I was with my family as planned and we had a ball as usual.

My son and daughter when we took a Disney cruise 1999 and my nephew and son in the 80's on Christmas morning.

Do right by people. Be a good person. Make memories with the ones you love. Enjoy good food. Have fun. Laugh. Be silly. Tell stories of holidays gone by and silly things you did growing up. Give what you can to those less fortunate. Be grateful and count your blessings, you are doing great, as long as you are doing your best, trying hard, law abiding, and not out to hurt anyone.

Remember one thing. My mother always said, "jealousy is the biggest waste of time. There's nothing anyone has that you can't have, if you truly want it." But... "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." So, think hard. "The grass is always greener..."

I have never been jealous of anyone or anything because of what she taught us all from a very young age. Worry about yourself, don't compare to the next person. What may be on the outside, is not reality.

You are enough. You are an excellent mother, wife, daughter, sister. None of us are perfect, but if you always do the right thing and you care, then you have succeeded.

Too many are afraid of change. It's not a bad thing. Maybe things changed beyond your control (see my story), maybe you need to make a decision to improve your life, but I assure you, it may not be easy, but it will be worth it. I've had amazing experiences and opportunities I never would have had if I stayed in misery and my kids would have lived a miserable life. Instead, they were taught right from wrong, lived with happy, healthy people and grew up to be successful, hard working, caring, fun adults who I couldn't be more proud of.

Top l - r my daughter driving an amphibious vehicle in Boston, me and my then boyfriend whitewater rafting in Maine, Bottom l - r my mother's birthday cake baked by my then 12 year old niece, and my grandfather, dressed as a woman, being silly at my christening.

I may not be a millionaire. But I'm beyond wealthy in love, family and friends. I am now married to a wonderful man almost ten years. He is the COMPLETE opposite of the first husband, and that's a good thing. He tells me how beautiful I am (as a person), he loves me unconditionally, he's a family man who fits in and gets along with my whole family, and he's wonderful to my kids. We laugh, we "dance" in the kitchen, we joke, we play. We have a real relationship.

Don't take the easy way. That's no fun. Yes, it was difficult being a single mom, working full time, going to school the equivalent of full time, sleeping only 4 hours a night for years, but, along with all of that came the most amazing memories, the best laughs, the most fun, great adventures, and new people through the years, each who offered something unique and special.

One thing I always did, no matter how hard things got, was cook and bake. It kept my mind off things, I had my kids involved, and often I'd cook with my mom or grandmothers. If I wasn't cooking, I was reading a novel or writing my own short stories. Do what makes you happy.

I remember once my ex husband saying very nasty and sarcastically, attempting to put me down, "What do you do? You don't do anything." Oh, I did plenty, he was just too blind to see it! My current husbands sees ALL I do and also praises my hobbies. Find a partner who cherishes you, not tries to break you down. Luckily, I was way too confident and tough to let some schmuck do that. Know your own worth. He would say nasty crap and then when I responded, he'd get all upset. Pffft. Hey, don't dish it if you can't take it. Thing was, I was telling the truth, he was just TRYING to diss me. That was laughable, but, the truth, that hurts.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year. Stay strong, stay safe, laugh and have fun.

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