So we survived Halloween by keeping the shutters closed and the porch light off. Oh what a party pooper you may say, but hear me out. Mr. Husband and I are the babies in our neighborhood. The majority of our neighbors are elderly and the only time a house goes up for sale around here is when someone died. There are no houses with children near us.
Any kids that show up here are bused in from who knows where and swarm all over the block scaring us half to death when they dart out into the street from between parked cars. I don’t like it. When I’m in a cynical mood I wonder if the parents are hoping for the opportunity for a juicy lawsuit. I prefer children that I at least know in passing, as in I trip over their tricycle when walking my dog, they throw a Tonka truck at my head, etc.
The holidays are always a weird time for me. It is particularly stressful for me because I have in-laws who have entirely different expectations of when and how to celebrate holidays. After going through this for years I have developed a deep-seated resentment because my in-laws tend to ignore the fact that I have my own family with their own expectations and ways of doing things. This is mostly my fault because I haven’t put my foot down and explained that I have a right to celebrate my way occasionally. Instead I’ve piled up a humongous debris tower of resentment.
I have bowed out a few times over the years and gone to be with my family for Thanksgiving. I always have a lot of fun even though my family gatherings can get a bit wild and crazy. So… what to do…what to do?
I’m going try to plan a bit this year and decide what I am willing and capable of doing. I’m going to send out Christmas cards this year. I haven’t for a few years, partly because I received a snippy reply from one of the card recipient’s informing me that I was wasting the earth’s precious resources and killing trees by sending out Christmas cards. Well, how rude! I removed them from my list and in an attempt to take the high ground I refrained from calling them and sharing my opinion that they should take up residence next door to the Grinch who stole Christmas.
So here I am facing the holidays again. It occurred to me while ruminating about this subject for the last few days is that Mr. Husband our past 10 years together has not joined me with my family for a holiday even once. It’s been his way or the highway, year after year. I’m not quite sure why I put up with this, but it’s starting to piss me off. Why do I do this to myself? I’ll just grin and bear something for years or even decades and then suddenly it’s a Mt. Vesuvius eruption of anger and resentment. Then I decide that I’m not going take it anymore and Yee Haaa, here we go.
So it’s not too early to plan for the holidays. I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to do the Christmas card thing. But, for Thanksgiving I’m going to visit my family in New Orleans. What the heck, maybe I’ll just stay there for Christmas. I haven’t been with my family for Christmas in maybe 20 years. It’s high time to do something about that.
I have a kooky family. So what? I miss them anyway. It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I’m moping around the house. Earlier this month, I expressed an extreme disinterest in doing a huge bang up in-law infested turkey day at Hubman’s mother’s house this year.
We leave on a way loooong road trip, with his mother in tow, the following Monday at the ass crack of dawn. That’s too much to cram into the time allotted. It’s not like there is no one else here in North Texas to cook a damn turkey. So what is his response? Move the party to our house! Excellent idea, oh beloved Bimbo of mine. Howz about I burn all your Star Trek collectibles in a big bonfire in the back yard. Wouldn’t that be fun?
I think I now know why iron skillets were invented and it was not for cooking, that’s just the cover story. There were created to knock husbands over the head with when they just…don’t…get it. Part of the problem is that I miss MY family. I love each and every one of them, even though there have been times that I contemplated murder, keel hauling or at the very least 20 lashes.
Some of this annoying ennui is my fault. I need to put my foot down in the marital kind of way before the next big holiday and say “HEY! It’s my turn. WE, not just me, are going to my family’s house for a holiday.” We are not solely responsible for entertaining every one of your relatives on every damn holiday ever invented. And I don’t wanna hear any whining a about how much it’s gonna cost. Or what is your mother is gonna do without us there to cater to her every whim, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Hell, bring her with us. We’ll give her a peek at how the darker side celebrates a holiday. The crazy beer drinking, Saints football team loving, dance at every opportunity, laugh at everything, wear a turkey on your head, New Orleans people way of celebrating. There is more than one way to do a holiday. And some of them don’t involve standing on your feet slaving over the stove until your feet swell up to the size of watermelons, and groaning and moaning about it. And on top of all that claiming you enjoy it. Uh, yea, and I like to get root canals too. Nice try, but I’m not buying it.
So I’m trying to work on things to be grateful about. I’m alive, have my health, a loving husband, even though he is rather thick-headed in the female department. A family that loves me, friends, I don’t live on the Gaza strip. I can afford to do pretty much whatever I want to do, within reason. I probably can’t afford to charter a jet and fly to Russia to train and go up in space, but I don’t want to do that anyway. I’m pretty much OK with being Earth bound for the time being.
I own a postage stamp size plot of ground on the moon. I bought if from a coupon on a cereal box when I was kid, but can’t find the paperwork. My dog loves me, and my cat doesn’t bite me…often. I do have a lot of things to be grateful for. Perhaps what I need to do is state my case earlier in the game. No means No. If I don’t wanna, then I don’t wanna. And if I do, then I do. Going along for the ride, moping around and pitching a fit when it’s too late to change anything isn’t working out well. Guess I need to pay more attention. Ignoring my needs and wants just isn’t doing the trick.
Over dinner the other night a friend asked “are you in the mood yet?” Uh, excuse me? “You know, the Christmas mood.” OOOooo. I thought about for a minute and it hit me. No I’m not…yet. Then I felt a pang of guilt. Uh oh, I shoulded on myself again. I should be in the Christmas mood. I’m in a fine mood just not that particular mood. As I’ve said in a previous musing. I think should is a four letter word.
I’m going to examine this more closely, by cracky. Being of a Catholic bent in religious leanings, I’m in an Advent kinda mood. Introspective and examining my good will towards men or the occasional lack there of. A period of peaceful winter darkness and waiting for the wonderful to occur. Christmas always started for me at the midnight mass on Christmas eve. I never liked the day after Thanksgiving rush of the lemmings to the local mall or bargain warehouse.
I think the media about the “state of the economy” and the advertizing industry have backed themselves into a pickle this year. Do you feel torn between 2 opposing minds sets? I sure do. On the one hand there is the “we’re all broke and it’s only gonna get worse” camp. On the other there is the “Spend, spend, spend till it hurts” camp. Is there a middle ground? I hope so. I waited too late to make everyone a scarf, maybe I’ll make fudge for everyone, or Bourbon balls. Yeah, that sounds like fun. I can cook and get tipsy at the same time. Yeah buddy, now we’re talking.
And of course every year, there are the people who keep score. You got me this last year so I’m obligated to give you that this year. You didn’t get me anything last year so I’m gonna be pissed off all year and not give you anything this year and tell you, in front of everyone, why I’m not. Bah humbug. Where is the Christmas spirit in that?
This Christmas and every Christmas, I still love Mr. Husband to death. However, every year I go though canniptions trying to figure out what to get him for Christmas. He truly is the man who has everything. If he wants something he gets it. End of story. If he doesn’t have it it’s because he doesn’t want it. Not to worry I’ll figure something out. But I hope he knows that for me, he is my best present for any occasion. I enjoy our time together more than any thing that comes in or out of a box.
Let me raise my voice
With new courage and deep joy
to give you praise with my life.