This holiday season is looking a lot different than in the past. For the first time ever, my kids will be at home under my roof–and my mother will be with us. I’ve made it no secret that over the years, my mom and I haven’t had the typical mother/daughter relationship. At times it was strained with virtually no contact. She even moved from St. Louis to Florida and didn’t tell the family until after she was settled in Florida. None of us knew.
I can’t quite pinpoint when my mother and I drifted apart, but it happened over time. There wasn’t one event or issue that took place. It was like we had a relationship one day and the next, we didn’t. There was no consistency.
That all changed two years ago during Covid. My mother reached out to me in May 2020 to see how I was doing, something she hadn’t done in over a year. One phone call turned into weekly check-ins, and we grew closer over time. It’s going on for three years now, and I can say that our relationship is stronger than ever. A lot of healing and forgiveness has taken place, and we’ve both done the work to get to this point.
I am very thankful for that because family estrangement during the holidays is not fun.
She’ll be in our midst on Christmas, something that is a first for us. My son, daughter, and I have never experienced waking up on Christmas morning with my mom with us. You can see, this is a big deal.
[Read: Six Self-Care Tips for Surviving the Holidays]
The holidays can be difficult for families that are dealing with estrangement, toxicity, stress, and drama. I know firsthand how hard the most wonderful time of the year can be when the very people who you are related to are the ones you’d rather not be with.
There are tons of blog posts and think-pieces on how to deal with familial discord during this time of year and I will leave that to the experts. I am sharing my story in hopes that if you are also experiencing family estrangement during the holidays, you won’t feel alone.
While this Christmas will be a good one for me and my family, I’ve had plenty of Christmases that were the exact opposite. Do you know what got me through?
I focused on who was there with me–who chose me–not those who did not.
Keeping your mind on the haves and not the have-nots can help you enjoy your holiday. There are people who love YOU and who want to spend time with YOU. Those who don’t get it, well, that’s their loss.
You are blessed. With friends, loved ones, and family (whether they are related to you or not). You have so much to be thankful for and grateful for.
Don’t let family estrangement during the holidays stop you from enjoying a day that should be celebrated if you choose to celebrate.
And while it will be hard and probably difficult, you will persevere. You will thrive. You will get through it.
My heart goes out to anyone who is dealing with family estrangement during the holidays. I’ve been there, and I know that it sucks. It’s painful. But you deserve to be happy mentally, physically, and emotionally. Anyone standing in the way of that, blood or not, doesn’t deserve your presence. Don’t feel guilty about that.
I hope and pray that no matter your family issues or drama, you are able to enjoy your Christmas.
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