Merry Christmas! Or if you don’t do Christmas, enjoy whatever you do celebrate. Why am I posting on Christmas? Am I not busy? Well . . . not so much. The bio family is far away. The friend family is busy with their kids and grandkids. I’m having dinner with friends later, but now, I’ve got time.
Are you making yourselves crazy by reading all the posts online about everybody’s family Christmas celebrations? Well, turn it off. Go for a walk. Right after you read this, of course.
For parents and grandparents, Christmas is exhausting and expensive. I visited with a friend the other day who said he had something like 35 kids and grandkids to honor for Christmas. He married into most of them.
My husband’s cousin met her current husband after both of their longtime spouses died. He came with a huge family, too. She was planning to feed 30 of them on Christmas Eve. This morning, she and her husband planned to fly to Denver to visit her one daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. I’m tired just thinking about it.
I’m not complaining about getting to stay home and cook only for me while the family celebrates far away and the friends do their own family thing. Sounds selfish, but it’s true. But maybe, if I had kids and grandkids . . .
I see all those pictures of my friends cuddling their little ones, I see all the great things in the stores that I could buy for my grandchildren, and I imagine all the family events that won’t be happening—Christmas, First Communion, graduation, weddings, babies–and I feel a little ripped off. Annie the dog and I are good, but imagine how much fuller our lives could be.
I was reading an article about “grandchildlessness.” That’s such a long word. How about NonGrammas and NonGramps? Here’s the link. The author is writing about Australia, but one could tell a similar story almost anywhere these days. All of us who are not having children are also not giving our parents grandchildren. Our parents don’t have much control over that.
If we’re lucky, our siblings fill the gap. If not, well, think about how lousy we feel when people start hauling out the baby pictures. When you get to be my age, it’s the grandbaby pictures. You can counter with pictures of nieces, nephews and cousins, but we all know it’s not the same.
How do we help our parents to understand and accept what’s so hard for us to understand and accept? My parents kept quiet on the subject. They had my brother’s kids, and they knew being childless was a source of pain for me. My second husband’s mother said she had so many grandchildren from her three boys already that she had no need for more.
If I had stayed married to my first husband and remained childless, I can imagine it would have been different. His mother really wanted grandchildren. She was all about her Catholic-raised kids following the standard program. She had already bought a few baby things in the hope of prodding us into parenthood. I do not believe she would ever have a found a way to let it go if we said, “Nope, not having kids.” In fact, she might have nagged us enough that my ex would have given in. But if he only agreed to have children because everyone was ragging on him about it, what good would that be? She never had any grandchildren. That makes me sad. But it’s a trend, and it’s growing.
Has anyone nagged you to make grandbabies? How do you feel about not giving your parents grandchildren? Are they bugging you about it this Christmas?
How are your holidays going? Are you with the stepchildren or your bio family or on your own? Is it a happy day or a fighting-tears kind of day? Feel free to share in the comments.
Merry Christmas, hugs to all of you. See you next year!