Let me start off first by saying that my oldest has done very well his first semester in college - receiving all As and Bs, which for him, as an average student in high school, is a great achievement. He needs a ride home for winter break and I arranged to take a day off from work to get him. This is because if I worked I wouldn't be able to leave to start the 4-hour drive there until about 3:30. It gets dark now around 4 p.m. and the prospect of so many hours on the road by myself in the dark among cornfields wasn't cutting it. Here is one of those times I wish my husband was around as my helpmate as he loved long-distance driving. And we'd probably make the trip together which would help with the tedium.
This trip we will also be driving home one of the guys on my son's dorm floor because both of his parents work and the kids have to be checked out by 6 p.m. Here is where my Scrooge-like feelings start coming out. I, the widowed, "poor" mom is taking work off and will be driving home a kid from a two-parent home, both with jobs. Why is this family not making arrangements to pick the kid up on Saturday morning or leaving after work, like I've done a number of times, and driving in the dark, like I did?
My son's roommate, who lives 30-minutes away had gotten rides home all semester. He has two parents at home. I would like my son to be the recipient of the generosity of another family for a change.
Then there is a woman I know who for the past 7 years has attended Christmas with my girlfriend and I. She is friends with my girlfriend and I have to sit through a huge ceremony of them opening up their gifts to each other. This woman is older and retired - she is extremely generous to my girlfriend giving her items that total a couple hundred dollars. All these years, I have given this woman a little token gift - homemade breads, goodies and knitted items. She always takes these items eagerly, especially the food. But last year, she re-gifted one of my knitted items back to my girlfriend! My girlfriend and I got a huge laugh about it over wine when we were on our own, but I have to admit that my feelings were slightly hurt. I am feeling so Scrooge-like this year that I don't want to give any cookies or goodies to this woman.
Now, if it were me as this older lady, I would be a little more kind and considerate. After 7 years of get-togethers, I would anticipate her being there and bring a little token gift. This year, I am going to excuse myself from the grand gift exchange between my friend and this lady. I really am not up to oohing and aahing. I've been a good sport about it for years so I'll join the kids in another room and spare myself more feelings of resentment or bitterness.
I'm tired of giving and giving and not getting anything back. They say it is better to give than to receive but like all the other platitudes I've heard in the past years, I find this is not entirely true. Sure, it is wonderful to give, but it is also fun to receive. And it sure isn't fun when you're not receiving anything.
I think I've hit my own personal wall in regard to widowhood. I, personally, cannot take it anymore. I need/want to be part of a team again sharing the driving and exchanging gifts rather than only giving them out. Eight years of this and I am tapped out.
"They" are also fond of saying that only we ourselves control our destiny and our happiness. Yes, there is truth to that. But there is also truth that in marriage both members of the couple do focus on their partner at times. I know when I was married that I made efforts to please my husband and to bring him pleasure. He did the same for me and it was lovely to experience the give and take a relationship brings. There isn't too much give or take in my life as a widow and I'm sick of it. I'm through with widowhood and ready to hang this life up. That is my focus for next year - to leave this widowhood life behind - to start sharing it with a partner and leave this lifestyle in the dust, where it can join Scrooge.