Growing up, my mother was obsessed with christmas, or, more accurately, she was obsessed with attempting to recapture the feeling that christmas used to give her when she was a child and her life hadn’t descended into the all encompassing masking of her depression and unhappiness being forced into a marriage that was nothing more than a mere state recognized version of “babysitter” for my stepdads kids and ended up becoming addicted to pain medication. But ya know, yay christmas.
Anyway, every single December, she’d bring out box after box of christmas decorations, up to and including things like a small reindeer that pooped brown M&Ms by pushing on it, a Beatles Yellow Submarine tree ornament and a Santa holding a chalkboard where you can write how many days left until the magical morning. The most memorable one to me, however, was one we got before she even married me stepfather. It was (I’m assuming ceramic, I am sorry I am not more informed) a pig laying on its side, with a wreath around its neck, and it had a big grin on its face. It wasn’t cartoonish in the least, it was very realistic, and it sat on our mantel place every single christmas.
I’m not entirely sure why this one is so ingrained in my mind, as if it’s been branded on my brain like a mark onto a cow hide, but it is nonetheless. My stepfather dumped my mother on christmas eve after 12 years of marriage, the same christmas that was the first without my grandmother, who’d died soon before. My mother stopped putting ornaments out after the divorce for the most part, but the pig always made an appearance, and while I probably haven’t seen this ornament in over a decade now at the least, I can still recall it perfectly.
I think the reason I remember it is because to me it, it is the physical manifestation of how I think my mother felt about the holiday in the end, even after the good times associated with it were over. Much like a pig is happy slopping around in its own shit, she was happy being in a holiday that had turned to such shit because of the good memories it brought to her. I think there’s some clarity in that, which says a lot considering how much clarity she lacked when it came to damn near everything else.
When I was a little girl, my grandma used to give me advent calendars during December. I haven’t had an advent calendar in a long, long time (likely even a while before she died), just as I hadn’t really celebrated christmas much until I spent it with my girlfriend at her parents place the last few years. We decorated a tree and everything, and we had an actual christmas with her family there. While I still don’t like the holiday the way I did as a kid, I still can’t forget that goddamned pig. Sometimes I wonder where that pig is, if my mother even still has it or it broke or she threw it out. In the last few years especially, pigs have become some of my favorite animals, so it only makes it harder not to think about it.
Wherever you are, christmas pig, I hope you’re okay. At least one of us can still enjoy this holiday, and thanks for teaching me to try and enjoy what’s happening to me, even if it is utter shit.
[This is a repost of a Medium article.]