Christmas has always been a hard time for me. I’ve never felt the warmth of family coming together or the anticipation of opening gifts. I’ve never gone to midnight mass or experienced the thrill of sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him what I want. I’ve never helped my mother make ginger bread cookies or gone caroling.
But Christmas isn’t hard because my life has lacked those holiday essentials. No, instead it’s because of the memories that surround that annual celebration. The reminder of what I went through…of what I’ve seen.
I’m getting ahead of myself.
It happened when I was six. I was living with my mother. My father was out of the picture, just a hateful name on my mother’s tongue. I never met the guy. And to be honest, I never wanted to. Why would I want to develop a relationship with someone who abandoned my mother and I after I was born?
So it was just the two of us, two quiet souls just trying to make the most of our meager lives. We lived in a small house on the edge of town. My mother worked two jobs and couldn’t afford a sitter so I spent a lot of time alone in the house. She made me swear secrecy and not tell anyone at school because she was afraid social services would take me away. Looking back, they probably would have if they found out.