Guest contribution - originally posted at anyworkingmom.com
“I’m simply happy when it’s January,” said a friend to me a few days ago.
“The horror of Advent calendars?,” I guessed. “The stress of presents? “Christmas tantrums?”
She shook her head. That was all just about bearable, she reckoned. As a non-separated mother, I probably had no idea where the festive monster was really lurking.
“For patchwork families, the second half of December is the worst time of the year.”
I poured us a tea and listened to her.
“Are you familiar with the 2 Christmases operation? With us, it’s at least six Christmases.”
She rolled her eyes. It started in fact when her parents separated. Both of them had refused to sit under the Christmas tree in the same living room since 1993. So she and her sister always celebrated twice, once at Mum’s on 24 December and at Dad’s a day later.
Uninvited by the ex
After studying she met her husband-to-be working in an office. Marriage, child. They continued spending Christmas at her Mum’s, at her Dad’s and also at her divorced parents-in-law’s. When the child was three years old, they separated. And December came around.
“The mother-in-law actually called me on the phone and invited me to celebrate Christmas with them!”
My friend lifted up her cup and placed it back down on the table.
“But my ex-husband then uninvited me again. Because otherwise his new partner would not go with him.”
So she celebrated with her sister and her family, while her son and ex-husband ate Pork Wellington at her ex-mother-in-law’s. My friend told me this and swallowed, even though she hadn’t drunk any tea.
“That’s patchwork Christmases,” she said. “A patchwork of different people and wishes that often don’t go together very well.”
We’re all patchwork!
I nodded and gave it some thought.
“But,” I said, “all families are in fact patchwork, somehow thrown together. All the parent couples weren’t always there but have got to know each other and got together to create something new together. And it’s not just blood relatives who are family. Friends are also part of the family! Uncle Urs who emigrated to Australia! Perhaps your single neighbour. And grandma in the care home who always forgets which presents she’s wrapped.”
“Christmas,” I explained, “could actually be celebrated with everyone you share a story with. A story with lots of wonderful and perhaps a few less great memories too.”
My friend pushed her cup aside and laughed.
“Beautifully said. But it’s quite obvious that you have no idea about patchwork families.”
“Probably true,” I said, “but I do about Christmas!”
I wanted to pour another tea but she declined:
“Just a mulled one for me please!”
This entry was written by Nadia Meier and can also be found on anyworkingmom.com.
The article "Patchwork-Christmas" was kindly provided to ifolor inspire. Because in the spirit of #spreadmorelove he shows: When love goes around the world, the craziest, most exciting and beautiful things can happen.