A Very Awkward Holiday

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Well, Christmas came and went, and I can't say I'm sad to see it go.  I had a really hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year, and I really couldn't figure out why.  It's not like this was my first Christmas as an official Jewish person, as I converted in September 2011, so that wasn't it.  Even if I had recently converted, I hadn't really been into the whole "It's Jesus' birthday, yay!" things for years, so Christmas had been secular for me for me for awhile.  I couldn't figure it out.

When I was a kid, and even until a couple of years ago, I always really enjoyed Christmas.  Obviously, presents are cool, so that was kind of a given.  I also love giving people presents, so that was always fun too.  When I was little, we went to my Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop's house, and my mom, Levi, my two aunts, and my uncle (and later, his wife and their son) would be there too.  There'd be a lot of food and presents and it was fun.  After Mom-Mom died in 2004, things kind of all fell apart with regards to the holidays, and people stopped coming to dinner on the actual holiday.  To be fair, Don and Laura live in CA and traveling at the holidays is expensive and obnoxious, especially when you have a little kid.  Kathy and Nita both live in MD (near Baltimore-ish), and they don't ever have the day-after the holiday off, so driving up and back on 95 is horrific and I don't blame them for not wanting to do it.  One year, we all went out to CA, which was weird... and a couple of years at Thanksgiving, they met at a restaurant in DE, which I always managed to escape (either by being in FL or OH, thanks to my dad and/or LF, respectively).  When those things weren't happening, it ended up being me, Levi, and our mom on the day-of the holiday (either Thanksgiving or Christmas), and then cobbling together some weird family dinner on the weekend following the holiday.  It's always been nice, but has led to the day-of feeling anti-climactic.

So the holidays have been changing every year for 8 years, and apparently, we're still not good at it, haha.  This year was no exception, only it somehow got even more complicated and weird because I'm married (weird but awesome) and also hate my mother (weird and not awesome).  The hatred of my mother is usually waning at this point because the holidays seem to mollify me/my neuroses about her, but with the recent argument we had, on top of the long-standing disrespect I have for her and her choices, on TOP of the fact that her house is a disgusting disaster that gives me hives because it's so messy... the mollification (is that a word?) was not happening.  Usually, I am more than ecstatic to not be driving to NY for some kind of crazy, in-law, holiday festivity... but this year, I would have KILLED to have somewhere to be, other than my mother's, on Christmas.  In typical fashion, plans were loosely made and then changed abruptly.  It was supposed to be dinner at my mom's, along with her weird cousin and her weird cousin's (adult) child, but Levi forgot that he had to work from 4-12 (how do you forget that?) and so it got turned into brunch/lunch with the cousin/cousin's child.  My mom had STILL wanted to have dinner, but I was SO not interested in being at her house all goddamn day, so Levi somehow quashed that (God bless that boy).  We got to her house around 10, and surprise!  She wasn't even out of bed and Levi had JUST gotten up.  SIGH.  I wonder if I'll ever stop being surprised/annoyed that my mother can't get her shit together.

Anyway, I had never really gotten into the Christmas spirit for whatever reason... although I am betting a lot of it is this underlying depression that I just started treating again (with little effect thus far). I just wasn't in the mood to be merry and bright.  Also, Christmas is weird when you're an adult and your mom insists that we all need to come over and open presents in the morning.  It's just... weird.  Like, if there are things we want in life/throughout the year, we pretty much just buy them for ourselves.  The only thing that we really wanted/needed was a new duvet, as ours is too small for our bed, and even that, we could have purchased ourselves eventually if we ever got around to going out and doing it.  So, needless to say, Christmas just had this awkward feel to it.  I had a lot of fun buying presents for Levi (as aforementioned, we got him a bunch of kitchen stuff, which made him happy), but I had almost no clue what to get my mother (I ended up going with a gift card to her favorite restaurant in the area and a gift certificate for 3 massages, thank you Groupon).

After presents, we all laid around and talked about how we didn't really feel like having people over (even if people were just my mom's weird cousin and her kid), but that it was already 11, so we couldn't very well cancel on them.  Sheila (the cousin) and Lex (the adult kid) got there a little after 12, and after a lot of dicking around, Levi and Ken took over the kitchen and finally started making food, otherwise we never would have eaten or gotten out of there.  I am pretty sure Levi started it simply out of selfish need to eat and then leave for work, but hey, I am not complaining.  I made cinnamon rolls (and by "made" I mean, popped the can on the Pillsbury variety and spread icing on them when they came out of the oven... and by the way, why the hell are those things so good?  They come out of a can!), Levi made eggs/omlettes, Ken made pancakes, there was bacon and sausage, and somewhere in there, I finally got a bagel (which somehow took half of my natural life to get toasted).  Sheila wasn't too weird, and Lex, who we had never met, was nice enough.  Levi got ready to go and left around 3:00, but not before my dad called and we were forced to talk to my hospitalized Grandma, who has been trying to die for about 2 weeks now and no one is letting her.  Don't get me wrong, I don't WANT my Grandma to die... but she's 91 and miserable.  Anyway, we talked to her for all of 5 minutes and then Levi left... and then Ken and I left.  It was super awkward because I could tell my mom wanted us to stay, but there was nothing to do and we were tired and I really wanted a nap.  So we left.

