So there we have it – Christmas is done and gone, for another year. A magical and somewhat sad time. On the day before Christmas, Sylvie was already stressing that Christmas will be gone soon. It’s hard living and being in the moment, even for an 8-year-old kid. You wait for this special day and before you know it – it’s in the past.
But before that, there was the opening of the presents! Who doesn’t love presents?! And not because of the stuff you get, but because of the thoughtfulness of the people who give you the presents. That is a feeling you want to keep with yourself for as long as you can so that it keeps your heart warm in times of need.
These days it’s really easy to brush the whole Christmas thing off – there’s just so much going on around the world; so much drama, so much pain, so much hardship. People aren’t even allowed to come together or have to go through multiple obstacles just to get together for a few hours. Or others still won’t because they’re afraid to leave their places. Or others still can’t, being confined and not allowed to go out.
All of this can really get into you and Christmas can become a thought at the back of your head. But then again, we need to remember what Christmas and these holidays are really about. Even if we can’t be together with all the people we want to be with, we can still muster the feelings inside of our hearts and spread some love to anyone around us. Hopefully, there are a few people around us.
In moments like this, we realise how important it is to have our people. Even if they’re in other places, towns, countries, we carry them in our hearts, we hold onto these feelings and let them sweep through us. We remember to be grateful for every little thing and every single person around us. And we show this gratitude by giving them something, a little present, a call, a hug.
I’ve been having a hard time on Christmas for years. Back in Ireland, when Sylvie was still a toddler, I would sometimes start crying on the day. There would be a big party next door with many of my partner’s family and although it was lovely to see and be with these people, it would remind me of the fact that I’m not and can’t be with my people. My mother and sister were dead, my father was in another country, probably battling with the same feelings as me, and the rest of my family and friends were in a third country.
There was a moment when that feeling became unbearable. I remember really wanting to have our Christmas tradition, with my small family of three. To replace my “old”, broken and dispersed family with my “new” family, to feel the gap of the lack I was feeling inside.
Eventually, when we moved to Bulgaria, we did start our own tradition – last year was the first time we were at home and by ourselves. It did feel good to do things our way but we missed the people, our people – my partner’s and my people. My family is still dispersed over two countries and a couple of towns, and my partner’s family is now in a different country, too.
So there you have it. It is what it is – it’s good and bad and everything in between. You gain something and you lose something, and there’s isn’t a better way. Perhaps the lesson here is to find that thing that you really want and go after it. I really want to have our home and our tradition but I don’t want us to be just by ourselves. I want us to have our people around, to invite them, to be together. It’s not always possible but surely we can work towards that goal. And maybe one day it will happen – we really need to know what we want from this life. We only have one, after all.
And in the meantime, we can be grateful for all the things we’ve achieved because they’re the wishes that have come true. We can carry the gratitude and the lack at the same time because they walk hand in hand. Achieving something reminds you of the things you haven’t, just yet, and it also reminds you that you can achieve them in the future.
And then come back to this moment, here and now, feel it all, breathe it all out, look around, listen. How many of your blessings can you count right now?1