I have never had a good sense of family. As I've stated before in a previous post, my "family" consists of my mother and big sister, Opal (and my other half sister, but I hardly know her).
We don't have traditions.
We don't have family outings.
And, we've never ever taken a family portrait.
As far as I can remember, I don't even think we've been in a picture together, and if we are, we don't have it in our possession. We don't have family albums at home. The few pics I have of growing up are few and far between and I guard them in a little blue photo album in my bedroom at home. Most of the pics in there are from my mid to late teens and were photos given to me by my friends at the time, or maybe from a church member.
My idea of holiday traditions for years on end was going to my friend, Vanessa's house for both Thanksgiving and Christmas because my mom was working yet another year, and she felt "bad" and didn't want me to be at home alone. Vanessa's family became mine, but as I got older, I felt as though I was intruding on their special family time.
It is no wonder why the holidays are no big deal for me. Aside from the problems I've been having with my mother as of late, I did not feel an urge to go home for Thanksgiving this year. I spent it here: in Connecticut. in this grand grad school house. all-by-myself. I even ate left over porkchops for my "big Thanksgiving dinner". No big deal. I wasn't phased by it at all, and frankly, I did not feel as though I missed out on anything special.
When my beau's momma asked me what I like to eat on Christmas Day, my response was "nothing". I don't have traditions. I don't have special holiday dinners. Every Christmas since high school my mom would beg me to put the faux Christmas tree up. I always resisted. I resisted even more when I came home from college for winter break and she asked. I refused until she begged me once more. I hate that stupid thing. I hate that I always had to put it up by myself and decorate it by myself. She never helped... Just came home from work saying that the living room looks much better and it helped to make her feel happy. I guess that's why I always did it... To make her happy.
Although it seems as if I am complaining, I don't resent my mother. She has had to work to make a living for us and herself. She never really had a stable family of her own growing up, and when we finally immigrated to America to live with her, my 2 sisters and I were 17, 12, and 7 years old, respectively. She hardly raised us.
I do get sad thinking about all the things I missed out on during my childhood. I sometimes envied other families who decorated Christmas trees together, always had home-cooked meals, and go out on family outings/vacation together. But when I think about it, I am not the only person in the world who has never experienced those things. Certainly my life is not worse-off or lacking because of it. It's just that sometimes we see things as black and white, and black is almost always negative.
Now, I don't get disappointed at a lackluster holiday celebration, or even the lack there of. The camera I received as a gift in 2005 has truly been my favorite inanimate object. I try not to attend an event without taking a picture to capture the memory. Also, I have the motivation to do all the things that I have 'missed out on' with my future family.
This was all a learning process.