Distance during holidays

Changing with Cider
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Cutting contact with my father proved to be one of the hardest decisions I’ve made. As I got older, I came to a realization that the man I thought of him as didn’t compare to who he actually was. After a lot of built up frustration, I cut all contact with my dad earlier this year, and I haven’t spoken to him since. Although I don’t regret my decision, I understand that my choice has made the holiday season a bit gloomier than usual. 

Family has always been an odd subject for me, especially when I was younger. My mom’s side wasn’t in contact with us for years because of her own family drama, so I barely talked to anyone on the maternal side of my family besides my brother. 

With the lack of familial bonds I had as a child, my dad’s wife’s family acted as a fill-in. When I’d walk into the familiar apartment building, I always had a sudden wave of excitement hit me. I knew my grandfather was probably cleaning or working on the building in some way. My aunt was on the first floor of the building with two of my cousins and uncle. My dad’s best friend lived right across from his apartment. It was undeniable that the place created a welcoming atmosphere. My favorite thing about that apartment lobby was the fact that I was only three flights of stairs away from my best friend and beloved step-sister, Izzy.

Christmas at my dad’s was always a drastic change from my regular life in Altoona. I didn’t spend all of Christmas day coddled up in my room like I would at my mom’s. I was always next to someone, and they celebrated the holidays with loud get-togethers. Christmas at my Dad’s was a different experience I didn’t get often. Community. 

Then I cut my dad off, and I no longer had the link that connected me to that part of my family. This exact issue made me debate if I even wanted to cut him off. I knew it would cause a disconnect with the other people that I did have a good relationship with. I thought of Izzy a lot while I was deciding, and she was a good voice of reason for me at the time. She reassured me that we would still talk and that the others would understand why I chose to do what I did. 

After Thanksgiving break I really started understanding that I no longer would get to have a Christmas like that. At least, not for a while. I wouldn’t get the chance to see my grandmother or uncle on Christmas Eve, and I wouldn’t see the same white Christmas tree that sat in the corner of my dad’s living room. It was a sour realization, but I knew it was a consequence I needed to accept. 

Then I thought more about my sister. We only saw each other face-to-face twice a year for a few weeks, yet we still have an unbreakable bond that was mainly created over the phone. I didn’t let the distance stop our friendship, and we both put in the effort to build our relationship. When I compared this relationship to my dad, I saw the complete opposite. That was when I told myself that I would not let my other relationships struggle just because of my father. Even if I couldn’t see them in person, I still have a phone in my hand 24/7 and sending one text isn’t a difficult task. It, at the very least, shows my family that I am thinking of them, and that I still care about them.

I don’t want to feel gloomy during the holidays, especially not over a decision I made to better myself. I decided that I will put in the effort to continue to bond with my family and not let the distance break me away from them. Even if I can’t have a healthy relationship with my father at the moment, that does not stop me from having one with others.

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