Overall, the words of the day were "awkward" and "forced".  I am not sure why anyone feels the need to keep up this charade of happy family, and why it's not okay to just say "you know what, this year we aren't in the mood and that's okay".  I get that our parents are weirded out by the idea that their kids are grown ups now, and for the most part, don't need the pageantry of Christmas presents and whatnot.  But seriously, do not force the weirdness on us because YOU feel like you can't handle reality.  For example, Ken's mom made us Skype with her so she could watch us open our presents on Sunday.  I get it.  She lives in Indiana and couldn't get back to the east coast for the holidays, and she misses Ken (although she basically never calls him, so how badly can she miss him??).  But seriously, we do not need to open our presents on display.  Honestly, if my parents would stop buying me presents, that'd be great.  On top of the weirdness of Skyping with her, she got me really weird stuff:

- Microwave popcorn (2 boxes...?)
- Plastic cups that say "POPCORN!" on them (we threw those out)
- A Christmas ornament for our non-existent tree (Hi, we don't actively celebrate Christmas in our home, and you know that)
- A $25 Amex gift card (the only useful thing in there)

Really, if she had felt compelled to send me something, the gift card would have been enough.  She also sent Ken a video game (always appreciated by him), nuts, Reese's, a tiny toy car with Sonic the Hedgehog on it (is he 5?), a $25 gift card to Carabba's (we don't go there), and strawberry truffles (along with some convoluted logic that we like chocolate covered strawberries, but those don't travel well, so she sent us gross candy instead...?).  It's honestly like dealing with a small, mentally-challenged, child sometimes.  Clearly, the Skype session was only of benefit to her, and to us, it was mostly annoying and definitely awkward.  Christmas morning at my mother's felt similar, only somehow worse because we couldn't just turn the computer off and pretend we had something else to do.

It feels so "bah humbug" to say that Christmas was a complete waste of time this year, but that's honestly how it felt.  Ken is heading up to NY today for the annual Day-After-Christmas Festivities at Nana and Grandpa's, which is generally way too much food with way too many people and a 5 hour poker tournament that makes me want to claw my eyes out from boredom... so I'm at work, using my "can't waste my PTO, saving it for the honeymoon" excuse.  I am kind of sad to be missing the get-together/dinner on Thursday with his half-sister and her family, because of everyone on his dad's side, they're my favorite... but alas, I am not driving up to NY on Thursday for a 1:00 dinner so I can turn around and drive home.  Thursday night, he's seeing his friend Del, and then apparently, his cousins from VA are coming up...?  He was planning on staying over to Friday morning anyway, but he's not keen on staying for the whole day... so he might just come home (which is fine by me).  I will be... working.  Although if today is any indication, there is NO one here and almost no work to be done, especially since the online data entry tool that I use is still broken.  Soooo... basically I'll be leaving here as soon as I deem reasonable, which might be sometime after lunch.

Anyway, the gist of my story is Christmas is weird and awkward when you're an adult and your parents still want you to be a kid, and presents are cool, but completely unnecessary, especially when you're only giving them because it's the end of December and it's what we've always done. And yes, this Saturday we ARE having our cobbled-together-weekend-after-the-holiday dinner, only thank God, we are going to Maryland to do it so I don't have to spend any time at my mother's disgusting house.  She had emailed and said that she wanted to cook dinner, but thankfully, my Aunt Kathy suggested that we go to her place, and Levi and I jumped on that immediately.  Ken and I are driving down on Saturday and staying with Kathy and Jack until Sunday, so at least that will be nice.  And my mom can't stay at Kathy's because there's no place for her to sleep there (because we're staying there) so yay.  After that is New Year's, which I have always found to be overrated entirely.  Last year, we were moving into our apartment (I cannot believe that it's been a year already!) and so this year, I think we're glad to just be in one place, haha.  We probably won't go out or do anything, which is fine by me.  I thought about having people over for games and some appetizer-type-food, but in all honesty, I don't want to deal with it.  I really just want to be in my pajamas and possibly asleep before midnight.  If that makes me lame... I'm okay with that.

So, I've been at work for 3 and a half hours and have done exactly zero things.  I should have just stayed home today, but I didn't want to take paid time off to do that since Ken and I aren't DOING anything, really (he's going to NY, but... whatever).  So now I'm here, being bored, talking to people online (like my Memily!), watching random videos on YouTube (Jenna Marbles is hysterical), and contemplating exactly when I can leave here before it looks stupid.  I'm not sure who would think it looks stupid, since there's approximately NO ONE here that gives a crap about what I do... but hey.  I'm pretty sure that I could have taken most of this week off without using any PTO, mainly because my boss is awesome/does not care, but I do have a conscience.  Just enough of a conscience to not completely abuse the system, but not enough of one to not leave early without guilt.  Okay, I'll be a little guilty.  But not very much.

I guess that's all I have to say for now.  I'm going to go back to doing fuck-all at work and wasting time until I can go home.  The rest of the week will probably be similar, so maybe you'll get a more legitimate life update then.  Until then, stay warm and dry if you're in places where it's snowy and cold... and if you're not, then I'm coming to visit you, whoever you are.

Love,
A

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