Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas and family estrangement

Christmas is a hard time to be estranged from one's family. I was feeding Littlest lunch when the postman came this morning. In today's post was (happily!) a Christmas card from an old friend.

Oldest pipes in with: 'What does it say, Mommy? What does it say?'
Me: It says 'Happy Christmas'
Oldest (giggling): Happy Christmas! Happy Christmas Mommy!
Me: Happy Christmas Oldest.
Oldest: Say 'Happy Christmas' to Littlest Mommy!
Me: Happy Christmas, Littlest.
Oldest: Now, say 'Happy Christmas' to Daddy!
Me: Happy Christmas Daddy.
Oldest: Now say 'Happy Christmas' to Nana!
Me: Happy Christmas Nana.
Oldest: Mommy! Mommy! Say 'Happy Christmas' to Nora!
Me: Nora? Why would you say that? Why Nora?
Oldest: (looks confused)
Me: Oldest, why did want me to say Happy Christmas to Nora?
Oldest: Nora is in Timothy Goes to School, Mommy.

Yes. A perfectly reasonable explanation, Timothy Goes to School being one of Oldest's favourite television programmes, albeit one he hasn't watched anytime recently. And yes, Nora is a character.

But it's also the name of my mother. And I haven't spoken to my mother since before Joshua was born 9 months ago. Before that, I hadn't spoken to her in almost 2 years and then only briefly. I no longer have her phone number or address. It was such a shock to hear her name like that. I'm still a bit shaken more than 5 hours later. Was she already on my mind before Oldest mentioned her name? I can't really remember. But I'm thinking about her now.

Now really is the time when people reach out to their loved ones and say 'Happy Christmas' and I won't be able to do that with my mother this year. We've had our rough times over the years and we will never have a great relationship considering what we've both been through, but I'd have liked to be able to send her one of Oldest's homemade Christmas cards. I'd like her to be able to hear Oldest's sweet little voice shouting 'Happy Christmas' down the phone. Maybe next year.


  1. I understand.

    And sometimes I feel that having children and knowing the intense feeling of love that I have for them, well it makes that longing/loss even stronger.

    Hold your boys close to you. x

  2. Over the years you have mentioned your mother a few times. Each time you say you have never really had a realationship, and just hearing your stories, growing up was rough...After all that, you have never said anything bad or wrong about your mother and THAT, makes you a great person.

    Happy Christmas to you and your family.

  3. Hi Michelle, Thanks for stopping by my blog. I relate to your post here, though in a different way, my mother died 15 years ago and all my family lives in different (far away) parts of the country or in other countries. So even though we do speak to each other Christmas is hard with just the 3 of us.

    This is my first visit to your blog so I have no idea what the issues with your mother are but I ask WHY NOT just send her one of Elliot's Christmas cards? You probably can find her address if you try. It will make both you and Elliot feel good about yourselves and you need not expect her to respond in anyway but you never know. Someone always has to make the first move, or no one ever will.

    I sent Christmas cards out this year to relatives and friends I haven't heard from or seen in DECADES and I've been happily receiving some back from some of them.

    Merry Christmas to you all!

  4. Caroline - I will do. And I think you're right about the feelings and loss being stronger, it feels stronger.

    Tasha - Happy Christmas to you and your family as well :) I hope it was great. And thank you for your kind words.

    Nicola - It might be easier if I lived in America to phone someone up and try and track her down. I know she lives in Alaska, but don't know what name she goes by since splitting up with her last husband or what city she lives in. I know the address of one of her sisters, but it's about 10 years old and the number is no longer in service. If you know of a way that I don't, I'd love to hear it. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your Christmas situation, I'm also far away from a lot of my family members so I can relate to that as well :)


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