Monday, November 20, 2006

Holiday time

Growing up, the holiday season (from just before thanksgiving, till after new year, and easter) were always pretty stressful. My parents divorced when I was young, so I got to do the Holiday shuffle. Every other major holiday, alternating yearly, and if you had me x-mas eve/x-mas morning one year, the other parent had me overnight the next. In the most part this wouldn't have been too bad, but I also had to see all the family, every year, and things never worked out as planned. I don't remember how old I was when people on my dad/step-mom's side quit demanding that I have a little something to eat at every get together, but I do remember, vividly, that it came about after vomiting rutebega stew over everyone after what I am fairly certain was my tenth meal in two days (on the eve I had two formal holiday dinners, two and a half hours apart, plus breakfast x-mas morning, plus food with my mom, plus food with my moms family, plus food with my dad's family, plus food with my step-mom's family, plus various and sundry meals sneaked in) My mom never pushed me to eat, but to this day I swear that my step mom believed I was lieing about being fed previous, and "If nothing else, eat a little bit so as not to offend anyone"
Until I was working, which was shortly before everything went to hell-in-a-handbasket with my Dad's family (the first time) I generally had my christmas broken into two hour increments, not including drive time, and felt like a burden to everyone. Meals and gift opening were scheduled around when I would be with who. I remember Step-mom freaking out if I happened to need 15 extra minutes with mom in the morning, but Step-mom had no problem dropping me off late, and blaming it on traffic. When I started working at the toy store, I was thrilled to work x-mas eve, and know that due to vehicles, I wouldn't have to be shuttled to quite so many places by Dad on x-mas day, when I was working at the gas-station the following year? Heaven! I could work all the holidays and not have to be there when Dad didn't call.

Now I have kids of my own, my mom and step-dad are awesome, as are the siblings, and I only have to deal with my family and the in-laws. Last year we only did half of the in-law celebrations (always x-mas eve) and it was liberating. I spent time with the people I wanted to, and had fun. My family's celebrations were hosted at my house, and were not nearly as stressful as I thought, I think a good time was had by all. This year, we have things worked out a litlle smoother yet, and even have time for friends x-mas day night. It is my driving goal to never have my sons feel anything but a sense of excitement and joy for the holidays, never to be dreading the fights, the backhanded comments, the stress ball that forms in your stomach and makes you ill, because if something doesn't go as planned, you'll have to overhear your step-mom bitch to your dad about how much better everything would have been if they didn't have to drive you over hell and highwater, or bitch about your mom dropping you off ten minutes late, when the food and gifts weren't ready yet anyways, and you were on the phone so what do you cere?, the arbitrary rules on sharing gifts (step-mom felt that if one child recieved money as a gift, that child(generally me) should share that gift with the other be fair, but the other kids always got more presents from step-mom and dad, so how was that fair? When an aunt on my dad's side found out what step-mom was doing, she chewed her out, and made a point of only giving me cash before I went back to my mom's)

I would like to take a moment to thank my mom for rarely talking shit about my dad infront of me during the holidays, for trying to make everything smooth and enjoyable, and for putting up with years of bullshit at the hand of the Evil Step-Momster, just to try and keep the peace. I was aware of some of what you did, and thank you. I would also like to take this moment to tell any divorced parents that I may have as readers-Please, do not bad-mouth your childrens parents in front of them EVER, especially not at christmas or thanksgiving dinner. Do not try to make your kids take sides in something that is already dificult for them, and please realize if you do act like a shithead-it is only hurting your child, and making you look bad-if your ex-spouse is hurt by anything you say/do, it is more than likely because you have upset your kid, and they cannot make it better. No one needs to know that you think their mom is a bad person, just because she divorced you current husband-a man, I might add, you wouldn't even have been able to marry had they not split up.

No comments: