The turkey has been gobbled, the Black Friday has dawned into Saturday, and we are facing a new holiday season…
In response, my Thanksgiving decorations have been promptly stowed and my Christmas decorations have started to adorn my home. Now that I am mother, this is increasingly important to me. It is making good on a promise made to my younger self, a little girl self, that my adult home that included me as a mother would also include the care to celebrate life and holidays.
To explain, my own mother lived with her own untreated mental illnesses. She was never fully present and would swing in and out of consciousness barely recognizing the world around her. She reacted with paranoia, accusations, anger, irrationality, and was far from celebratory of life. She knew family members were conspiring against her and that the holiday was a conspiracy in itself. My childhood home at the holidays were drear and unpredictable because there was also another side to the coin. That side was my father. A man whose violent mood swings were never treated, and he provided an exquisite unpredictability. One moment he was of the thought that Christmas only came once a year and we should throw caution to the wind… and the next moment, he was berating me on how I would never understand the value of a dollar and desiring a Christmas tree was pure selfishness.
Simply, as a child, holiday cheer was elusive. I made a promise early on to myself that as a parent I would do different. I would celebrate the season. My child would not feel dreary as a result of my actions and I would not provide the eggshells for that child to walk on. They would be allowed to be a child and experience holiday cheer.
So, here I am. I am a momma to a nineteen month old boy and I made sure that my home is decorated. And while my decorations are not worthy of a Pinterest pin or spot in a magazine, there is a heartfelt desire behind why I do this. I want to cultivate cheer and a celebratory spirit in my home for him… and for me. We both deserve it.
I also do something else. Just like my parents, I am mentally ill. In fact, I have the illness that is the blending of both my parents’ diseases. But, there is a major difference, I receive treatment and have support. I am intentionally stopping the cycle.
So, my friends, may your holiday season have cheer, jolly moments, and sweet times together. And may we remember the power we have in cultivating the experience.