I wanted this Christmas to be decent. I wanted it to not be painful. Christmas Eve was nice; I spent it at the home of the parents of some gaming friends. They have a lovely home, and my friend's mother is a wonderful cook and hostess. His dad is the kind of dad I've only seen in other peoples' homes and on TV.

I couldn't buy many presents this year because I knew right after Thanksgiving that my Day Job would be coming to an end today. I won't be unemployed after this, since I'll be mentoring for Seton Hill, but my financial status will be questionable. Braunbeck and I couldn't justify spending much on each other. 

And the holidays are just extra difficult when you don't have a family. Yes, there are arguments and stress and all, but when you have a family you have the sense that you belong someplace, or you should. The endless barrage of ads and shows and movies on TV featuring happy family get-togethers gets pretty unbearable after a while. Especially the cute kids getting all excited about Santa. You're not that kid and you won't ever be the parent or grandparent of that kid, so where do you belong?

I keep getting told, "There, there, it's not so bad that your mom's dead and your father is an emotionally distant and you can't have any children and your other living relatives blew you off entirely after your mom died ... you have friends! Friends are family members you get to choose for yourself!"

Except ... they're not.

I have some very good friends. I can't craft a family out of them. I've tried -- their real family always comes first. And why wouldn't it? The best I can hope for on the holidays is to borrow someone else's family for an evening or two, and it's nice while it lasts, but it never lasts. Last year it was Christmas at another friend's parents' house and the friend told me that I was "found family" and ... well, I thought that might last. But it didn't.

And I have more than some. At least I have Braunbeck, and he has me. 

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