This is my 5th Christmas season in Houston. All of them have been different and speckled with different types of season’s greetings. My first was as a foster parent, which continually feels like a distant memory. I looked at pictures a couple days ago, to remind me it happened. I was expectant and excited. Celebrating Christmas as a parent is something special, even if the kids are not yours. My family on that day was four little ones and four co-parents. I was still figuring out myself in Houston. I miss this Christmas. I miss parenting. I miss their joy and something to wake up to. It was weird, but this was my family.
The following Christmas was thinly veiled with grief. Claire and I had loved a set of 3 siblings for six months. My family had changed a lot over the course of that year. I moved houses twice. I gained new co-parents and lost old ones. However, this newest family with two parents and 4 kids was fun. Claire and I had the best kids for the both of us. They were loud and rude and aggressive and silly. We poured ourselves into them. Then on Christmas Eve Eve, they went home with their biological parents. Three hours later, we had a new set of 3 siblings, but I just was not in a space to love them. We rushed and bought them gifts and put on our best faces and celebrated Christmas. Not my favorite Christmas in Houston, but it was not the worst.
The following year, after 9 months of transient living, I went to Atlanta for Christmas. I honestly don’t remember it. I was with my biological family, but by that year my idea of family had been deeply ambiguated. This has had lasting affects. I don’t love the holidays, mostly because there is this emphasis on family and sometimes, I just don’t know what that is. It was the last time, Christmas was celebrated with the five of us. I remember my dad being there, but I remember looking at him with constant eye-rolls and hypocrisy, ready to come back home to Houston. Where, the family I had accumulated over the past nine months was. My family was my friends. I think, I was only home for four days. I arrived a day or two before New Years Eve and settled into my new home.