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Thinking about childhood Christmas & feeling a bit sad that my parents are not here

(14 Posts)
workatemylife Wed 19-Nov-14 09:59:13

Sorry. Not the most cheery start to the day, but I wanted to offload some sad feelings and set up a group hug for anyone who feels the same way.

My parents were the most wonderful people I've ever met. Sadly, both have passed away, not recently, which makes the way I'm feeling today all the more odd. I think maybe it is the result of being a parent now myself - I look at my DCs and it makes me think of what it was like being their age. I can't remember a lot, and that annoys me because I was clearly sleepwalking my way through my childhood without any sense that it wasn't forever. I'd love to go back now and do it all again, and pay attention!

We were talking about our plans for December last night and putting key dates on the calendar. But once I went to bed I started thinking about my childhood Christmasses and all the happy times we had. And I want them back! [I know there was a thread here a while ago in which people talked about their less than happy experiences - I think I was one of the luckiest children alive sometimes].

I can still feel the anticipation, and that spinetingling sensation of waking up on Christmas morning. I can smell the Christmas trees, and recall that moment where the lights were switched on and didn't work, then worked, then didn't work. I can picture an advent calendar propped up on the shelf - no chocolates, but still a marvellous thing. I can rememember the year that it snowed on Christmas Eve night and we had to cancel plans to visit family the next day which seemed like the worst thing ever but how it turned into a lovely family pyjama clad Christmas. We didn't have central heating, and I remember the feel of rubber hot water bottles leaving warm patches in the bed and being able to tell that morning had come when the bottle felt cold. I can now appreciate their willingness to have glittery decorations that I had made all over the house, to listen to me murdering Christmas carols on the violin as if it was an orchestra playing, and to stay up for hours on Christmas Eve putting together a dolls house, so that it would be there when I woke up. I remember bouncing into their bed with my filled stocking, and the year that I opened my bedroom door to see a mini tinsel tree, with lights and baubles, left by Santa. I still put it up in my own house when I was in my 20s!

I want to hug my parents and say thank you for all the wonderful times. I feel sad about the way that 'life goes on' - here I am, doing all these things, and not able to share them. I haven't had the sense of there being empty seats at the dinner table for a long time, but something has got inside my head this week, and it makes me want to be 7 again. Actually, it also makes me want to give my DCs the same happy memories. Most of what I remember is not glitzy presents and extravagant gifts. I remember excitement, anticipation, the smell of Christmas backing, falling asleep at midnight mass... I wonder if my parents worked hard to create Christmas magic and traditions, or if the good stuff somehow just 'happened'.

Hug, anyone?

HolgerDanske Wed 19-Nov-14 10:05:16

Oh bless you.

Hugs and a big brew of Christmas cheer.

It's magic, isn't it. But very sad when memories of loved ones make it a difficult time as well.

I would probably think something up that you can do every year to include your parents in the festive period. Of course you will think about them anyway and that will mean they're a part of things always. But I mean something tangible and a little tradition that will encapsulate your happiest memories every year. Maybe a new little tinsel tree?

HolgerDanske Wed 19-Nov-14 10:10:59

I had wonderfully happy Christmases when I was a child, too. Going to visit my grandparents was just the most lovely time. I miss them both very much this time of year.

strawberryshoes Wed 19-Nov-14 10:14:14

I feel exactly the same.

Memories of making egg box decorations with glitter and paper chains with mum, the baking mince pies and sausage rolls. Of the advent calendar, the lights and tree going up (the smell!) Of loving finding blown bulbs and replacing them. A warm glow seemed to be around everything. I miss them both so much this year (gone 5 years and 15 years so not exactly recent) I hope more than anything my 2 have similar happy memories.

schmeegle Wed 19-Nov-14 10:16:42

Oh goodness they are such lovely memories, so full of love. They would be very happy to know that all their effort and thought and care had the desired effect and left you with such an amazing feeling when you think of your childhood Christmases. Because that's pretty much why we're all here, posting frantically about toys, traditions recipes etc.

I can't think of anything say that might make you feel better but I just wanted ti say thanks for sharing this morning.

5446 Wed 19-Nov-14 13:29:34

This was truly lovely to read and have no doubt that you are a lovely, caring daughter and fantastic mother.

