I will always remember that Christmas.
That time of year is back again and I can already feel the anxiety setting in. There are times when I can’t help but think about the past. Especially about the time I opened up to my adoptive father about being sexually abused as a child.
Christmas time when I was a younger was all that I waited for with every passing year. I remember decorating the house till every room was filled with some sort of tinsel or sparkling lights. I cherished every second of it. You couldn’t stop me from dancing to the Grinch soundtrack with The Who’s singing “Trim up the tree with Christmas fluff…” That time of year was magical for me. Over the years it unfortunately lost its sense of innocence. That Christmas when I told my father about being abused left me raw and alone. I will always remember that Christmas.
The week before Christmas I had to say goodbye to my husband. We were both celebrating the holiday with our families, me in Virginia and him in Florida. He was my boyfriend at the time, but I still found it difficult to leave him. Maybe it was because I knew that I could confined in him about being abused. As soon as I made it back to VA with my adoptive parents I felt this sense of gloom over the house. Before entering the house that I grew up in, I looked up at it and all the memories of being abused flooded in. How I stayed in that house for years, I still don’t know how.
When Christmas Day came along I kept on contemplating if I was going to tell my father or not. My mother who already knew and saw me get abused said, “It’s up to you Bernadette.” I had to build up my courage throughout the day until by 8 pm or so I sat my father down and told him.
The moment went by so quickly. All I remember is him saying a joke afterwards about me being abused and him getting me a wet wash cloth to wash away my tears. That’s how it was with them. They think by washing away the problems that they will magically disappear. That method never works.
Now, that I am estranged from them, I can’t help but feel that Christmas has to be perfect. It’s not healthy to think that way and I’m slowly working on it. Even though this year has been tough in so many ways politically, socially and personally, I have a loving husband. I have a silly dog and a new family in my husband’s family. I have met new people who I can consider real friends. I know that 2018 will be better. I know this because I will keep on trying to live for me and not for the family I grew up with.
Julia Child’s Croissants
Volume Two of Mastering the Art of French Cooking
By Julia Child and Simone Beck
1 1/4 tsp. of yeast
3 tbsp. of warm water (100 degrees)
1 tsp. of sugar
Second half of recipe
1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tsp. of sugar
1 1/2 tsp. of salt
2/3 cup of warm milk
2 tbsp. of canola oil
1 3/4 sticks of chilled unsalted butter
Makes 3/4 cup
1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. of nutmeg
Pinch of pepper and salt
1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
1/3 cup of fresh orange juice
1/2 cup of water
Directions for Cranberry Jam:
- Throughly wash the cranberries, then pat dry with a paper towel.
- In a medium size sauce pan, add all the ingredients and stir on medium to high heat until it starts to simmer.
- Once it comes to a simmer, turn down the heat between low and medium. Stirring frequently for 15 minutes or until the jam comes to the wrinkle stage.
- Once the jam has come to the wrinkle stage, take off the heat and cool for five minutes.
- Pour the jam mixture through a fine mesh sieve with a glass bowl underneath to catch the jam. Do this with a spoon and patience. This should take about 10 minutes to get all the mixture through.
- Cool the jam in a glass jar and leave in fridge until ready to use. Keeps up to 2 weeks.
Photography by. Bernadette Mira