After the whole Thanksgiving Debacle, I am decidedly not looking forward to hosting Christmas Eve.
Now maybe I didn’t exactly TELL you, fair Internet about what happened to inspire such dread in me, but you’ll have to forgive me. I wasn’t willing to accept it myself until Friday, when Dave came home to an earful about how I was NOT happy any longer about agreeing (not even agreeing, SUGGESTING. I am stupidly stupid.) that we host Christmas Eve again. Poor, poor Dave didn’t realize he was walking into a WASP’s nest of hatorade, when he walked happily off the train that day. I’m sure that had he known what a mood I was in, he’d have happily joined the homeless on Lower Wacker until it blew over.
Thanksgiving, you see, on the surface was hunky-dory, maybe the roast was still moo-ing and therefore I refused to eat it (I’ve never been able to eat meat that looks like it did before it died), and possibly the potatoes were a bit too dijon-ey for my own liking, but the food, it turned out well (no small feat).
The problem was less superficial and more festering below the surface. Let me back dat ass up and explain.
After years of psychotropic medication, chronic alcoholism and several botched ECT sessions, my mother, she ain’t what she used to be. This is a standard problem with people who suffer from what she does, and therefore to be expected. My memory of my mother when I was a wee one is significantly different from my brother’s (as he is 10 years older). Like the old joke about weather here in Chicago, (you know, you don’t like it? Wait 5 minutes) people like my mother are never the same person twice. It changes unpredictably every couple of years, so the woman who I now call “Mom” is not the same person she was before and not the same person she will be later.
(Side story time! One year, when I was about 8, apparently I was such an asshole that she cancelled Christmas for me. Just me. Everyone else got presents while I had to sit there and not open a damn thing. She has no memory of this. And I am just amazed that I am not more twisted than I am.)
Talk about a mind-fcuk, right?
Needless to say, I am still adjusting to who she currently is, and it’s a hard one for me. She’s now far quieter than she ever was and far less responsive. I can be obviously fishing for some reassurance about something or another and she’ll just blankly stare at me. Pleasant, right?
On the other side of the table, we have my mother-in-law, who, when she imagined the person her youngest son would marry, would never in her wildest nightmares have pictured me (hell, would you?). She’s an extremely sweet person who has never been anything but unfailingly nice to me and my children, but she tries to avoid me. Maybe it was the naked picture debacle, or maybe it’s just me being me, but her discomfort is palpable.
And this is who I ended up sitting sandwiched between after Thanksgiving dinner. We engaged in a rousing discussion about our various medical ailments (trust me, it sounds more exciting than it is), and then for good measure, when the baby didn’t wake up from his nap like I kept praying for him to do, we had the EXACT SAME discussion again.
Poor Dave faired no better. He got stuck in the basement with our fathers, where he sat in silence watching Ben play this stupid golf game. I can’t be sure, as I was in the middle of discussing rectocele and polyps (and wishing that I were possibly worse than dead), but I imagine that there was much staring at hands and uncomfortable throat clearning.
Our familes, despite not particularly caring for the other (I think. Not sure. Seems that way. Not interested in finding out) are far too quiet to actually tell each other off, but given the choice, I’m fairly sure we could easily seperate back into our original places (imagine oil and water here). Dave with his family, me with mine. Maybe we could even make signs like “No (my maiden name)’s Allowed! This Means YOU, Becky!” put them on the doors and quarrantine our respective selves to various floors.
Problem for us is that I’d much rather spend the time with Dave and my children than play stupid immature games with our parents. It’s hard to imagine that I’m actually talking about 60-year-old adults and not petulant teenagers, isn’t it?
Maybe I’m being hormonal and highstrung here (it’s not even likely, it’s a certainty) and maybe everyone will gather around a campfire singing rounds of “Gin ‘n Juice” and I will, yet again, be proven wrong. I certainly hope so. They’re going to HAVE to start getting along SOME day, right?
And if I am not, the beckoning arms of booze-laden eggnog will surely envelop us both and suddenly, we will not care one tiny bit WHAT our parents think.