Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Holidays, Ugh

Holidays, ugh.*  I don't mean to go all Scrooge on you already.  I haven't even decorated for Christmas for christ's sake.  But that old familiar holiday anxiety is creeping in....as people start to talk about their joy of all things holiday, I start to get itchy and uncomfortable.

Halloween is pretty stress free, maybe that's why it seems to be getting bigger every year.  It's all about candy, costumes and fun.  No heavy religious/faith questions or family gatherings.
You must have known I would find a way to put a picture of me in the purple wig in again.

Halloween is about putting on a mask and pretending to be someone you aren't...oh wait that sounds a little like Thanksgiving.  Except of course the Thanksgiving mask is a smile. Waaaaah. Oh yeah, that's right, I went there.

Here is my question, are we supposed to be miserable on holidays because that is tradition?  Do we HAVE to see the family that makes us hate ourselves?  

Remembering some of my favorite Thanksgivings, they all involve spending the holiday with strangers.  Serving turkey at a homeless shelter, dinner with a friend who fed her pals who had no family in town, watching the Macy's parade on TV while on a trip to Amsterdam....the real common denominator for the happiness factor was no mother.

I love celebrating with strangers.  People with no expectations or emotional ammunition.  

Problem is, now I have this whole little family here that is looking to me to set the tone. "Why don't we visit Grammy?" the little Cindy Lou Who-like voices ask. 

When we get together with my mother (aka Grammy), my kids have this amazing compassion and intuition.  They embody acceptance.  My neck is full of knots and their arms are open and full of love.  Granted, they have been protected and shielded from any harsh words or attacks my mother could hurl their way. And they see her drug-induced slurring and falling asleep at the dinner table all as just a part of being old and sick.

Bottom line, when I am around my mother I cannot relax. Some people have advised me to go in with a positive attitude and let things roll off my back.  While that is a pleasant way to go about life, it just simply isn't possible for me.  There is too much history.  Too much pain.  It is just all too much. Too much.

I am willing to take care of my mother and help her live a life with dignity.  But holiday with her?  Not so sure I can handle it.  

But it's Thanksgiving, what do I do?  What do you think I will do?  Probably go, visit and be all itchy and uncomfortable.  Because isn't that what the holidays are all about?  Isn't it? Holidays, ugh.

*Holiday anxiety disclaimer--it is like a roller coaster and will rise and fall throughout the season.  But of course I find much joy in the holidays, how could I not with my four precious children? So no worries, not every post until Christmas will be holiday bashing.

This will be me on the way home from my holiday.  For reals.
"I know it. I get it. And I want in."


  1. I love this and I can really relate!!!!

    I've been reading every blog post but sometimes have a hard time commenting. I really enjoy and relate to a lot of what you say. Thanks!!!

    Beth larson (4 wks till baby girl arrives)

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