Yes I know the title of these seems harsh and unfeeling. It goes against every Christmas song that talks about going home (i.e. I'll Be Home For Christmas). Let me explain myself before you judge me too harshly.
I love my family. I really do. And I miss them all the time. I have many fond memories of Christmases past with the family. We gather together Christmas Eve for a fabulous dinner (usually a couple varieties of soups), along with salad, rolls and many delicious deserts. Once we have eaten we gather in the family room for a Christmas program which includes playing games, musical numbers, and dad reading of the Christmas story. Then we gather around the tree and open presents from each other. We like to keep family gifts and Santa gifts separate. Then we head to bed in anticipation of Santa coming to visit that night. In the morning, we get up early to see what is in our stockings. We all usually have a pile of gifts from Santa somewhere around the tree. After we have discovered the gifts left from Santa we have a big breakfast with quiche, waffles, pumpkin roll and orange julius. We then spend the rest of the day playing with our toys, doing puzzles, and watching our new movies. Sounds like a delightful way to spend Christmas doesn't it? Yes, the house if full of love and family.
So why would I choose to miss it this year you may ask? Well it has to do with one word. Single. The holidays are so hard when you're single. Yes, I am surrounded by family but you never get over the fact that I am turning 30 this year and am still alone in my life. I am so happy for my brothers and sisters who are married and have kids. I love my in-laws. I love my niece and nephew(s). But there is this hole in my heart that I feel ever so strongly this time of year.
When putting together my Christmas list of what I want for Christmas there are a superficial things on there like books, movies, clothes, etc. But my true Christmas wishlist has been for many years to has been to get married and start a family. Unfortunately, you can't find that in stores.
But it's not just that I am single that makes the holidays hard. Eight years ago I was in a relationship with the only boyfriend I have ever had. He came home with me for Christmas and took part in all the festivities. But there was something that was not right with the relationship and I broke it off a few days later. Now when I go home for Christmas and participate in the festivities it hurts more than ever because I also feel like I am personally celebrating my own failure in life. I am reminded every year since of what I don't have and haven't had the opportunity to have since. He was the one and only guy who has ever wanted to date me and that hurts. I have truly believed for many years now that I am a rejected Daughter of God. Yes, you read that right. I am learning to not feel this way and most days I can get over it. But not at Christmas time. This is the time of year when I can't get over the fact that I am still single and there is no one that wants to start a life with me. Eight years of feeling rejected, hurt, and alone.
But when you are with family for Christmas you are not alone you say. Well it's hard to get over the fact that you are still single when your family constantly reminds you of that fact this time of year. Last year it seemed like it was a daily basis when someone would make some comment about my marital status. Whenever we went out of the house my family would constantly be pointing out men they would see without a ring on. In the temple my mom practically tried to throw me in the direction of guy with no ring. At a hockey game my sister was looking up the stats of all the men on the team and would point out each and every one that was single and of eligible age. My dad kept trying to make arrangements to meet up with a single guy from their ward. While I know they don't mean anything harsh by their suggestions and I know they are just trying to help, it really just increases the feeling of rejection and loneliness.
So this year, as much as I would like to be with my family and I will miss out on being with them and all of the holiday traditions, I am going to run away. I'm catching a plane to Taiwan this year to explore foreign lands with other single friends. It is much harder to feel rejected and alone when you are with others who feel the same way. Call me selfish if you want. I am choosing to not spend Christmas Eve at midnight after everyone has gone to sleep crying my eyes out on the couch because all the married kids get the bedrooms. I am trying to make a happier memory for myself of a Christmas as a single person who is almost 30 where I don't feel alone during a time when I should feel surrounded by family.
So dear family, eat a piece of pumpkin roll for me and know that I love you very much.