“So, Are You Going Stick With Your Blog, Anna?”
Man, I fucking hate the holidays.
I realize this is so tired to say this, but sometimes life requires that you be tired. Because the only thing you can write is just so damn tired.
Every year, after the holidays, I am faced with an annual quandary: do I go ahead let loose — use this forum as a means of verbally shitting upon the members of my extended family for the things they have said/done to me that have hurt my feelings (this year)? Or do I, once again, try to be the bigger person, and just wax philosophical in vague terms about the nature of families of origin and how they reconfigure as we age, and how we must endeavor to move beyond the limitations they may project upon us, often against our will?
One of the surprises of parenthood for me has been discovering a heretofore nonexistent joy in Christmas through Mini. As usual, I can, through Mini, get a shot at enjoying things that were for some reason not accessible to me as a child (or else, that I don’t remember being enjoyable to me now). I do believe that, if I could isolate the time that I spend at Christmas with just Mr. Right-Click and Mini, and his excitement for leaving a cookies and milk out for Santa, and his wonder the next morning when the cookies are gone, and the cup of milk is mostly empty, I think maybe I could start to feel less homicidal about the concept of The Holidays in general.
(Because, yes, we are among those parents who still do “lie” to our child about the existence of Santa Claus, and magic robots, and pirates who are not terrorists, and mice who can talk and run successful amusement park franchises, and all of the other magic woven into the fabric of childhood. We do! And my guess is that we will keep on lying to him as long as he wants us to, probably long after he knows we are just big stinking liars who lie, if he’s anything like I was — long after he’s seen gifts “from Santa” in the back of my car, or figured out that Santa cannot possibly have the same wrapping paper as Mommy and Daddy, or that Santa does not insist on all of the packages being wrapped in either black and white or hot pink wrapping paper so that all of the packages match when they are under the tree. Because he is a smart kid. He will figure it out — I give him maybe two, three years tops. But he won’t want to let it go. Because Santa is a cool concept, and why would you want to give that gig up?)
But instead, after you get over the awesome, life-affirming, kid-related parts of The Holidays, you are stuck with The Bullshit part of The Holidays wherein all of the adults who are not drinking themselves into a numb oblivion seem dead-set on torturing each other. Why do we do it, year after year, I wonder? Why do we all go and visit these families, and then come home and say, “Oh, I’m so glad to be home. I barely made it.”
Lately, I’ve been wondering which is worse: is it worse to be estranged from a family member, or to be in contact with a family member but to treat them badly? So often people stay in touch with family members because they feel it is the right thing to do, and this is an impulse I understand. However, if the interactions between family members become increasingly detrimental to all parties, at what point do you decide that it’s better to cut your losses and walk away? Is it ever better to do this? I don’t know the answer to this question.
I spend my life oscillating between guilt over not doing enough and pain as a result of the little that I do. Both outcomes kind of suck.
The Holidays fucking suck.