I can see their faces now, peaking down over the banister, their not so quiet whispers, “did he come?” The anticipated footsteps racing down the stairs. Their eyes race from corner to corner of the piled up presents. Brock comments on which presents are his and which are his sister’s, trying to find who has the biggest one. They giggle seeing that there are only crumbs left behind on the plate and the milk half gone. And the stockings….their favorite. It is magical. Just as it should be. The uncontainable excitement in the children. The pure joy in their parents eyes. Magical.
But this Christmas I will miss all that. This Christmas I won’t even have the joy of seeing my children. To hear their voices, to see their eyes light up and to bask in the pure romance of it all. This Christmas they will be with their father and his family. And just knowing that they will be creating cherished memories helps, but not enough. My first choice is with me. With this being my first Christmas as a divorced woman, I have played out how this day will unfold for me over and over. None of which will replace the beauty of being with my children. None of which make the tears stop when I think of not being with them. And believe me, the tears don’t stop. But I have a choice to make. I can be pitiful and let my Christmas be scarred with tears and booze or I can pull myself together and find a way to celebrate me.
The choices I make in life are mine. I know me better than anyone ever can or ever will. Some people find comfort in surrounding themselves with others… anyone…just for the sake of not being alone. Not me. I find comfort in the exact opposite. I find comfort in myself and in celebrating who I am becoming. Most will never understand my decision to be alone on Christmas, to not share it with others, but that is ok. I don’t need to be understood. I need to be supported, encouraged and loved by those who choose to be in my life.
I have always had a fascination with travel. And just this year I deepened that fascination by traveling solo on a few occasions. Travel is highly personal to me. In traveling I see myself more clearly. It is a way in which I can release myself from the daily tasks that have created my regular life. Without challenge and moving past the comfort of my routine, there is no room for growth. This is not a vacation for me. This is me opening a door…to a journey…a release. Christmas 2016 will be spent submerging myself into a culture that is unfamiliar. A culture that will make me get out of my bubble, view and adapt. Puerto Rico will be my temporary home. And in this, I find comfort.
So as I take this journey, it is twofold. I won’t pretend that it is not to escape the absence of my children over the holiday. This is true. And it hurts. But I will train my mind and body in preparation for the positive that will come from it. This solo journey excites me and that is what life needs. Things that excite us to our core. Things that challenge us and push us past our default settings in life. Welcoming unpredictable experiences brings about unpredictable change. ‘Tis the season…for change and for celebrating who I will become.
“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” D. Kaye