Another Christmas in The Park

This year?  The Girl won the “Over-Under” bet. 

It’s become a bit of a tradition that we do a little friendly wagering as we travel south to spend our requisite “holiday time” in The Park.  This year, the wager centered on my ridiculously self-absorbed sister, S:  “How long – from the time she and i are in the room together – until she mentions the need for us to talk more?”  Anything relating to “sisterly talks”, “more time together” or the like..

The Boy picked 20 minutes, with The Girl calling “Over”.  Once i offered a prize to the winner – a Mom “ShutTheFuckUp” (STFU) card* – they reconsidered their positions, taking the competition much more seriously, yet held firm.  His logic?  S would launch into it from the very start, or wait until the late-afternoon “good byes”.  About a 50/50 shot.  But it wasn’t until we were all packing up to go that she descended into a drawn out,  banal monologue about our need to “really talk more this year”…

The visit wasn’t all that bad.  At first.  It was at the home of my brother, T, and his wife, K.  They’d generously offered to host us all on the 26th, to avoid the frenetic Christmas Day trooping from place to place that happens to folks who have many grandparents – not to mention multiple sets of parents – in the same town.   i ate some cookies, and wandered off to play Wii cow racing with my 5 year old nephew, Little T**. 

Other than my recent bout of verbal diarrhea, the drama this year was around my brother and his family.  This was also the topic that set me off during the Thanksgiving event… T and his wife are happy.  They are doing well.  They live within their means.  K is his third wife, and she just happens to be a little younger than his two daughters from his first marriage.  And their son, Little T, is younger than Ts three grandchildren from those first daughters.  Yeah, you kinda need a white board to diagram this, but hang with me, here…  T also has three teenage boys from his second marriage.  That’s six children, for those of you keeping score at home.

Mom, S, and my niece, DQ, like to rant about the fact that T and K rarely come around, call, or join in any drama games participate in family events.  i’ve spent a bit of time with T and K, and it makes sense to me.  They have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps financially – and have been frustrated seeing Mom and S repeatedly underwrite the financial irresponsibility of DQ and her clan…  They have no use for the drama.  Never mind that Mom is a complete buzzkill – has nothing positive or pleasant to say about anyone or anything.  Whenever they do come around? All they hear is “You never come around”.  Doesn’t really make for a good time…  i completely understand why they are a bit scarce…

We haven’t seen T’s three boys for about 2 years.  His second ex-wife became a born-again christian after she remarried, and home-schooled the boys.  Recognizing the threat that our heathen family presented, she wasn’t particularly accommodating about holiday visits.  This year, since the oldest boy has his drivers license, they were able to escape for the afternoon to visit with our family.

Awkwardness for the boys, for sure, but there were moments to chat, catch up, and reconnect a little.  But as they were packing up to leave because the oldest son had to get to work?  Mom started to lecture them.  Informed them that she didn’t even recognize them when she arrived since it had been so long since she’d seen them***.  Told them “you avoid us by choice.  YOUR choice…”.  S couldn’t resist the opportunity to pile on.  Reminded A, the youngest of the three, that she’d seen him at a hair salon a few months ago, and said to him then that he looked just like one of her nephews she hadn’t seen in ages…

i was mortified.  “Happy Fucking Holidays, Boys!  Come back and see us real soon!  We’ll make you squirm and twist…”

Immediately started packing up, giving my kids the signal “we’re outta here before i pop a cork”, and we made our escape – but not before S got in her unnecessarily long-winded “we’re going to spend more time together this year” speech…  After about 10 minutes of that, with my brother echoing like a greek chorus “yes, we’re going to do it”, my sister-in-law, K, shut it down quite nicely with “Great!  Enough talking about it.  Let’s just do it…”. 

i’ll show up.  i’ll be nice.  i’ll show up.  i’ll be nice.  i’ll bring jello shots.  i’ll show up.  i’ll be nice.  i’ll keep my mouth shut.  i’ll be nice.  i’ll show up….

must. up. medication.

must. increase. medication.

* The winner of the coveted STFU award can throw it back at me in the future when i’m tearing their sorry asses apart providing motherly guidance without taking a breath.  The STFU block only lasts for five minutes, but this is considered a nifty gift on occasion. Upon winning?  The Girl asked if she could re-gift it to The Boy, as he seems to be the more frequent target of my tirades… He recommended that she hang onto it.  With her return to the country, she was just as likely to need it…

** No, i certainly did not let him win.  Makes ’em tough, and prepares them for the real world.  “You gotta hit the scarecrows, or you’ll never score enough points to beat me!”  He was cool about it…

*** Couldn’t have anything to do with her eyesight?  Cataracts, macular degeneration?  Naw…. couldn’t be that…

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11 thoughts on “Another Christmas in The Park

  1. Wow. My head hurts just trying to keep all the letters straight. But I think I followed along nicely, and things still sucked ass.

    Par for the course? Sounds like it.

    My condolences . . .

  2. My grandmother used to do that. We go to visit and she’d start bitching and moaning about how we never came to see her. I finally said one day, “Grandma, you could come see us, too!” and that actually shut her up about it for the rest of the visit. Don’t get me wrong, I loved her dearly, but she could sure be a downer sometimes.

    I liked your tag “needlessly tormenting children.” Sometimes your tags are almost as good as your posts.

  3. tysdaddy – it’s a bit confusing, and i’ve grown up with these folks! the primary purpose of my blog is to work through issues with my extended family – the other stuff i post? filler, until my head clears enough to hoark up another family jewel… “mom’s bitter. she’s 80. i can’t change that.” repeat mantra as necessary…

    annie – gave the boys hugs on the way out the door. told them it was great seeing them, and perhaps we could get together for a smaller group gathering some day… (sigh) it’s just so unnecessary to bash people like this. and they’re oblivious to it…

    unbearable banishment – yes. anger. sorry to spew it outward, but it was eating my brain. it’s unnecessary. this may be the year i start calling them out for it – a little ‘cognitive therapy’ style? “when you say shit like this? it makes me feel sad. as a result? i want to whack you with the stupid stick and never see you again for the rest of my life.” you know. just the standard stuff…

    beth – i have explained to mom repeatedly that the phone is a two-way device. she only calls my brother when some electronic thingie isn’t working – and she expects him to drop what he’s doing immediately to come over to do the repairs. i’m (hopefully) going to remember this should i become a cranky old lady – and will modify my behavior accordingly….

  4. daisyfae, just sit down with a nice long drink and contemplate all the great sex you’re gonna get in 2009. that should cheer you up. and you also won 2nd prize in my contest, you adorable little docking station you xx

  5. tigereyesal – thanks. and it’s not really the worst thing in the world – there are families that are much worse. but, as always, mine can push all my buttons. because they installed most of them…

    silverstar – they are just clueless about the impact of what they way and do… zero empathy. 100% sociopathic. at least i roll on a situationally dependent sliding scale…

    nursemyra – i won second place? woo hoo! i’m goin’ to Sizzler! yippee! she said i’m adorable…. I’M ADORABLE!

  6. I laughed all the way through this one. I’m kind of glad I don’t have those sorts of “adventures” anymore…

    Was the best part being able to leave and go home?

  7. rob – [grinning] see the next post! it really clouds my brain, but i think we’ve developed some healthy coping strategies. i truly love these people – sometimes wonder why. i will wait for a reasonable moment to have a little chat with Momma about being a miserable, bitter, bitch developing a more positive outlook… but doubt it will make a difference.

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