written by
Sabrina Johnson

THE BATTLE BETWEEN HOLLY JOLLY & THE SCROOGE

Story 2 min read , December 15, 2021

Holidaze is the holiday version of saying my brain cannot handle the holly or jolly at the moment.

There are a few things I was not prepared for when becoming an adult,

1. Pop/Soda/ Whatever you call it, in a can is WAY more expensive than I ever imaged as a child

2. Having to THINK OUT, PREPARE, and MAKE DINNER every night is HORRIBLE

3. The holidays are full of stress, anxiety, and the most magical time of year is when the ball drops at midnight on NYE, and you know you've made it past the holiday season.

Before adulthood, the holidays were a blast.

As a young child, you enjoy the magic behind traditions, the stories, the time spent with cousins and family is both hectic and exciting.

In Highschool and college, the excitement of extra time with friends, sleeping in, and the joy of no real responsibilities all while being spoiled just like we were when we were young.

But then, you become an adult. You have children, your parents get sick, and suddenly, fear takes over the magic.

I have found myself in a weird predicament the last few years.

The battle between being a Mom and a Daughter can sometimes be challenging. As a mom, I want the holidays to be magical, memorable, and a glitterball of holly and jolly.

But, as a daughter, I struggle.

I struggle with the memories of Christmas before ALS.

I struggle with the memory of the Christmas right after diagnosis when Ton, the man who never showed emotion, bawled on the couch as he gave me an engraved necklace knowing this would be the last gift he picked out for his daughter.

I struggle with the memory of the Christmas before he passed away. Being eight months pregnant, fearing birth or death was coming first.

Every Christmas, my childhood house would be filled with forty or more family members, and while this year was not any different, we all knew this would be his last.

And then the struggle of holidays without him.

Without his cooking.

Without him and I going back and forth about adding more pepper to everything.

Without his belly laughs and kitchen whistles.

The battle between being a Mom and being a Daughter was growing stronger that first year as I wanted to curl up in a ball and blink past all the firsts.

We are now approaching our third holiday season without Ton, and I battle less and less each year between the struggles of being a Mom and being a Daughter and how I would like to react.

I am a mom because I was a daughter. I was a daughter because he was my dad.

The magic.

The stories.

The holly and the jolly are all a part of my memories because my parents ensured they were there. Therefore I want to be the parent my children deserve too.

Getting stuck in the negative of the “Holidaze” season is easy to do, but it is not the only option. Whether it be for your children, siblings, parents, or yourself, I hope you can find excitement this holiday season.

Make the holly and jolly, stories, the traditions, even if it is just for yourself because you too deserve the magic of a beautiful holiday season.

family holidays caregiving struggles