Christmastime

Christmas Eve in Bulgaria

Image via Wikipedia

After the last family member packed up goodies and said goodnight, Rob and I snuggled up in a delicious hug and he complimented my fine turn at hostess, a role that hangs on me like a Snuggie made of sandpaper.

“We haven’t done too badly, ” I agreed, “for two people who are as anti-social as we are.”

He just laughed.

Inadvertently, we find ourselves in the midst of a blizzard of relations that is slowing but not completely stopped.

My mother-in-law and her fiance arrived on Wednesday and will not leave until tomorrow night. Shelley’s ex-brother-in-law’s sister hosted us for Christmas Eve after the nephew she shares in common with Shelley invited us.

It is an odd thing for some to wrap their mind around – family that is not family – but one I grew up. Many of my “cousins” were actually the children of my parents’ friends.

Dee wanted to know how everyone at the Christmas Eve gathering was related to her. Because her older sisters are related, she believes she must be as well. My attempt at explaining the metaphysics relationship just caused her brow to crinkle so I said,

“They are cousins.”

Cousins is a handy term with elastic possibilities.

Shelley’s older sister, who drinks a bit and has the convenient memory thing to boot, couldn’t attend, so the evening was stress-free and enjoyable.

Christmas Day couldn’t have gone any better. Really. There is nothing to top “perfect”.

The older kids arrived promptly for breakfast despite having outlasted us the night before and not getting to bed themselves until 3.

The Fiance fit in well. And food, presents, Wii, lunch, movie, more Wii and dinner later found us still companionable and pleasant.

Rob’s younger sister twisted the tension knob and amp’d it last evening with her arrival and we are having lunch with them today, so the fun will continue.

Oh, it wasn’t a trailer park death match in a cage. More like kitty claws.

Her older sister was much the same. They both revel almost in telling tales on their mother, who apparently could have used a book or two on the topic of parenting.

It’s not that I don’t understand having a mother who didn’t have natural instinct for it, but I don’t personally think that it does anyone any good to beat a horse that died long ago or keep its stinking juicy carcass in your main living space.

I tried to coerce Edie and Mick into coming for dinner last night in the hopes that they could steer conversation. Lord knows that the boyfriend my SIL brought along was doing his level best to deflect and distract, but Rob’s siblings are like dogs with new chewies when they see an opening. Give up a chance to rehash a miserable childhood? Not happening.

My own family managed a bit of shared time on the dysfunction front.

N2 and his father are moving back to the hometown and N2 is in full emo regalia. The likely outcome of this move is his finally dropping out of high school because the world needs another can’t-tell-him-anything skill deficient half-assed educated teen pounding the pavement for employment.

“Just don’t let him suck you into funding the beginning of his wasted life,” I cautioned my Mom – not that any advice I might have given or ever gave her she’s listened to and acted on.

“Oh, I won’t,” she assured me.

Of course that remains to be seen. The likeliest scenario – because N2 is an emotional carbon copy of his mother – is quit school, be a burden, knock up his white trash girlfriend and be more of a burden.  But some people need to be forty-four and burdened with children of their own before they catch the clues of the universe instead of head-butting them. I refuse to be drawn in and will send a baby gift when the time arrives and coo at appropriate times.

Family is like too much curry though. Spicy eventually numbs and dampens the appetite.

Despite the scary success of the holiday, I am ready for it to be over.

In the word’s of Bilbo Baggins, “Don’t adventures ever end?”

Last night in the quiet of what will be our awesome new living, I told Rob,

“Next year – no big family things at our house.”

I want the neutral corner.

One thought on “Christmastime

  1. congratulations! navigating the family/holiday gauntlet is tough enough, but when hosting guests? definitely a ‘feat of strength’!

    your description of the family conversations – never, ever letting go of old wrongs – is why i can’t stand being around most of my extended family. just five hours of it this year, and hearing the same old tales of historical grievances and ancient wrongs – and the ever-popular “Bashing of the Exes” – made me want to scream.

    at least my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and 10 year old nephew were able to hold conversations about things OTHER than “he/she done did me wrong”…

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