Maybe I’m not a big holiday person because holidays equate with families and I’m not really a family person. Yes, I know (and believe) family can mean many different things, but when it comes to holidays that’s generally the blood-related family time. I saw some of my family at Thanksgiving so we’re staying local for Christmas and we’ll spend tomorrow with my fiance’s family. Most of my holiday memories involve yelling, feeling uncomfortable, and that feeling of sitting on pins and needles. I’ve long established that my mom is a terror, but so is her sister and their mother. The holidays for a long whole meant bringing all 3 of them together and it was just horrific, carnage everywhere.
The mental and emotional trauma of these days will never really be something I think I can totally heal from. From little things like being forced to eat fish on Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s house before we could open presents to explosive fights over stuffing at Thanksgiving that resulted in my mom kicking my Aunt and her family out of the house before dinner and then her throwing most of the food she made away while my sister, Dad and I just sat shell-shocked and yet not totally surprised. My “traditional” holiday task since I turned 18 has been buying my mom cigarettes – Capri ultralights. Mom never lets me drive her car, except to buy her cigarettes. One year I found a local Turkey Trot a few towns over and wanted to run it with my sister, but my mom refused to let me drive her car. I knew there was no winning because she likes to keep control over the few things she has control over, but still, it was a big fight that year. When I was home for Christmas last year fetching her cigarettes was the last request I fulfilled for her – in my car because I can no longer stand to be there without a clear escape option.
My adult years involve finding alcohol my mom hid around the house and trying to dump enough of it that wouldn’t result in me getting lashed out at. I also often spend the holidays get slurred at from my mom about “when does she get to be Grandma,” meaning when does someone else host Christmas since my Grandmother stopped hosting holidays after my Grandpa died when I was 12. For the record, I would LOVE to host a holiday and have offered, but that would involve my mom coming to my house. Which means leaving Long Island and being in a car for more than 40 minutes which are all things she doesn’t do. She came up to my grad school graduation in eastern Connecticut for the day with my grandma in 2007. That’s the last time she traveled for me and she constantly reminded me of what a taxing request it was for her to drive 2.5 hours each way. Aside from that, she hasn’t seen a place where I lived since I was a freshman in college, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.
Social media makes this time of year especially painful because sometimes I like to imagine all families are as broken and dysfunctional as mine, but then I see pictures of family game nights, family Christmas pajama parties, family hat parades, and more. It breaks my heart every single year and yet like a car accident I can’t look away. I get kicked while I’m down during the holidays thanks to the TimeHop app. Here’s a random sample of what popped up today – Christmas Eve:
- 2017: Pictures of cute Pomeranians on Instagram is my only drug option to keep me sane while at my mom’s house #hour2
- 2011: Nothing says Christmas like family members screaming at each other on the top of their lungs #crazyfamily
- 2010: Running errands with my sister AKA getting away from my mom for a few hours
- 2010: Traditional Christmas yelling is on full effect
- 2009: True life my mom made me curse in church because she is a crazy biotch
If this is the stuff I felt comfortable posting – crying for help – via twitter or other social media you can only imagine what I didn’t post. In reflecting on horrible holidays what does it say that Thanksgiving 2007 doesn’t even crack the top 5 of horrible? Let me remind you my Dad died unexpectedly the Sunday before Thanksgiving that year and his wake and funeral were the 2 days after Thanksgiving. Yet I truthfully have had worst holidays. Bah Humbug feels like an appropriate way to end this post.