I was the first of my friends to have their parents divorce, back in the 70’s. Now, it seems pretty common, but it wasn’t back then. This meant full custody for one parent with visitation weekends with the other…etc.
I hated it.
It got worse when the “new” family started. Weekend visits became further apart…summers together smaller, etc. We became the “B” list kids.
I used to be jealous of the “new” kids — who seemed to get everything. They even got to take summer vacations when, for several years, we didn’t. Mom had to save all of her vacation time to be there for my kid brother. You see – he had to have brain surgery, several years in a row. It was scheduled in the summer, so he could still try to go to school. We spent a lot of time in the hospital, playing cards, helping him try to walk, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about being there for my brother! I still do stuff with and for him to this day and with love. I was looking at it through my eyes as a child back then…
Mom was the hardest working, most loving person I know. No matter how tight things were, she always had a hand out to help someone else – not with money, but her time and talents. You should meet her someday, she’s pretty darned cool! I tease her that they would make her a Saint, if she were only Catholic, LOL!
OK. Back to the “B” list…
We always came after the “real” family. Holiday’s, etc. We weren’t invited to the big retirement party of his, bridal showers for the upcoming weddings of the “A” kids, in fact, I can recall a few years that we never went to their house. There were quiet birthday celebrations at lunch, just the two of us. There was also the year that my birthday was forgotten…
See? B list.
Here is the funny part:
My daughter is on the “A” list. Who can blame them – she is adorable, funny and kind of cute too, LOL! She has had sleepovers there, etc. We however, are still “B” listers….
One thing about being on a “B” list, you eventually learn not to expect anything. That way, if you are “graced” with something, it’s a perk. You also avoid disappointments. This can take longer for some to learn that others…sadly. There can be a lot of years of heartbreak.
Another thing then happens: you create your own “A” list!
Now, if you are smart, EVERYONE is on your A list, as you know what it feels like to be on the “B” list. You make your own plans instead of waiting for someone else to MAYBE come through. Life is much happier that way!
So, I got an email last week, apparently the “A” list is getting together on the 25th this year, so the “B” list was going to be invited on the the 24th. It said:
I wanted to check about Christmas. We thought Sat afternoon (Christmas Eve) from 4-6 would be good but wanted to check with you before we started inviting people? We thought just a lite meal then church later for those who want to go.
Well, we already had plans.
For over two months. Remember, we don’t wait around – we take action!
Mom’s house it is, and I am to make the meal as she is still dealing with the joys of having heart surgery a few months ago. The entire “B” list is coming, even his mother. (that is a long, strange story…but we invite her every holiday so she won’t be alone). On the 25th, the entire Gay family heads to Minneapolis for a family celebration, one we haven’t done in a while.
I do feel bad that the entire “B” list is being put off until we can get together with them. Instead of merging them with the “A” list on the 25th, they are still in limbo. Sooooo sad!
Here is the thing:
There are a LOT of “B” list people out there. They might not have a place to go, or still be waiting for that magical invitation that they so rarely get. They haven’t learned to create their own “A” list or simply stop waiting and usually end up alone for the holiday.
This is NOT a good thing!
It’s the time of year for increased depression and suicides…people’s emotions run wild and they give up. A simple invitation could make all the difference.
If you look at our holiday table, we have family AND many people we now call good friends.
There is a collection of people we learned over the years, who would be alone and we creatively invited them. They have since become fixtures at every celebration. It could be the newly widowed lady from work, it could be the neighbor who’s kids have grown up and moved out of state, the woman who’s husband is overseas fighting and she has no close family to visit with the kids. You get the idea. It’s kind of an assigned pot luck where everyone brings something – an appetizer, a salad, a dessert… so it’s a stress free event with a ton of laughter!
My plea to you:
Take a real good look at the people around you.
Is there anyone that has no place to go for the holiday?
A nice meal with other humans could be just the thing to change a life! Creating the feeling of being wanted or needed can be such a magical thing. Something simple for them to open up while others do presents is nice: I have shared a bajillion candy/treat recipes this month – they make a great care package!
This is NOT charity.
I can’t stand that word – it’s demeaning to the people getting it, implying that someone is better than another. I prefer the terms Paying it Forward or Blessing Others. Regardless, it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money, but could end up being a priceless gift to the recipient.
It’s not to late to ask someone.