Missing the families we didn’t have

The alone-at-Christmas-blues hit with a vengeance yesterday. It was inevitable. I had tried to pack my days so full of music, writing and household activities that I would drop into bed every night without having time to think about not having a husband or children, but the tears caught up with me anyway.
Church did it. Everyone seemed to have visiting family–parents, siblings, children and grandchildren. I saw this nice-looking couple who are probably about my age walking in with their two little granddaughters. I’m going to guess the girls are two and three years old. One was brunette, the other blonde, both just gorgeous, wearing red velvet dresses and white stockings and behaving perfectly. These are the kids we dream about, not the child with the runny nose who might be screaming and tearing up the hymnals.
Watching them, the realization of what I’m missing came down on me like an avalanche. If I hadn’t been up front singing and playing guitar, I might have started crying then or left a little early because suddenly I couldn’t stop thinking about how my husband is gone, his family is gone, my mother is gone, and I have no kids or grandkids. My father and my brother are 700 miles away in California. I saw that perfect family and wanted it so badly it was almost unbearable.

I didn’t say anything about it to anyone, just packed up my guitar and my music books and went off to buy a few groceries and come home to do laundry and hang out with the dog. But then I got busy. I made myself a special dinner, and I baked a delicious coffeecake so I’d have something wonderful to eat for breakfast. I rearranged the furniture in my den. I reorganized my home page on my computer. While I did this stuff, I watched a Rod Stewart special on TV, followed by the movie “Chicago” and later “The Sound of Music.” Soon I was singing along and realized I was happy again.

I woke up happy this morning. I love my new den and my new home page. I love my Christmas lights and Christmas tree, decorated just for me. I’m anxious to open my presents. In a few hours, I’ll be so immersed in music for the Christmas Eve Masses that I won’t have time to think. I hope.

My life is not the same as most other people’s, but it is good. If I don’t think about what other people are doing, I’m fine. But if I do, I’m a soggy mess.
It’s Christmas Eve. If you, too, are feeling pretty beat up, do whatever you can to treat yourself well. Give yourself a present. Eat something delicious. Take a bubble bath. Watch a movie that has nothing to do with children. Most of all, get busy. It’s harder when you’re not at home, but when things get to be too much, how about going for a walk or making a run to the store or playing a game? Try with all your might to block out those thoughts about what you don’t have and treasure what you do have. If you need to shed a few tears, go ahead. You’ll feel better afterward.
Feel free to vent here. We understand.

8 thoughts on “Missing the families we didn’t have

  1. I guess I think about grandchildren more now than children due to my age. Plus you can spoil them and sent them home, the best part of being a grandparent. I will be fine as long as my parents are alive [they are 86 and 81]. I don't know how I'll be when they are gone.
    Wishing you a Merry Christmas!


  2. Doubleme,I agree. I want those gorgeous grandchildren whom I can enjoy and then send back to their parents, leaving me free to enjoy my life. I still have my dad, age 90, but I miss my mom like crazy this time of year. I wish you a very merry Christmas. Thank you for all your contributions here this year. Sue


  3. Thanks so much for all your posts and this one in particular, Sue. Please hug your DoggieDog for me and have an extra piece of coffee cake for me, also. 😉


  4. Feeling your pain, Sue, and so impressed on how you found ways to fill up your days.I enjoyed my brother’s children on Christmas Eve. They are older and (sometimes) not as lovable. They are entering the teen years and these days I enjoy speaking to them as young adults and not so much as children I wish I had.We went to Midnight Mass and avoided many children. Still, I have my husband’s family Christmas coming up. There will be many little ones who get excited at the magic of Santa and are so sweet. I will be the only woman in attendance without a child to keep track of. That will be a harder day.I find myself counting my blessings a little more often in the past week or two. Several little ones in our community have incurable diseases, which is so sad. Others have challenges with their children that no one envies. Even at the upcoming party, I will count my marriage as a blessing. We might have our share of difficulties, but we're in a better place than some of my brother- and sister-in-laws.My life has many blessings right now and I shouldn't waste it.Anon A


  5. Anon A, I think you've got a good perspective on the situation. It's hard not to sink into sadness, but we can rise above it and enjoy the good things. I played music at our Midnight Mass and was surprised how many people dragged their little children out that late. Poor kids. Have a wonderful New Year's.


  6. Anon 7:32 a.m. (I swear, we need numbers or something), Thanks for the link. It's interesting how the blogger got so many negative comments she had to stop taking them. People can be so dense sometimes. Anyway, thank you for this. And yes, Annie the dog gets plenty of hugs. She's so big and huggable.
    All the best to you.


  7. I read '40 and Childless' too, and yes it is sad people are rude and insensitive. I think the world focuses on what we don't have instead of what we do have. The multi-generation family can be a joy, but we can be fulfilled without passing on our genes. I know grandparents with not so great circumstances having to care for the kids their kids couldn't care for. Maybe it is because I am a different generation but I decided to stop letting society decide what I should be. For some reason it baffles society if do not follow the 'norm'.


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