My sons saved their pocket money for 6 weeks so they could buy Christmas presents, aside from those I gave out from us as a family. They lovingly chose a warm fleecy jacket for my Mother and a cosy work outdoor jacket for my Dad. I spent 40 euro on a nostalgic carol singing red velvet Christmas thingy for them, and invited them for lunch despite their many ‘unforgivable’ transgressions over the previous year, including supporting a paedophile who molested their first born grand daughter in a court case, and including CUTTING THAT GRAND DAUGHTER AND HER MOTHER, THEIR FIRST BORN, FROM THE WILL as a means of punishing them.
MY Mother gave my sons, 12 and 15, 7 pounds sterling each for Christmas, and 10 to me. She came to Christmas dinner with my Father, they provided the turkey and ham and sherry trifle, I provided all the trimmings and drink, worked out about even or more from my side but who’s counting ha ha???
I am one of five daughters, well-educated and good looking by any standards. Every one of us has either failed marriages or a marriage where we compromised big time and married, as they say, ‘beneath our station’. It is no wonder to me, this Christmas crystallises for me why we value ourselves so little, because we were taught since we were knee high to a grasshopper, that we were of little value, as demonstrated by the 7 pound Christmas gifts…..
My Mother and Father recently attended a wedding of a 3rd or 4th cousin of my Father’s. My Mother went to great lengths to purchase a collecter’s bottle of whisky commemorating MICHAEL COLLINS an Irish hero for their wedding present as they have the family name Collins and are staunch republicans….she topped this with a gift of champagne glasses and travelled the breadth of Ireland with Dad to attend their wedding. She also walked the length of Grafton Street to spend 30 euro or was it 60 on cakes for the nurses at the hospital where she gets treated for leukamia, great effort greatly appreciated at the hospital of strangers….she has always been a street angel and a house devil….strangers think she is due nomination for sainthood and meanwhile her children and offspring wonder why they do not merit the same love and effort and attention and sadly conclude they must have been weighed in the scales and found wanting……….MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN.
When we were 5 little girls and Dad was in the Air Force and paying his childrens private school fees and supporting his wife to stay home and raise us, they would love to entertain lavishly and invite officers and titled people to dinner, serving pheasant and wines and hostessing definitely with the mostessing….what the guests possibly didn’t realise was that us children had eaten bread and butter for tea for at least a week previous to free up enough money for the fancy dinner parties, and we would rush downstairs eagerly the following morning to see if there were any leftovers from the grand meal that had taunted us as we lay in bed obediently quiet as the tantalising smells wafted upwards….
At that time in Gibraltar my Father was earning inordinate amounts of money buying and selling luxury cars which he successfully smuggled across the border of Gibraltar to Southern Spain the Costa of wealthy ex pats….running a pedalo and caravan business in Gibraltar for the many tourists….working his day job as a chef in the Air Force…gardening for the nuns…and whatever else he turned his hand to. He was making so much money he bought my Mother everything he could possibly imagine she might want, as well as paying for a maid to clean the house. Yet that same time was one of my first major disappointing Christmases, possilby setting a pattern for years to follow….I was doing Spanish flamenco dancing at school and LOVED it…I longed more than anything in the whole wide world, as one does at the innocent age of 7, for a Spanish dancing dress, a flamenco dress, with frills and flounces and dreams encapsulated of being finally a princess. I wrote it on my letter to Santa. I was told to put a plan b request on the same letter …so reluctantly I pur a TRESSY doll, not really wanting one at all.
Christmas morning brought anticipation and excitement like COULD it really be possible that dreams come true. Apparently no they do not. A Tressy doll was duly dispatched and I was told to be grateful and made to feel ashamed for feelings of DISAPPOINTMENT. Oh how the years repeat themselves!
The Tressy doll had a button you could push in her tummy and if at the same time you pulled her pony tail of hair it would magically elongate. I pulled the hair so hard it came clean away, and then I threw the doll away down the rubbish shute from our top floor apartment to disappear forever into the belly of the complex waste skip. I said I lost her. That was my first conscious rebellion at feeling undervalued.
