The holidays come with a lot of stories each year.
No, not Santa stories. Not Hanukkah stories. Not even family blooper stories, although all of those do get shared as well.
Instead, it’s the stories I tell myself — I’m not giving my kids enough. I’m giving the kids too much. I don’t give the kids enough consequences. I give them too many consequences. If my kids love their stepmother, it means they love me less, and that I am insufficient and inadequate. If they miss their dad, it means I’m not doing my job well enough. I can’t fully forgive him for the hurt he caused me because he doesn’t forgive me either. He doesn’t deserve to be happy, but I do.
I’m not doing enough, there is more for me to do here, and there, and there, and also there. I am only of value if I am doing something. Nothing I do is ever enough to be excellent.
I’m too different for the rest of my family to like me. They just don’t get me, and they don’t want to. I’ll never be the kind of normal required to be loved fully by my parents.