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family holidays, unvarnished

November 24, 2015

What I miss:

  • Coffee after dinner, like proper grown-ups.
  • Dressing up in pretty clothes.
  • Everyone else (well, the women anyway) wearing pretty clothes.
  • Good food.
  • Gramma*.
  • Gramma’s house.
  • Drive to Gramma’s house (through Cook County Forest Preserves; passing Long John Slough and Maple Lake).
  • House decorated festively.
  • Seeing people I see only rarely.
  • Possibility of [likely just one, at best] an interesting/enjoyable conversation, with someone I like.

 

*Gramma somehow got dropped when I posted this.

 

What I don’t miss:

  • Dreading all of it for weeks, months ahead of time.
  • Expected to ‘help’ in the kitchen, even though everyone thinks I can’t do anything right. Remonstrating with me is apparently a stress-reliever for others.
  • Getting ‘advice’ that doesn’t apply to my life, and wouldn’t work if I tried it. {Ask me how I know!}
  • Hearing from my parents that Spouse is their ‘son’. Spouse being fawned over. I, their actual child, am an afterthought. Boys/men matter.
  • Hearing how many times my brother and his family went to Europe & the Caribbean on vacation this year.
  • Hearing how important/indispensable my brother(s) are.
  • [Possibly] Hearing how great relatives I don’t like are doing.
  • If I have a job I don’t like [most of them], I’ll be grilled about it in detail.
  • If I have a job I do like [rare], no one will want to hear about it, at all.
  • I’m supposed to be the Listening Ear for every other person there. All day. I’m not encouraged to talk about any of my 27 special interests. Really, I’m not supposed to talk at all.
  • My brother will insist on calling me a babyhood nickname derived from OldName, instead of NewName, my actual name. Everyone else will sigh over how much he clearly ‘cares about’ me.
  • My mother will badger me about John. Or just tell me, in detail, how well he’s doing, how proud his parents are of him.
  • My mother will badger me about [not talking to] my sister.
  • My mother will ‘encourage’ me to talk to my father, again, even though it never goes well.
  • No one has ever apologized to me, for any reason. But there will definitely be things I’ll be expected to apologize to others for. If it’s my mother, I’ll have to apologize over and over and over, preferably until I cry. That cheers her right up!
  • Too much noise.
  • Too much social contact, for too long.
  • The one niece that I keep hearing is ‘just like me’ ~ I’ll hear all about how her parents (and grandparents) dote on her, she’s a ‘leader’, she’s excelling at every social thing. None of that resembles my lived experience in any way.
  • I will be pushed past shutdown into meltdown. Then ridiculed. In my family of origin, this is a competitive sport: participants go all out to win, place, or show.

 

Contempt: It’s what’s for dinner.

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