Happy New Year! Here are some thoughts from me, starting with this:
Yes, that is a White Elephant (trust me, I'm going somewhere with this). Every year, my extended family partakes in a White Elephant game. For those of you who may not know what I'm talking about, it's similar to a Yankee Swap or Pollyana. Everyone brings a random gift and then proceeds to pick from the pile in the order they selected. Battles ensue, people bring home weird crap...all good holiday fun.
So how does a White Elephant game tie in with this post? Well, I'm sitting there playing the game with my family during our annual get-together and I realize...not only am I playing the White Elephant game, but there IS a White Elephant in the room too. This was the first year my mom wasn't there (we were with my Dad's side of the family) and even though no one said anything I'm sure it was weird. It's the White Elephant no one wants to talk about: divorce. A family is broken and someone's missing from the dinner table. All very strange, especially after so many years together. One year my Mom was there with us...now she's not. I have to imagine it feels strange for everyone else too.
However, despite the semi-awkward moments I encountered, I have to say that things went better this year than I thought. I wasn't sure what to expect but was pleased to find that everyone got along and seemed very happy. For the first time, there was no tension. Just a family enjoying one another's company. That was probably the best gift I experienced and I hope it stays that way every year. It's so much more relaxing not having to worry about how anyone will react or if any fights will break out. I can see that with time, wounds will heal and our family will start to function more like a family again. Not to mention, having divorced parents can mean more gifts (or as my husband referred to it, "more crap to clutter our apartment"). Definitely not what the holidays are all about but hey, maybe there are silver linings after all...
How many of you experienced a White Elephant situation this holiday? Were you able to endure it more easily than you thought? Were you pleasantly surprised by how well everyone got along? I hope that all of you ACOD's will be able to start fresh this new year with each of your families. I pray for forgiveness and love - two very important ingredients for moving forward and beginning the healing process.
And if you need to vent about the holidays, you know where to find me. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org :)