I got a text from my dad tonight that surprised me. It said,
Hey, be sure E works her schedule to be off Christmas Eve and our anniversary. We want everyone for both.
E is my oldest…the one who works in the floral department at a local grocery store. She was sitting across from me so after I read it, I started to tell her what it said. Then I had to stop and look back at it because suddenly it dawned on me…
It said EVERYONE FOR CHRISTMAS EVE.
That means me AND my sister at the same time. For Christmas. That hasn’t happened since 2008.
In our family we do an every other year sort of thing. Even-numbered years are spent with the in-laws doing Christmas however the in-laws do it, and odd-numbered years are spent with our family. We do a special meal on Christmas Eve and open presents that night as well. Christmas day is usually spent back at our own homes with our immediate families. During the even-numbered years, we always picked another day during the holidays to have our Christmas together so at no point did we ever miss celebrating with either side.
In 2007, I lived overseas with my husband and four kids. We came back to the states to spend Christmas Eve with my family. That was the last Christmas Eve I’ve had with them. In 2008, we celebrated with them on another day, but we were fresh from moving back to the states, and I was an all around basket case as I dealt with the harsh reality of reverse culture shock, being gay, and being madly in love with a woman who chose another over me. In 2009, I wasn’t invited to the Christmas Eve celebration because I had come out to my family, filed for divorce from my husband, and moved out of my house. In 2010, I was invited to my parents’ on New Year’s Day which is when we exchanged presents. My brothers and their families were both there that day as well, but my sister wouldn’t come. In 2011, I wasn’t invited to any Christmas event on any day. Christmas 2012, well…I think we went to my parents at some point during the holiday for a get-together with my brothers, but my sister wasn’t there for sure. And it wasn’t the main Christmas celebration, but an extra event planned so I could participate in something. (If you’re interested in details about the celebrations, click on the blue dates for the blog post that was written that year.)
But this year…this year they want EVERYONE on Christmas Eve.
After talking with my sister recently, I figured we would just end up at my parents for a second celebration on Christmas Day. I knew that we were both going to be at my parents’ 50th anniversary party. That was already a stretch for her. I didn’t think there was any way we would all celebrate Christmas together.
And maybe I’m reading more into it than is necessary. My dad never does say that my sister will be there too, but I can’t imagine that he and mom would leave her family out. Maybe we’re just all invited and they might choose not to come. Who knows. What I do know is that I’m invited to Christmas Eve!
I don’t expect everything to be better from now on. I have no idea what any future Christmas will look like, but I am ok with that. I knew when I came out in 2009, that my family and Christmas would never look the same again. Each year since has looked slightly different. At least, now, we’re headed in the right direction. Togetherness.