My furkids have let me sleep in the past couple of days, being on vacation it is rather awesome, on Christmas Day that sleep lasted until about 8:45 when some friend with little kids decided to text message me. Probably because he has been up since 5am. The ding of my iPhone was echoed through my Bluetooth speaker and then the buzzing of my watch. I groaned. Feeling a slight twinge of a headache from the bottle and a half of shared wine the evening before. Ten minutes later another baby crazy friend sends me a text message…. At 9:15, after a trip outside for the boys, the boys’ breakfast and settling down with coffee, I still have not answered the first two text messages. Why? Well according to my brother I get weird about the holidays.
Now wait to the bombardment of “Merry Christmas” text messages from people I barely hear from the rest of the year… Could we not?
So back to this “she gets weird around the holidays.”
I grew up in what I consider a large family, I’m one of 4 kids. Christmas was every bit the insane sugar spun Hallmark card. So when I got married at the way too young age of 21, I had every intention of recreating that family life. In fact I use to joke that my family was the truly dysfunctional family. Yes my siblings and I all beat the crap out of each other growing up, but moving into adult hood we were thick as thieves. My parents were still married and loved each other.. Or so I thought. A few years later my youngest sister discovers that my father has a girlfriend, it turns out a girlfriend the past 5 years. After that, my parents marriage quickly falls apart. My mother is served divorce papers at work on what would have been her 25th wedding anniversary. At this point I’ve been married 3 years, it’s ok, but we spend so much time working or deployed with the military that we are truly unable to settle into a true married life. Until we exit the military. Fast forward a few years, a child, and a miserable life, a verbally abusive marriage. I’ve already posted a blog discussing this…. me too …..so I’m not going to dive back into it. My first Christmas post divorce was an attempt at normalcy. Myself and several friends got together and did a big happy dinner, it was truly wonderful. But a year later we would all be moved to different states, myself living in Connecticut at the time, could not get the time off so I ended up spending Christmas alone. This would not be the first or the last Christmas spent working and alone. Mind you, I am in law enforcement, working Christmas is not exactly uncommon. However, I have lost count of how many Christmas’s my brother and father have spent with my ex-husband and the daughter he refuses to let travel to Michigan. Oh, there have been other holidays too, like Thanksgiving. They never tell me ahead of time, I usually find out because pictures have been posted on social media or like last year. When my brother called our mom, who was with me, in the evening and after talking for about 10 minutes put my then 11 year old daughter on the phone. You can imagine my upset. Another year, I arrived at my father’s house middle of Christmas Day because due to weather and work, it was the earliest I could start out on the 11-12 hour road trip. I found out two days later that my ex had been there for several days and only left when I was a few hours out. So yea, maybe I get a little draw inward and disappointed in my own blood about the holidays.
Fast forward 9 years, another Christmas, by this point the flavor is lost. I’m not moved by societies expectations of how I should be spending it re-married, with extended family and spending way too much money sinking myself into a temporary debt. I enjoyed a friend’s extended family dinner last night and today, despite the warm ups Michigan has seen the past 5 days, I plan on heading out to one of the State Parks and breaking in my snowshoes… it’s 35 degrees outside at 9am, I might as well wear shorts! Kidding…
Ok, I really didn’t mean to ramble about my family for 700 words, I did try to keep it brief. I want this blog to be more about the new traditions I am setting for myself and ways that I refuse to feel holiday blues or disappointment anymore….and frankly, this year, listening to my boys wrestle in the dinning room in the mid morning low light of a Michigan December, I am happy, I am content. The past several months has seen an even bigger change than the past 5 years and I am enjoying every bit of it. I attribute this to my ‘get out and do more, be more’ plan.
I actually started contemplating what I was going to do for Christmas this year, back in October. I had been invited back in July to spend Christmas in Dallas with friends and bring my boys, but I wasn’t 100% about making that drive. The friend who had invited me, pretty much knows there is very little reasons I will board my boys, in fact it’s borderline in saying I’d rather stay home than go somewhere without them. Work and camping are the only two reasons right now, camping because Reese is kind of an asshole who doesn’t listen well. It’s gonna take some work to turn him into a camping companion. Work, well, I think that is a fairly obvious reason.
So I had tossed around a few ideas in my head, the one I loved the most…renting a Winnebago and either taking off and just driving anywhere for a week or renting a camp site on one of our amazing lakes and just disappearing off the grid for a couple days to a week… Either option was not in my budget this year. Don’t rule this out for next Christmas thou.
I had been planning on buying snowshoes for this winter since late summer. Turning off my phone and going snowshoeing was as appealing and means that I can continue to save money for two possible trips in the works for this summer.
I’ve put the Do Not Disturb mode on, on my iPhone. I’ve already pulled the new Osprey pack I spoiled myself with, out. Pulled my hammock out and put it in the pack, hey you never know. Grabbed my water resistant hiking pants, a thick pair of wool socks, it might be 35 degrees outside but I’m thinking the thicker hiking socks are the better idea. Added one of my base layer SmartWool shirts to the pile. My snowshoes are sitting in the front room just waiting to get outside…
Two cups of coffee and I’m awake and excited to start another solo adventure.
A few hours and five miles later, not bad for the first trip to break in my new snowshoes. The temperature hung right above freezing, a few degrees cooler than it has been the past couple of days but not as down right cold as it was the previous two weeks. I ended up snowshoeing in my hiking pants, the SmartWool top and vest with a beanie and gloves. I had started out with my Loeka mountain biking jacket on, but after a mile it was too warm. I knew this was going to happen, but getting started it was just to cold to go without it.
Heading home a little before dark, I am one happy gal. Spending Christmas late morning and afternoon in nature with no one else in sight. It was all mine for a change. It was beautiful.
I cannot wait to go again, Michigan we need more snow.