I guess eight years is enough time to put a face on why I started hating Christmas. I could at least try to think about it in concrete terms for once. Especially since this year I've decided to stop hating it - today couldn't be a better day to say why I started.
First, in December of 2000 I moved to California. I had really stepped outside the church by this time - not just in little actions here & there, but in real thought and belief. Even after my affair, divorce, 2nd marriage & Dante's birth I still went to church pretty regularly I know, why the fuck would I bother at that point?. Maybe I was amazed & grateful that I hadn't been excommunicated after my affair with Michael. Maybe I felt some obligation to show that gratitude with further attendance. And for a long time I wasn't consciously aware yet how far off my beliefs were growing. When I went to California it was a severing. I didn't leave a forwarding address, I didn't contact my new ward, attend meetings, I was fully into my new job at that point and in CA the money was very different than in Seattle so I didn't need financial assistance from the church, even without Michael working - at all. So I very clearly walked away from the god of my girlhood days at that point. I've never taken to hypocrisy so it wouldn't be long before I started questioning the Christmas celebration & my place in it anyway.
And now the subconscious correlation of a seemingly unrelated event: Scotty, my step-dad, died eight years ago today. Which is probably the second reason I don't like Christmas much. To add to it, he loved Christmas like no one I know. He was the only parent I knew who was awake before his kids on Christmas morning & wanting to get us to the presents ASAP.
In the late 90s my family (Mom, Scotty, Jesse & I) lived in Seattle, but eventually everyone moved away: Mom was in Indiana. Jesse was in Missouri. Dad, Ramona & Kristiina were still here in Utah where I was NOT returning. Then Scotty went to California to help his sister with Betty-Grandma in 98 and I was the last one left in WA for two years. Michael, Dante & I moved to Ventura, CA on December 12, 2000 where his parents lived - 100 miles from where Scotty had moved to Westminster - just 17 days before he died.
It was unreal. I dropped the phone and walked away after my mom told me he was dead and locked myself in the bathroom. I didn't even hang up the call. I think I didn't want to acknowledge the call had even happened. It still doesn't seem real sometimes. Even a little over two years ago when I found out I was pregnant with Noah - there was a moment where my impulse was - call Scotty. He'll be so excited. It's happened a lot over the years. You get the impulse to call. Then - a couple seconds delay - then Oh yes, he's dead. And it hurts all over again. And no amount of better-place or see-him-again or he's-with-us-in-spirit or remember-the-good-times bullshit can make the pain of loss of a parent feel any better. Even eight years later. So maybe that's part of why I don't get super-excited at Christmas time.
But I'm done hating Christmas, and I'll celebrate along with everyone else. It may not be on December 25th, since Dante is always with his dad that day, but at least I promise not to try to kill Santa anymore. Maybe now that I know why I hate it so much , I'll be able to separate that event from the holiday that falls so close.
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