Guest Post: Serita Winthrop

Response to Blog # 18: Feelings This Holiday...

The holidays always bring a certain amount of mixed feelings for me.  I remember my childhood Christmases which took place in a family place in South Carolina.  I didn’t enjoy those at all.  My father was always in a cranky mood and my stepmother wasn’t all that into the festivities.  In fact, my main memory is being with my three older brothers in the Main House alone.  We decided to open the presents from our mother, who was in Boston with her husband, and ALWAYS sent things we didn’t want.

My disabled brother, “Hew”, threw his present in the fireplace.  We watched it burn.  Then the other brothers did the same.  I can’t remember if I followed their example.  But fun it was not.  Best part was sitting at the desk near that fireplace on Christmas afternoon.  I wrote all of my thank you notes that afternoon, every year.

There were a few happy years when my four children were young and we lived in Lincoln, MA.  I remember my now ex husband helping to clean the kitchen on Christmas Day.  That was a highlight for me because he didn’t help all that often.  

The children were happy with their new toys and we ate BLTs in front of the fire for our Christmas Lunch.  That was our little tradition. I loved having the kitchen looking so organized and clean.

Roger cooked only on Sunday nights and separated the cooking pots that he used from the ones I used.

He said I didn’t clean mine properly.  Now I like living alone.  Roger would be amused if he could see me this Christmas,  a veritable Neatnik.

Several of my friends have children who aren’t speaking to them.  One has a sister who was once her best friend, her only sibling, and they are estranged.  Why is there still so much disconnection in families?  The societal expectations around the Holidays only exacerbate these divisions and make so many of us sad. 

The good news is that my friendships still thrive in my seventies.  I just dropped in on my neighbor, Betty, who is my co-grandmother to two granddaughters here in Rhinebeck.  She is a little envious that I am able to go to the 9:30PM Christmas service tonight at the Episcopal Church of the Messiah.  This will be a highlight as theMusic will be sublime.  There I go with my expectations, but anticipating my being able to sing those carols brings me a moment of happy anticipation.  I am slowly learning that we need to look for Joy.