The Waiting Room

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Christmas Is At Our Throats Again

Posted by Seeking Solace |

The holidays are tough for me. I really don't look forward to them, mainly because I don't look forward to dealing with family. My family is beyond dysfunctional; my brother and I have not spoken for 7 years. My mom can be quite difficult; she likes to drag up things that happened 30 years ago.

On Husband's side, I still sense a bit of a cold war with my MIL. My FIL takes the opportunity to remind Husband and I again that we miss everything because we live so far away and he can't understand why we didn't move back to Redneckville, or at least City of Black and Gold, even though he knows I have RA and can't handle the climate. And, of course there is my in-laws making such a fuss over the grandchildren that both my SIL and I feel like we are "less than" because we do not have kids (My SIL is unable to have children, and I am child-free by choice).

So, you can see why I dread the holidays.

In the past, Husband and I would spend Christmas together in LESC. We did not have to lie, either. Usually, the weather was so bad that time of year that traveling was not possible. Of course, we still receive some grief, but I could put it out of my mind since I was in the comfort of my own home.

Last year, we drove back to Redneckville, for the first time in a few years. Although it's a longer drive, like 8 hours, we don't encounter too much heinous weather until we hit the mountains of Home State. Not the worst thing the the world, drive-wise. We stayed in a hotel, which I don't think the in-laws liked. But, with my BIL, his wife and kids, there would not be much room. Plus, there is only one bathroom at my in-law's house. We can't stay at my mom's because Husband is allergic to cats. And, as usually, the same barrage of crapola I just mentioned was waiting.

To answer your question, I have said something to those whose comments are hurtful and/or offensive. Husband has too. But, I think it just falls on deaf ears or people just have a momentary lapse, long enough to get their jab in before saying "Oops, my bad."

It's not like I am asking for some Norman Rockwell kind of Christmas. That just doesn't exist. But, I would like to get through one holiday without being grouchy, depressed or reaching for the Ativan.

7 comments:

Belle said...

Don't go. Period. Don't explain, excuse or lie. Just say that you want to spend the holidays at home. That where you are is home (unless that is a lie). One of the best memories of my life is the first year I insisted that 'going home' wasn't - that where I was was my home. Going elsewhere entails so much - give yourselves a gift. Stay home.

rented life said...

It would be an even loner drive, but I promise if you come to my family's house your Christmas would be filled with entertainment, watching my relatives get drunk (more entertainment), games and awesome food. The few people who cause drama won't be there this year, there's no child guilt and no one would ask you to bring anything.

But you've identified all the reasons why I don't want to see my in-laws. In fact my entire plan surrounds not giving time/space to see SIL and her family. I can't deal with it.

Rebecca said...

My mother has 5 sibs, my father was an only child and his parents lived across the street from us while we were growing up. We had Christmas morning in our own home, then walked across the street to my grandparents for Christmas dinner...which was, for us, lunch.

So I don't know how my sibs and I got roped into going to my mother's for Christmas every other year. The off years were supposed to be when we went to our inlaws. I can't even remember any discussion about not staying in our own homes for the holiday.

True, my mother was a widow, but she could have visited each of us in turn. It's what she did all year long, anyway.

In any case, I've told my daughters that I do not expect them to travel anymore at Christmas. They hated having to do it when they were kids and I'm not going to pressure them to do it as adults. We'll speak on the phone, and Skype if possible, and I will go and visit them - bringing my mother when possible.

It makes it easier for me to implement this now, for both me and my sister, because half of my mother's 8 grandchildren live in one place. So it's just easier to take her to them, rather than coordinating schedules and flights for them to come to her.

Plus, the holidays are so filled with pressure. I'm with Belle, just don't go anymore. Make this visit the last and, from now on, visit at easier times of the year and just talk on the phone at the holidays.

JaneB said...

One of the things I hate about being single is that it's SO MUCH HARDER to not go - my sister hasn't travelled for Christmas since she got married, which is the norm in our family, but clearly I am a Sad Single Person and either people come to me (oh goodie, a week of house guests at the end of semester!) or I am expected to go to them (and call me a sad old maid cat woman, but I don't like putting my furry housemate into the cattery for the holidays, or the driving, or the time in someone elses house under their rules at the end of semester... (single person, easier to fit into relatives houses)). If only Christmas fell at the END of the winter break, not the start of it...

Rev Dr Mom said...

I totally empathize. I actually did quit having Christmas with my extended family for a while. Now that my kids are grown I have it with them and so far, so good :)

For years I hated Christmas b/c of all the family drama. Just in the last few years has it started to be enjoyable again.

Do what you and your spouse need to have a happy holiday...family grief isn't worth it.

Sherlock said...

We haven't had to travel for the holidays for many years. Everyone lives within an hour's drive so we can visit for the holiday meal and then head back home. But lordy I remember the far-away visits when we had no choice but to stay a couple of days. And I hated that.

RageyOne said...

Oh wow, yeah, I would stay home also! Sorry those family issues are present. I'm sure that can be difficult.

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