I am acutely aware of the hole left by grandparents at this time of year, so can't imagine what it must be like for my parents.

Thank you OP, for making me remember what it really is all about. I am determined to thank my DParents for years of wonderful memories, as it just too easy to assume that they know what I am thinking.

NCIS Wed 19-Nov-14 13:36:17

My parents died some years ago too and they also gave me the most fabulous Christmases on very little money. Like you I wish I'd told them just how happy they made me as a child but I think their enduring legacy is that their parenting enabled me to be the best parent I could to my children.

When my grown-up DC's talk about memories of childhood Christmas traditions it is largely thanks to my wonderful parents that I was able to help them make similar memories to mine, so flowers to my wonderful, never forgotten Mum and Dad.

Sootgremlin Wed 19-Nov-14 14:33:12

Lovely post, workatemylife.

My children are tiny and I'm just starting with it all, it has made me realise that the effort I put it may be meaningful to them someday, and is important. Families don't have much time throughout the year to really be together, and it doesn't take much to make the time memorable, the main thing is to be thoughtful and try.

My own parents are still with me, and I feel happy for my children that they will be a part of whatever we do over the period, though much of what we will be doing is new.

gemdrop84 Thu 20-Nov-14 16:44:10

A big hug to you, mum died in April, Christmas was her favourite time of year, Dh and I were talking about our past Christmases. My most memorable, when I was 6 and my sister was 4, our alcoholic father left on the 23rd December, took all of mum's wages with him, she was due to go present shopping at her work that day. We had no gas and no electricity. Thankfully my grandparents only lived around the corner so we were bundled up and went round there for Christmas. I remember my uncle, (who still lived with my grandparents, me, mum and my sister slept in his room) and his girlfriend plus her best mate going out late that day. I got up in the night on Christmas eve and saw them all with lots of shopping bags, he put me back to bed. We woke up in the morning and we had a sack of presents each. I got my first Barbie doll and two outfits, my sister got a baby doll. We all had a lovely Christmas dinner and a wonderful day together. That's what Christmas is about, not the stuff, but the people around you.

candykane25 Thu 20-Nov-14 18:25:40

It sounds like your parents gave you two wonderful gifts. How to do christmas and how to be a good parent, by setting you such a wonderful example.
There is no time limit on grief.
Sending you a hug. I lost my dad two months ago and he too adored christmas and provided a lot of christmas Magic to our lives.
There is a thread in the bereavement topic for people who have lost parents, it's been helping me a lot.

liftthatup Thu 20-Nov-14 18:44:08

You have described some very special memories which are full of warmth and love. My dad died in August and I am very aware that we'll have a very noticeable empty seat at Christmas. Dd and ds are still v young- 7 and 4, and are full of excitement which will be a good distraction but I am finding it so hard to accept that last Christmas was dad's final one.

QuickQuickSloe Thu 20-Nov-14 18:53:02

Hugs OP, missing my mum terribly. Last Christmas was the first without her and so painful, we all went through the motions for DS.

This year, I am putting my mums decorations up in my house and doing all the lovely things she did for me for my DS.

I was so lucky to have her, I even feel grateful that the rage at her loss is subsiding enough for me to be able to even think about opening her decorations box.

MissLurkalot Thu 20-Nov-14 19:27:33

Ah, bless you. What lovely memories you have and thank you for sharing.
My mother died when I was 6 yrs old and then my father when I was 12 yrs old.
My memories are mostly Christmas memories.

Homemade pomanders of oranges studded with cloves and pinned with tartan and velvet ribbon.

[ I went to a wonderful church evening for women 2 years ago where they provided all the bits to make your own Christmas decorations. I came across a table where you make your own pomanders... The smell transported me back and I remembered for the first time since childhood Mummy making pomanders... Lots of tears flowed but I was in good company ;-) ]

The King Singers music playing
Omi (granny) sitting in the yellow armchair
Mummy wearing her apron and laughing
Sindy doll
Tiny Tears
Wooden Easel
Wrapping paper
The rustle and the heavy weight of the full blue hessian stocking with dark green velvet border on my bed

workatemylife Fri 21-Nov-14 16:15:24

thank you - for the memories and the shared hugs! lots of lovely ideas here, and it really helps to know that other folk feel happy and sad at the same time.
I might be about to buy dd a tinsel tree. smile

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