It happened Friday.
As in, Friday September 28th.
THE phone call. In general, I prefer to avoid this call until late October. This year, it happened Friday.
It's a simple question, really. "What are you doing for Christmas?'
But as I've said before, simply questions rarely have simple answers.
Last year was really hard without my mom BUT one of the benefits was this free pass I got.
It was a "Get out of petty 'You put that photo of me looking all fat in the calendar on purpose' family drama free" card. Let me tell you, it was a beautiful thing. Seriously, Monopoly should look into adding one of those to the Community Chest.
The holidays really weren't amazing. Somehow the rest of my family just extended this grace to not have to be around petty conflict when I was experiencing a hard and traumatic time.
That card expires after one year, apparently.
I'm back to deciding/defending what we'll do for the holidays.
It's the holidays and you are supposed to spend them with family. However, what this September 28th phone call says, though, is how messed up families can be. We have to negotiate time WAAAAYYYY in advance just to make a couple of days barely tolerable (read: we walk on egg shells or avoid family... isn't that fun?).
What's with the holidays anyway? It's supposed to be a cheerful time but look at rates of drinking and alcoholism during this season, will you? It's anything but happy and I'm not just talking about my family.
I know there are no perfect families but I'm not sure why we force the issue at the holidays. No one lets bygones be bygones. I hate to say it but if we can't (or won't) solve conflict for 50 weeks, it's probably not going to get solved in 2 weeks just because we've declared this the season of Jesus' birth. If we don't want to be around each other, it's okay. Sometimes you have to just let people go NOT because you don't care, but because they don't. I've come to grips with this reality.
I've had enough miserable holidays with estranged family members. I've had enough negotiations of where we will be and who we will have to avoid while we are there (or who will avoid us). This nonsense is ruining it for me.
Matt and I have a plan. WE ARE NOT STRESSING OVER CHRISTMAS.
So, no more phone calls about the holidays, okay? You do what you'd like to do (and let us know--maybe we'll join you). The rest of the time we'll be at our house. You are all invited. Well, most of you.