Ahhh, Christmas Eve. It's supposed to be a magical time. Visions of sugar plums and all that. Yet on the night before Christmas 2013 the only thing magic is how I've made it through the past 12 months.
Estranged from my son who I love more than anything in the entire world yet haven't seen in 17 months or talked to in 5. Estranged from my father who I haven't talked to in the same amount of time. Missing my mother who's been gone nearly 10 years almost as much as I miss my son.
Christmas has never been the same since Mom died. The idea of going "home for the holidays" is completely foreign to me now. God bless 'em, my aunts and my Dad have tried to make things as familiar as possible, but the truth is nowhere has felt like "home" in almost a decade.
This year Christmas is nothing more than a day I'll (hopefully) get to sleep late. That's it. No good tidings or feelings of family happiness. The way 2013 has played out though, spending it sad and alone seems rather appropriate.
For the first 30 some odd years of my life I viewed my independence as a blessing. While most of the people I grew up with got married and had kids I loved being a loner. Unfortunately being a loner at 25 has turned into just simply being alone at 38. A place I'm afraid I may be forever.
The cliche holiday experience of loading the wife and children into the car and going to the Grandparents' house while decked out in tacky sweaters with a load of presents and family themed Christmas cards was a notion I scoffed at for my entire life. Now I regret my life never turned out that way, and I'm too old and bitter now to do anything about it.
I'd love to turn this post into something uplifting and make a promise that next year will be different, but I already made that promise last year. And the year before. And the year before that. In the recent past I'd at least had reasons to think things were turning around. This year there's more stress, less money, more loneliness and less hope than ever before. I don't look forward to 2014 as new beginning, just 365 more days of the same.
This isn't meant to serve as some sort of plea for sympathy. It's just a little insight into maybe why I haven't joked as much, laughed as loud or smiled as often as I usually do. I'm tired of playing the "Nick" character people have come to expect. I'm tired of faking it.