The concept of “leave and cleave” sounds lovely when you stand at the altar with your husband-to-be beside you. But when it comes to the holidays, it isn’t so lovely. The question of where and how to spend Christmas can cause discord in the most harmonious of marriages.
My first Christmas as a Smith was dramatic. My husband’s job was as new as our marriage. He had to work on Christmas Eve, and we planned to head to my parents’ house once his shift ended. As I waited for him in our apartment, gifts wrapped and suitcases packed, I heard the tell-tale sound of sleet hitting the window. I turned on the TV in time to see the weatherman deliver the bad news: the roads would soon be impassable.
My husband made it home safely, but the road to my parents’ house closed because of the ice. We decided to stay in our tiny apartment with our Charlie Brown Christmas tree and try to travel in the morning when the roads cleared. I gave in to grief. I crawled under the table and began to cry. I thought I was missing Christmas.
My heart broke at the thought of my younger siblings opening gifts without me. My mouth watered as I imagined the Christmas dinner I would miss. I sat in a pool of tears and self-pity. I was a grown woman spending my first married Christmas hiding under a table.