Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Ghost of Christmas Past

So, yeah, it's been awhile.

Normally, at this time of year, you could pretty much figure that the 'chick was hiding somewhere, desperately trying to avoid the holidays. This year, not so much. Mind you, there is no tree up at Casa de la Roadchick, but there are some gifts. Not wrapped. But at least purchased.

The depression and desperation that could be counted on as regularly as Salvation Army bellringers have not appeared. Thank God. There have been a few shaky moments, but they faded almost as quickly as they appeared.

The 'chick has real sympathy for the folks that have a hard time during the holidays, mainly because she was one of them for so many years.

The last truly magical, wonderful holiday season that the 'chick can remember was probably the first year that she was married to The-Now-Former-Mr.-Roadchick. That was the year that she found out that some people get really, really drunk on the holidays and then miss Christmas dinner with their families while expecting other people to tell their family that they've come down with a nasty stomach virus and can't come to dinner. And the magical part happened before Christmas Eve approached on the calendar. On Christmas Eve, the serious drinkin' commenced.

But until that time, the 'chick was all about the holidays. Especially in her own house. There was a tiny Charlie Brown Christmas tree from Walgreens that was on sale, and probably two stings of lights, and some cheap wooden ornaments that come about 100 to a box for $5.99 but it was hers damn it, and it was ok. And there was cookie baking. And young cousins-in-law were bribed to come over and wrap all the gifts (that were all purchased at one big spree at Walmart).

The 'chick was dirt poor and bone ignorant in those days.

But there was magic and there was hope.

The year that The-Now-Former-Mr.-Roadchick left to pursue "true love" was a bad Christmas. Not because he was gone. The fact that he was gone, taking his drinking and fighting ways with him was a relief. What was hard was knowing that there was no money for Christmas gifts for Rockboy and he was 11. He understood being dirt poor although his mama hid it from him as best she could. He never knew (and still doesn't) that there were times that milk was paid for with pennies and nickels and good luck finding any loose change in the car or the sofa cushions because it had already been gathered together for a loaf of bread.

That was the year that the 'chick learned to accept help when it was offered and if someone called it charity, then fine. As long as Rockboy got something to open at home. The local police department knew that Rockboy's daddy was gone (because he had been a city employee, although NOT a cop) and they got together and made sure that there were presents under the tree. And the place where Roadchick worked got together and bought a gift card from the mall and gave it to her, fortunately before the holidays so she could get Rockboy something too, as well as a little something for people in her family.

But, oddly enough, Roadchick's family never seemed to notice the life-or-death struggle going on at Chez Roadtrip. And sometimes, around this time of year, the 'chick looks back, says a little prayer of gratitude that things are better now, and asks to be able to forgive her family, just a little bit, for being so blind.

Now that Rockboy is older, he looks back, and he knows the truth. He knows that it wasn't a crazy experiment when his mama tried to pass off powdered milk for the real thing.

And he understands why, every year, the Roadie crew will choose at least one angel off an Angel Tree and help someone else out, in case otherwise there wouldn't be anything else under that tree.

If you find yourself with a little extra to spare, please donate here. It's a secure link.


heather said...

oh chick. ((hug))

i was there. my mom went through the same thing and the first years with j weren't much easier.

angel trees are a new holiday tradition for me.

and the one that means the most.

Tinker said...

I had a couple or three of those Christmas' myself.

Love angel trees, toys for tots and santa, inc., bless them all.

Glad this Christmas is starting out better - I hope it's much, much happier for you and Rockboy.

Susan said...

When I was with the ex every christmas was like that. December hasn't been the same since him in my life.