Surviving our childless holidays

Halloween is over, thank God, but I’m still getting comments and private emails from childless people for whom it was a painful experience. Everyone else seemed to be having a great time with their children and grandchildren, but the holiday just reminded them they didn’t/couldn’t/probably never would have kids. Sucks, doesn’t it.

I spent Halloween here alone in my house in the woods, baking muffins for the church bazaar. I bought candy–little Hershey bars because that’s what my mother used to buy, and they made miss her even more than usual. I put up Halloween lights and waited for kids to come. But nobody came. Not a single knock on the door. The few kids who live nearby probably went elsewhere or stayed home, discouraged by the rain and the darkness out here. It was just me mixing one batch of muffins after another, and the dog watching in the hope that I might drop something delicious on the floor. By 9:00, I decided nobody was coming and turned off the lights. My legs were tired from standing at the kitchen counter, and I felt bad about missing another Halloween.

The very next day, yesterday, the Christmas TV commercials started, full of presents for little kids. I have no kids to buy gifts for, and no little kid will be wrapping a present for me.

Gosh, I sound sorry for myself. I’m just saying the holidays are hard when you don’t have children and you wanted them. But we need to get ourselves off our self-pity pots and do something positive. I could have invited people over or found a Halloween party to go to. I could have maybe helped with an event in town. I could donate my candy to a children’s shelter or send it to the troops overseas. I don’t have to eat those little candy bars one at a time and miss my mom with each fattening bite.

Now I can get myself busy with Christmas activities, with and without children, and make or buy gifts for families who can’t afford to buy their own. I can offer my company to lonely seniors. I can spend the holidays at a tropical island reading trashy novels and drinking pina coladas. Maybe find a handsome islander and make love all day long.

With advance planning, our holidays can not only be less painful but even fun. What other ways can we survive our childless holidays? Suggestions?

At least I didn’t put a Halloween costume on my dog.

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6 thoughts on “Surviving our childless holidays

  1. Sorry your Halloween was less that good. Mind was okay. We have great weather and enjoyed drinks on the patio as we doled out the candy. This year was a good one.

    Thanks for the reminder that going into the happy holiday season we do have choices. We can choose to sit at home and watch movies that sadly remind us of what we don't have or we can choose to get out there and expose ourselves to the elements.

    All those options you mentioned sounds fabulous. For you I vote for the handsome islander route.

    My inclination is to find someone more unfortunate than me and do something nice for them. This is an honorable avenue to travel. However, it does tend to depress me more. Then I feel guilty for being sad when I have just personally experienced someone whose life is more sad.

    Perhaps this year I will make a list of fun, frivilous, positive things to do and then make a great effort to actually DO those things.

    Thanks for the reminder that we are still in the drivers seat even if life hasn't unfolded as we wished.

    Anon S

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  2. Thanks, Anon S. Actually I can't flee to an island for Christmas because I have to work–busy time for church musicians–but I do hope to get more involved with other people and follow your example in helping the less fortunate.

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  3. Don't have suggestions. Actually, am hoping to get suggestions, as my Mom fell very sick last month and is not expected to survive this month (is already in hospice).
    I am currently reading your ebook, and it helps to read something similar to my experience, but also saddens me to read things yet to come (Mother's Day, etc).
    Any advise to those recently deemed childless (by nature) and are losing their mother concurrently?
    Not looking forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas & Mom's birthday, already.

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  4. I can't imagine your pain Michelle.

    My good friend lost her mother last year right before Christmas. I don't think there really is anything that helps with a pain so great – except maybe time.

    I certainly hope you find bits of comfort to get you through it all.

    Anon S

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  5. Michelle,
    I'm so sorry this is happening. Losing my mother was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. Adding childlessness to the mix certainly doesn't help. All I can suggest is to take it one day at a time and enjoy the time you can spend with your mother and the rest of your family. Try to appreciate the small pleasures in life–a good meal, a pretty sunset, a hug–and keep going. Don't try to hide your feelings. It's okay to talk about what you're going through, including with your mother if she's able. You're in my prayers.

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  6. Michelle, I am sorry to hear about your mom.

    We are planning to go away for Christmas. For Thanksgiving, we have invited some people over, it doesn't look like we have any takers yet so maybe it'll just be the 2 of us.

    I'll be so glad not to have to be around my MIL for Christmas. She spoils the hell out of her grown grandkids, and her great-grandchild. The whole thing makes me feel very uncomfortable. Not sure why me and my hubby are even needed there, so we're not going anymore. If she put the same amount of effort into teaching any of them to be decent human beings (i.e., not hit anyone, to start), rather than just buying them every thing they could ever want and then some, I might still be able to be around them.

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