A feeling of disconnection at Christmas

Christmas 2010 had it’s share of ups and downs.

On the side of good, Christmas shopping was a breeze even if we did bust the budget a little. Everyone seemed to want bigger ticket items this year so it made for minimal trips to the mall. Coupled with the fact that we’ve primarily adopted a gift card mentality for the majority of the children in our life (we buy for nearly 15 kids), shopping was a breeze. The outside lights turned out beautifully and the interior with a perfect real tree was stunning. Christmas Eve was a delight with dinner with my mother, step-Dad, and step-sister. Christmas morning was peaceful with a late start to gift opening, a beautiful ham meal, and a night at the movies. Boxing Day, we had our traditional Christmas gathering with as many of my step-Dad’s children and their families as is available – the big Xmas gift opening and turkey dinner. We had tons of time with friends and family with good food and laughter.

On the side of the not-so-good, we were still very much missing Mamma K and dealing with the grief and the sadness. Scott was still in the midst of fighting off pneumonia and I started battling the cold so we both had sore throats and coughs. As well, we had a few tradition changes. Our usual Xmas Eve gift opening/turkey dinner celebration moved to Boxing Day. And for some reason, there seemed to be a slight break-down in communication between one side of the family and me. Scott and I ended up missing out on key information about the reasons behind the changes to the Christmas traditions that would have A) left us feeling more informed and understanding and B) would have allowed us to make a few different choices that would have improved our Christmas planning. These mix ups in some senses left Scott and I feeling slightly out of the loop. We both felt that although the Boxing Day celebration was wonderful, in a way it was like we were watching a Christmas celebration through a window wishing we could be a part of that family. It was odd. I mean, for all intense purposes, it was an overall good Christmas but there was this lingering sense of “not belonging” to some parts of it.

And as I pondered how to “fix” this feeling of disconnection, I had a light bulb moment where instead of just reacting and going into problem solving mode, I started asking myself pertinent questions. For example, am I willing to do what I think it would take to feel like I belong at that deeper level? Do I want to roll around on the floor with the kids, playing dollies and Tonka, so that when I come into a room they scream “Auntie Natalie” with joy and excitement like they do my step-sister? Do I want to cancel weekends at the camp and switch adult oriented evenings to fit in more family friendly gatherings so that I “fit” in more and create a stronger “bond” with everyone?

What do I want? How important is it to be me to feel a sense of belonging beyond what I already have with my extended family? Do I think it’s possible? Do I think my step-siblings will ever truly see me as a sister? There seems to have been so many instances and indicators throughout 2010 that lead me to believe that I don’t belong at that deep, founding level. Do they love me? Absolutely! Do they consider me “family” in the largest, extended sense of the word? I believe so. But am I a sister in the deepest, connected sense? I don’t know. And if they do not, honestly, what is wrong with that? What’s wrong with what we share as is?

And maybe I am being cynical. Maybe I was over sensitive. Maybe familial relations grow and flounder, up and down, bob and weave and next year, I’ll feel differently. It’s hard to say.

Either way, it is very interesting to take the time to ponder and consider more consciously what I want in my life for 2011 and beyond. What’s most important, what do I value, and what am I willing and not willing to do to get it instead of just “reacting” on blind emotion and instinct. 2010 was a year of activity and change that was healthy in its own right. We accomplished and overcame more in a year then I imagined possible (stay tuned for my year-in-review post). I would like 2011 to be more thought out with a higher degree of conscious living with greater focus on what I want to create for my life (stay tuned for my year ahead post).

Maybe 2011 will involve more effort in the family arena, maybe not. Time will tell.

How were your holiday seasons?

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