I Only Spend The Holidays With People Who Genuinely Care About Me

The holidays tend to bring back childhood memories for me; good and bad – but mostly good. The good ones always make me nostalgic for a time when life was a bit simpler. Simpler because during the holidays, the only concern I had was trying to fit all of our ornaments on our Christmas tree with my cousins. And athough I knew there would never be any presents under our tree, the joyful feeling of the season and getting together with family always made up for the lack of what wasn’t there.

My grandma was the glue that held the family together – everyone always came to our house because she had a way of welcoming people into her home. And since we lived with her, we were lucky enough to see her all of the time. We saw aunts and uncles, cousins, friends of the family, and some extended family we didn’t really know or care to know. At times, we didn’t like it. But, as I reminisce, it leaves me with all the good feels.

And now that I am a grown woman with children of my own, the holidays are something I want my kids to feel nostalgic about when they are adults. And to have them remember their childhood – the simpler time in their lives as well with a smile on their faces. While there will be many presents under our tree, the one perk to being the adult is I get a say in who we spend the holidays with.

There was a time, for many years that I forced myself to spend the holidays with my in-laws and certain members of my husband’s family whom I disliked. Since I am not one to make a stink, I always accepted this without questioning it. That is until I had my children and their emotional health and who and what they would be exposed to took center stage.

Last year in particular, a certain event occurred. An event that made my children upset. And without going into too many details, I am happy to say that from that moment on, I made a decision that has had a positive impact on my family.

The decision was to never engage with someone who could emotionally harm my children or with someone who doesn’t have my best interest at heart. The person who prompted this decision happens to be my mother-in-law.

I will admit it is a relief to know I do not have to see her at what is supposed to be the most joyous time of year. Knowing I don’t have to fake it anymore brings a huge sense of relief. And knowing I can spend the holidays with the people who genuinely care for me and my family is what is important. People who I see year-round and not just when it’s good for them. Family that matters.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Blood is thicker than water”? My father walked out on us when we were kids. Should I still embrace him as family simply because “he is blood”?  I do not wish to have a relationship with my father now, even though he is still alive and I am an adult. How can I possibly have a relationship with someone I barely know and will never cross paths with again? What would be the point? Needless to say, every memory I have of him is hurtful in some way.

I refuse to suffer through another precious holidays with energy vampires – friends or family who literally suck the energy from my body. The ones who leave me feeling like they took some of my soul with them. Life is too short and it’s not a lesson I want to teach to my kids. I want them to feel empowered to make their own decisions and not beholden to people that don’t make them feel good about themselves. And that’s better than any present that they will find under the Christmas tree.

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