Friday, December 28, 2007

Post Xmas Round-up

*The aforementioned reunion was a minor disaster. I stayed home with an actual headache. J. stumbled in early, at midnight, and drunk as a skunk. The "buffet" never materialized but 2 Manhattans and 3 Jamesons did. He barfed all night and through the next day. Poor thing.
Post Xmas Round-up
Perhaps J. and I have become more grumpy, but it seems like each year christmas gets more and more sad and less and less fun. Now, for all you xmas crazies out there - calm down. I like to decorate my tree, hang my stockings and bake cookies. But the day and the eve are little more than torturous shuffles from one families dinner to the next. It is implied by both families that our absence would create a considerable tear in the familial fabric, but when we are actually there we feel lost and bored-- as though our presence is not needed at all. I think, in part, it is because we do not have children.

So we went to the in-laws on the Eve. We had a quiet day, a quite meal, a sedate round of present opening and a quiet game of cards. His family is so still some times I think I should take all of their pulses. There is the obligatory go around the dinner table to tell what we are thankful for. I am very, very, very nervous about these moments of sharing, so I just come up with something very superficial. If I really talked about my year, it would end with me breaking into tears. Instead, J.'s mother graciously mentioned our year of hardships, and herself, almost started to cry. I am more impressed by my MIL ever year. Even with our differences, she is so sensitive to me and J. I wish I had more to add to that - but that just about sums it up. We did open our own gifts from one another when we got home that night, and that was really fun. J. bought me a really cool necklace that I was eying up. I can't believe he remembered.

Christmas morning we got up early to head to my folks house. The festivities there are typically a veritable clusterf*ck - everything from screaming children, drunk uncles, huge rack of prime rib, fighting sisters and those who always hold up present opening by arriving at least an hour late. But this year, it was so different. Two years ago my dad had a blowout with his oldest sister. Their absence, and the absence of their children and grandchildren cut the attendance from near thirty, to about fifteen. So scale is the first big difference.

Then there is my oldest sister. Her second marriage, to the second a-hole she could find, ended a year ago. But not until after she had produced 3 pretty awesome little rug-rats. She and her brood moved in to my parents home and my sister, as per her habits, picked up with the next douche she could find - one of the dudes that had helped build my parents addition on their house. The guy is ok - but he is young, immature, not real interested in helping to raise my sisters kids, and smokes pot. {I smoked plenty o' reefer as a youngin-- and don't necessarily object to it. But my sister is 36 yo, a school teacher, and has three needy children. She also tends to pick up the habits of her lovers, for fun-- she likes to "become" them. This is not a habit I would like to see her get involved with in this point in her life. Hence, my frowning on it.}

My sisters [omni]presence in my mothers home makes me feel like a visitor in the very same house I grew up in-- a very strange sensation. For YEARS, I was the one who helped do all the x-mas cooking, I was the one who helped my mother slave over the pies and the shrimp and the cheese log. But the house is now partly my sisters house. And she has assumed the chores that I used to love to do with my mom. Additionally, my mother rarely calls for my help anymore-- I think because she perceives that I already have "enough" on my plate. But I want to help. Baking a pie with my mother would be the most normal thing I could possibly do.

So we arrive about 10 a.m.
Bad news. Both of my parents are in bed with a NASTY stomach virus that my sisters youngest dragged home from daycare. It has been clear-cutting through the whole family for a week and finally reached both mom and dad - simultaneously at about 4 am Christmas morning. So the parental buffer is gone. There is no one there to mediate all of our snide sibling behavior. It was awkward and weird and made me realize that with the exception of my nieces and nephews, in my parents absence, there would be very little reason for any of us to ever see each other again. It was a very sad christmas realization.

After my brothers family arrived at their usual 'one hour late' time, we opened presents. My sister passed out the gifts. The kids went wild. I got some nice new bras, that actually fit, and a crock pot that is fit for a family of 6, not 2. My sisters boyfriend gifted the kids with some inappropriately large gifts - like the HUGE air hockey table that will be a problem using in my parents already crowded house. It made me feel really icky and sad-- mostly because they have been so on again off again. Last time I saw my sister, about a month ago, they were off and she had joined match dot com. It is confusing for me to keep track of their status, I can not imagine how confusing it is for her children. Do big gifts mean big love? I just want her kids to have stability-- and she seems so incapable of delivering that.

My sister passed the gifts slowly, leaving her and her boyfriend piles to sit in the corner. After all present opening was done, they held up on their own and oozed all over each-other in their own little private ceremony. I was pretty ticked off with this, first because it was very exclusionary. But also, because the whole time, she totally ignored her kids, while they wanted to share with her all of their treasures. I just wish they would have thought to have there own time, perhaps last night, like J. and I did. They could have easily opened each others gifts before bed on Christmas eve. THIS round is for FAMILY. Not for lovers.

I could just go on and on and on. I could tell you about how my sister never really loved her second husband. I could tell you about how she got knocked up before they were married - on purpose because the VD she had gotten from her first husband had potential to effect her fertility. I could tell you about how "unnaturally" parenting comes to her. I could tell you haw she yells constantly and is one of the angriest people I know. I could tell you about how she seems to resent her children, most of all for being a "product" of their father, from whom she is now divorced. I could tell you about how she is fast to smack them. I could tell you about how she makes fun of her oldest in front of everyone-- her oldest who is the most troubled.

I could also tell you how my sister and I used to be great friends. How she helped support me in college. How generous she has been to me. I could tell you how amazingly wonderful her three children are. How M., the oldest, the tom-boy, is going to be an awesome skateboarder. How she is more physically capable than any kid I have ever seen. I could tell you how A., her second and an overachiever, is the fastest reader in the first grade-- how she is so far ahead that she gets to sit with and help out with the disabled kids in class. And she loves to do it! I could tell you about how little W., her youngest and a total brute, is on of the craziest 2 year olds I have ever known. He is a funny, smart, rough little guy who has that most expressive "Uh-Huh" I have ever heard. I love her and her kids so much. I just wish all of our adult bullshit didn't have to be so much in the way all of the time.

Christmas has come and gone.
Mom and dad successful transfered the plague to my poor husband-- who while out to dinner with an old friend last night was overcome by the chills and nausea.
I have miraculously escaped the plague. {knock on wood}
The best gift of all, my little, monster, man-kitty caught his first mouse of the winter season last night and did not even get blood all over the kitchen!! Way to go Bennie!! Keeping 1339 mouse-free since 2006! (See image of Killer below)


orodemniades said...

Wow, what a hectic holiday. I hope your mom and dad and the Mister are feeling better. And that you don't catch what's going around, either.

I wish I had advice for you on the sister front, but I don't speak to my half-siblings and it's not like we grew up together anyway, so, um, I got nothin'.

jenn said...

I'm sorry you had such a crazy holiday. I'm also sorry about your sis- I can't even imagine how hard it must be to not have the relationship you want with your sister.

I hope your fam feels better & the plague passes you by.

K77 said...

Family sucks, esp at Christmas. I'm glad your MIL showed some sensitivity, that's great.

Bennie looks like one of my guys, Jasper, very cute. He's clearly proud of himself!