I know I am not the only person in the world who becomes nostalgic during the holidays. Holidays are milestone markers. I know that I can remember all of my children’s first Christmases. I can remember my first christmas married, each time, which with Daddy-O also happened to be JoDee’s first christmas. This time of year reminds me of christmas time when I was a kid. My grandparents would have these giant piles of presents for my sister and me, that we would rip apart fast anxious to see what the next gift was going to be. Recently we found videos’ of christmas past and JCB and I looked like Tasmanian devils unwrapping presents at lightening speed barely acknowledging the actual gift. Ah.. those were the days.
Christmas as a parent is so different from christmas as a kid. I think the transition from being parented to being a parent was so fast for me, I missed the orientation. Over the years we have developed our own traditions but one of our traditions is not really being traditional. For example, we have never put a star on the top of our tree. Or an angel or anything remotely elegant, religious or even able to lite up. For as along as I can remember we have put a skanky looking, stained and ratty Santa hat. The dog has chewed it. The bulb on the end is nasty and possibly carrying some undefined disease. Potentially the infection that will cause zombie-ness.
Usually it’s a hectic time trying to make sure that both Daddy-O and I get enough time with the kids, and our families. The last five years it has been crazy, not just hectic. The first Christmas AD (after addiction) JoDee had just come back from Arizona. She was recently detoxed so somewhat clean. Clearly we know her story involves relapses. A lot of relapses and shortly after Christmas of that year she relapses. The following year she was clean again, but that wouldn’t last either. The last two Christmas’ have been the worst, I think. Two years ago JoDee left my house with the intention of getting high. I knew it. She knew it and I tried to change her mind. There was no talking to her. There was no telling her to think about her life. There was only the look in her eye, the dismissive attitude on her way out and the ominous look of her tail lights as she pulled away from the house. The next few weeks were a blur of running from me, going to detox, running from detox, yadda,yadda, yadda. By the beginning of January we had her sectioned for the very first time. A terribly overwhelming experience.
That led to the longest amount of clean time she ever had. It also led her to be introduced to a whole new way to use and scam. What looked like a bright future turned into a freaking nightmare in a just a few weeks time. JoDee ran and was better at hiding since she had a new group to provide for her. And not in a good way. She had lowlife willing to hide her away, provide her with drugs. When I would finally get her to come home or see her she would look like she had been fighting a war. Thin, frail, exhausted. Eventually she would decide to go to treatment, and part of that treatment was further treatment in Florida. I remember saying I didn’t want her to go. I had a bad feeling about it. But she claimed she wanted to go. Everyone I spoke to said that the program she was going to was excellent. 5 days. She lasted 5 days before she ran away. On AC birthday last year (which was a year ago this week) we got the call that Miss Thing was on the run.
She eventually came home, after I bought her a plane ticket. Her feet weren’t off the plane for a minute before she was sectioned again. She spent Christmas at WATC. It was a difficult Christmas for everyone. SC was at Children’s Hospital so two of our five kids were not home. AC and I had a hard time working up the holiday spirit enough to put up the tree, but we did. That was a rough beginning to that year. That year being this year. This year being now as in 2016. To say that I am glad this year is over is the understatement of understatement.
This Christmas is going to be rough, too. But a good rough. A rough we can handle. Between the move and work and kids and school we have a lot going on but it’s nothing we can’t handle. Not anywhere near the hell we have gone through that last few Christmas’. I hope anyway. The truth is no matter what happens, we can handle it. We might not want to but we can. We might not like it but we can. If the last few christmas’ have taught us anything it’s that we can anticipate nothing and prepare for anything. Christmas isn’t here yet so I don’t want to jinx anything. I am fully aware that anything that can change at any moment.