Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Whine

This afternoon, a well-meaning (and bored) co-worker popped her head in my office with a big smile on her face and said "So, what are your Christmas plans?!"  I sighed, looked up from the fascinating technical paper I was reading, and said "I honestly don't know, but it will involve alcohol."

"You don't know what you are doing for Christmas?"  she asked, like she didn't believe me.

"Not really."  By the time I had sort of explained, the poor girl had tears in her eyes.  Actual tears.  I am not kidding.  I made someone cry because of how crappy my Christmas is.  

Imagine how I feel.  

Christmas is the loneliest time of the year for me.  Its hard watching my friends and colleagues enjoy their families, look forward to presents, children, holiday meals... My family is disjointed and dysfunctional.  Even when my parents were still together, most holidays were pretty low key.  Easter was non-existent.  To this day, I remember writing (in purple ink) in my little diary about how sad and angry I was one year when we didn't do an Easter dinner with the grandparents and aunts and uncles (clearly, this was before I stopped eating ham).  Since my parents got divorced and since my father has gotten so sick, finding ways to celebrate holidays has gotten more and more difficult, and planning what my brother and father are doing has rested largely on my shoulders for more years than I care to count.

Dad is legally blind and on dialysis.  I don't know if I've mentioned that before.  I can't just say "come on down to my house.  I'll cook."  He can't drive, and he can't eat anything that I could cook (the few vegetarian things that he wouldn't turn his nose up at aren't on the dialysis diet). Regardless, its still up to me to determine what is happening on Christmas for me, my brother and my father.  I haven't yet figured it out, and I wish I could just flee.  We will end up at dad's house for a little while.  Dad still lives in the house we grew up in, but its only him.  The house is collapsing on itself and its really a depressing place to be on a normal day, let alone Christmas.

Once Dad is taken care of, I will likely head to a dinner with my mom's boyfriend's family.  They are great people, and always very welcoming.  And very Christian.  Not overtly, but I have to watch my mouth and be polite, which puts me on edge.  Despite how welcome they make me feel, I am an outsider in their family circle.  As much as I appreciate them including me, they aren't my people.  But if I want to see my mother on Christmas, I have to show up there.  

And I haven't even launched into being responsible for figuring out what it is that my brother wants, and taking dad shopping to get it.

Two more days and it will be over for another year.

I hope that you, dear reader, are having more fun with your holidays than I am.


Unknown said...

wishing you the best for this holiday, I'm sorry your xmas sounds like it will be tough.

I would love to know what dishes you normally make though - I'm doing a tofurkey, mashed garlic potatoes, roasted or grilled asparagus, and rolls. Oh and cranberry sauce with ginger.

i like cheese said...

I hate Christmas. I have for a long time. I have my own reasons, but just know that I will be with you in spirit, drinking way too much, and waiting patiently for it to be over.

Susan said...

Toddbg: Thanks for the well wishes. It will be fine - I'm just feeling sorry for myself. As for tofurkey - forget it! Tofurkey is tasteless and rubbery. Try Quorn instead - it comes in a roll, cutlets, stuffed. Its in an orange box and I have found it both at the co-op and Food Lion! My non-veggie friend couldn't stop eating it on Thanksgiving.

Katy said...

Just know that if at any time you want to be tortured by a retarded-ly family filled christmas, you are always welcome. It might do you good to see the madness and think, now why in the hell did I want to do this again? I

'm ready to strangle my in-laws who I'll have to spend nearly every waking moment with today and tomorrow. I want to see my immediate family, but not the dysfunctional (sometimes jailed) extended family. I want the kids to have a good time but not be selfish (so far we're doing ok).

It sucks that you aren't looking forward to it. Just know that there are those of us with too many plans who feel exactly the same way.

Elena said...

First of all, let me assure you there are not tears glistening in my eyes for you. Secondly, be glad no one will be serving creamed chipped beef during any of your holiday festivities. Lastly, just get innappropriately drunk like the rest of us until it all goes away. And if you're not doing anything Christmas Day night, you're welcome to join me up in PA....

Unknown said...

My parents' house is open on Christmas afternoon if you want to come by. Since my sister is a vegetarian (of a certain ilk) you will have food to eat. We're mellow and always have wine and beer.

Ms Behaviour said...

I used to have an awesome Christmas with my X's family. Now I wish December would just disappear. So this is my Christmas wish for you: that you will be as relieved, but not as hungover, as I plan to be when you open your eyes on Boxing Day. Hey, if you're close to Canada, come for some Boxing Day shopping. It's like American black Friday but in a slightly weaker currency :)