It is not and never has been about the CONTENT….of presents, inheritances or anything else. It has always been about the VALUE they represent. There is a scripture that says WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE ALSO IS YOUR HEART. My parents, especially my Mother, has always had her heart firmly fixed on outsiders who better show their APPRECIATION of her and her gifts. She would give 1,000 to the priest for a new marble altar in the Church and tell her children at the same time not to be greedy and to be thankful for what they got and to think of poor children who have nothing. SHAME AND GUILT were greatly induced as means of mass control.
I am tempted to go back to my parents house, GIVE BACK the 7 pounds each they gave to my sons, and the 10 to me…give back the remains of the turkey and ham (the ham was dangerously undercooked by the way by my Mother who turned up to dinner so drunk that she mumbled to herself all the way through and had not even had dessert when she started hinting to go home so she could pass out comfortably in her own bed….) REMIND my Mother that she spends about 60 euro a day DRINKING….her double brandy and lemonade costs a third more than she gave her grandsons for Christmas….tell her WHAT A MEAN SELFISH ALCOHOLIC TWISTED BITTER AND CRUEL OLD LADY SHE IS………..and flounce off, knowing that I am worth infinitely more than the value placed on me and my sons by my parents
I probably won’t………….writing this will probably afford ample relief from the rage that rarely dissipates around a Mother such as mine
A cyber friend of mine held her Mother in her arms Christmas morning and they both fell asleep…her Mother was dying of cancer…when she woke at 3 am her Mother’s body was cold and she had passed. That same Mother had denied the fact all her life until a week ago that her brother had raped her daughter from the age of 11 ro 15, making the daughter pregnant, and then the parents had given the child away for adoption, telling the confused daughter it was because the child was a BASTARD and forgetting to mention that it might be because it was born of rape and incest. That Mother a week ago finally apologised to her daughter and acknowledged the truth of what had really happened. That daughter of course FORGAVE as we all long to…we all long for the normal things like love and validation from our parents even when we are in our 50’s or more. That daughter cared for her dying Mother and gave her what comfort she could and held her Mother in her arms as her Mother passed from this world to the next, forgiven, at least by her damaged and devastated daughter, still acting out the low self worth branded on her by her parents since childhood. I do not know if her Mother had made peace with her Creator, nor where she will spend eternity.
That friend e mailed me yesterday, knowing that my Mother is alcoholic and cruel. Knowing of her many betrayals of her children on the subject of abuse and denial and neglect and cruelty….
That friend said to me, ‘Angie, do me a favour….give your Mum a hug and tell her that you love her’
SO I DID.
Happy Christmas to one and all. Do not feel ashamed or guilty or ungrateful for emotions of disappointment where you feel somehow you have been under valued. Just know that your emotions are given to you to indicate to you when you ARE being under valued…know that there is a God in Heaven who valued you so much He gave His Son to die for You so you could be with Him in eternity…and know that WHOSOEVER SHALL GIVE UP FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND FIELDS, SONS AND DAUGHTERS, FATHERS AND MOTHERS…FOR MY NAME’S SAKE…SHALL RECEIVE A HUNDREDFOLD IN THIS LIFETIME (with persecutions) AND THE BONUS OF ETERNAL LIFE
Next Christmas I will spend it with people who appreciate me, even if they are homeless or destitute but RICH IN LOVE. There is a proverb that says IT IS BETTER TO HAVE A CRUST OF BREAD WITH LOVE THAN A FEAST WITH BAD VIBES……….that is a modern MESSAGE translation….how true.
2010 can be the year where children of dysfunction draw a line in the sand and say ENOUGH…NO MORE!! WE CAN LOVE OUR FAMILIES FROM A DISTANCE AND CREATE A NEW FUTURE FOR OURSELVES THAT MIRRORS THE FACT THAT WE ARE CHILDREN OF THE LIVING GOD WHO ADORES US BEYOND COMPARE….we can finally be princesses in our Spanish flamenco dresses that never came!