Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. We do a lot of family things around the holidays, in preparation for and during.
A fun video of our day in New York City at Christmas. Please visit my YouTube Channel, subscribe, hit the bell for notifications so you don't miss any new videos and give a thumbs up to the videos you like. Feel free to share and comment/ask questions. check out my category Gluten Free Baking.
Take a peek at my post Christmas In New York. We made it just before they closed down due to Covid19.
December brings mixed emotions. There's amazingly wonderful memories, especially from childhood, of family, friends, delicious meals, and love and laughter. December also has some hard days. The 14th, 15th and 16th are rough.
December 15, 1989. My maternal grandfather passed away. It was the day after his birthday, so that makes December 14th hard too. I always remember Grandpa on the 14th.
We had just celebrated his birthday on the 14th. On the 15th, my ex won some sort of gift certificate so we left my son, under a year old at the time, at my parent's house and we went to dinner in Port Jefferson. It started to snow, so we picked up my son after dinner and left before it got bad. I went to sleep early.
My grandparents lived in the apartment attached to my parents' house that I'm living in now. My mom had company over, but due to the snow, and having a small baby, I chose to leave rather than stay for tea. Usually, my grandmother came in to my mom's side of the house for tea, but that night, she didn't, she fell asleep on the couch watching TV. When she woke, she called my grandfather, who also fell asleep, or so she thought. She realized, he had died.
I didn't hear the phone ring. My ex answered it and refused to put me on the phone to speak with my sister. There was the narcissism kicking in. Instead, she was forced to tell him my grandfather died in his sleep. When someone calls my house and asks to speak to anyone other than me, I immediately hand over the phone. Then again, I'm not a control freak.
I found out my grandfather passed by being roughly nudged awake. I barely had my eyes open and was told, "your grandfather died." Then he turned and walked away. I was in shock. What a cold, disgusting, repulsive way to tell someone something like that. I would be more kind-hearted, caring and gentle with a stranger and stay to comfort them.
When I managed to get up, I went to the phone and called my mom's house.
Five years later, on the same date, December 15, I picked up my two kids, the extra set of car keys I had made up and had hidden, and walked out. It was the absolute best decision I'd ever made, but also made things difficult in different ways. No more dealing with insanity, but dealing with being a single mom to two, working full time and doing it all wasn't a piece of cake. (see At Last)
In 2011, on December 16, we lost my nephew and Godson to a rare and aggressive form of cancer. (see Cooking For Cancer Patients and Their Families)
December 14, 15, and 16 are hard days. However, through the difficulty, I remember to count my blessings, I also realize that my grandfather and my Godson would want us to be happy and be together. We celebrate, we have fun, we enjoy good food, good laughs and being together!
What do you do? I was asked that question years ago, over 27 years now. Let me reiterate. I wasn't actually asked. It was barked at me in a belittling way by someone who always tried to put me down and then got upset when I answered him back with truths.
You see, making up something about others in an attempt to put them down holds no water. It's the truth that hurts. I NEVER said anything nasty to anyone first, but, if they said it to me, then they got what they deserved.
What do you do?
The better question would have been, "What don't you do." As for what I DID do, well, here's the short list.
I worked full time even while pregnant.
I threw up in a bucket while pregnant that I kept next to my desk at work.
I had major surgery twice to bring life into this world.
I was the main caregiver always of my babies. I didn't come and go as I pleased knowing someone else would just be there. No. If I wanted to do something, I had to make arrangements.
I stayed up all night with a sick baby and still went to work in the morning.
I did the laundry, the food shopping, the cooking.
I made lunches for everyone in the family.
I drove to and from preschool, with a newborn in tow.
I did all the activities; Gymboree, gymnastics, play dates, etc.
I did all the holiday shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, cleaning and more.
I made all the plans for the fun times.
I kept up relations.
When I left on December 15, 1994, I DID the best thing ever for myself and my kids.
I was mom and dad for the rest of their young lives until adulthood.
I did dentist appointments, doctor appointments, ER visits at 3 a.m., dance classes, karate classes, swim meets, recitals, school plays, communion parties, Sweet 16 parties, graduation parties, birthday parties.
I did the giggles and the laughs playing Candy Land for hours while the dishes and laundry piled up.
I did teaching. I taught them how to save for what they want. How to put money into a jar, all your birthday presents, holiday gifts, etc. We did that for two years.
I did a Disney Cruise with the money I saved and the money they saved - they got to spend theirs on the cruise.
I did the Mother/Son dance at my son's wedding.
I did the right thing and called my son when he was planning his wedding and said, "If you want to invite your father, don't think you can't because of me. I would never tell you such a thing. The only thing I ask is that we not sit together and not be introduced together." After that, he made his own choice.
I did tell my kids the truth when they asked questions. I didn't sugarcoat or embellish, I simply said the truth. Kids see things, remember things and I never wanted my kids growing up thinking mom was blind or an idiot. Lying to them doesn't change the truth. Sugarcoating doesn't change the truth. It just makes you look stupid.
I did take the blame for EVERYTHING. It's all good. Blame me if it works for you. I know the truth and so do those close to me.
I did sleep very well and still do.
I did try to save my Godson's life and worked tirelessly with others to try to help him.
I did deliver food to the needy and took my kids along to help hand out food at Thanksgiving.
I did work full time, go to school the equivalent of full time, kept up my grades, and never missed anything with my kids.
I did travel with and without my kids.
I did give pets a loving, caring home and taught my kids the responsibility of having pets. They now have their own - my grandpups.
I did go on 4 hours of sleep a night for years to earn my Bachelor's degree.
I did make friends in middle school that I still have today.
I did make many friends in adulthood as well.
I did spend time with my grandparents from a small child until an adult, learning from them, laughing with them, cooking with them and more.
I did make the holidays special.
I did read to the kids, bathe the kids, dress them, teach them, discipline them, play with them, laugh with them and more.
I'm assuming that question was supposed to make me feel inferior. It didn't. I assume the person was looking for an extraordinary answer, like I sang at the opera, or I became CEO of a billion dollar company, or I performed surgery on dying children and saved lives daily.
Or maybe I was supposed to list my hobbies..
I read often, always have from a small child.
I love to write and have excelled since grade school.
I love being with family and friends.
I travel - well I used to when I could.
I help my kids however I can. Planning engagement parties, weddings, dog sitting, house sitting, cooking, whatever they need. Yes, that is a hobby.
I cook - my first love.
The person who asked this question so viciously, trying to insult me and make me feel bad, hasn't done not even a quarter of the things I've mentioned, never will, isn't even capable.
So, to answer the question, What Do You Do? I do it all. I always have, I always will until my last breath.
Too many women are broken by people who are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually abusive. I credit my upbringing and my wonderful family for my confidence, self worth and survivor attitude.
Never let someone who has their own issues try to dump their problems on you, try to degrade you and then blame you and best, get upset when you answer them back with truths.
Know your worth. YOU DO YOU. That's what you were meant to do!
What do I do? Now, I do whatever I WANT to do and I do it with love, caring, and always make it fun. I often do things with my wonderful husband and we actually laugh and have a great time. We have FUN!
I'm off to do all the wrapping and baking. To me, doing those things with love means the world. Not everyone was meant to do grandiose things. Those things are amazing and worth celebrating. But so are the little things we do. There's been many a person who told me they wished they had someone who would do the things I do.
What do you do? Whatever you do, as long as you do it with a kind heart, a caring soul and in a loving manner, you do enough. Don't ever let anyone knock that. Don't ever think it's not enough, not important or not worthwhile.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.