This was such an emotional project for me. I’m sure I’ve shared this tradition with you before. It is something that was started by my grandmother when I was young.
Every Thanksgiving, she would hang up a santa curtain that she’d painted. We kids were always excited to see it go up because it meant it was officially Christmas season, but we had to wait. She insisted it didn’t get to be hung up until after dinner and all the dishes were done.
It is a tradition that kind of got lost after she died. When my Hubby and I first moved into this house almost 18 years ago, I wanted to have our first Thanksgiving in this house restart that tradition, so I painted a curtain of my own. Santa has gone up every year since and has become something that my kids now look forward to as much as I did when I was little. Even though they they are teenagers, it is still something they get excited about.
When I reconnected with my cousin several years ago, we talked about all kinds of memories we had of our grandmother. When I brought this tradition up, she sadly didn’t remember it. I didn’t know if it was something my grandmother started after that cousin was no longer around for the holidays, or if my cousin just didn’t remember it. It was something I still wanted to share with her, so I painted her a curtain of her own and it has become something that we share and holds a whole lot of meaning for us as we are pretty much the only ones in our family that talk to each other.
LONG story short, I have another cousin, her sister, that I’d never known or met. When my cousin reconnected with her sister, I was pulled in and connected as well. We aren’t as close, but I’m in contact with her. When my cousin asked if I could paint another curtain for her sister, I couldn’t say no to sharing this amazing tradition with her as well.
Except, this one has even more meaning this time. Because it will most likely be that cousin’s (the sister) last Christmas as she is dying. There was even a chance that I wouldn’t get it done in time.
It was hard to paint this, knowing that it won’t get that chance to be loved for years. Knowing that this particular cousin didn’t get the chance to create those memories, either with our grandmother because everyone abandoned her when she was a child or with her own family now because her time is so short. It also reminds me of why I made the decision I did to walk away from everyone in my family, because they made it so that she couldn’t have those happy memories for herself and that the only family (at least from our side) that is around her now is her sister, with me floating around on the side. It hurts on so many levels to see the evidence of the toxicity of the people in this family, in yet another awful way.
Thankfully, I was able to get it done and sent to her. She was overjoyed to get it and to share in that tradition with her sister and me.
This is an emotional holiday season for me this year. I’m working to focus on all the beauty and joy I can, but I’m going to be having my moments where everything is just sad. I am grateful that I was able to bring some joy to both of my cousins this year. It’s good to know that I can be a part of what makes their lives just a little bit brighter.