Photo: I think that it’s a bit gauche to show what all Santa brought the boys for Christmas. I’ll say that the boys were treated very kindly, and that they are very loved. If you look closely, you’ll see a new toy piano for them. The musical gift that The Husband and I were debating over? Well… there you go. The house is full of music… sweet, sweet, toddler banging on the piano “music….”
Oh my dear reader, how are you? I missed you!
No, I’m serious! I got the blogging itch somewhere around Wednesday, and there are so many things that I want to write about! SO MUCH!
Let’s start with the simple and maybe we’ll prolong some stuff…
Let’s talk about Maryland, my Maryland… because that’s where I’ve been for a week. We had to go home because, as the title so announces, there are great expectations for the Christmas and The Family Must Be Pleased. So we stole away for a little time at home, and we were very excited for the “break” and to “get away” for a while.
Why do I type such silly things like, “I’m going to a museum” and “I’m going to knit and listen to music” like a big, fat fool? Don’t let me type those things, reader!
I got sick during our trip.
Remember all of those illnesses I dodged all year long? The Hand, Foot and Mouth? The sniffles? The big cold with the horrible cough that all the boys got? Non-parent readers should probably be let in on the secret: One of the mommy super-powers is the ability to just tell your body that you cannot get sick. Just, nope. Not this one. Not gettin’ sick. And if your body is well trained, it will listen. Unfortunately, it would seem, there is a limit to how long that lasts. For me, I think what happened was that I allowed myself to get to Maryland and actually relax, and my body just let the flood gates over.
Throat on fire.
Lost my voice.
PINK EYE!? Come on! That’s just gratuitous…
But, as I said, The Family Must Be Pleased, so I needed to drug it up (Advil only because blood pressure), perk it up, put on the smile and keep it moving.
I know that I shouldn’t complain. It is really wonderful, actually, that we are loved by so many people and they all want to spend time with us. Unfortunately, the downside is that it puts a lot of pressure on our trips down south. Everyone is in the same metro area, but in different parts that are always, seemingly, an hour away from wherever we are. We do our best to accommodate. So yes, I did drive for an extra hour each way to Baltimore so that my Uncles could get exclusive time with the boys. Yes, I gave my grandmother an exclusive morning with the boys the day after Christmas. An exclusive afternoon with my aunt? Sure. Lunch with a family friend? On it.
We do this because it’s the right thing to do. The expectation is that we’re the ones who choose to live far away, so we should make ourselves available for people. After all, “think of all of the times when, for some reason or another, these folk went out of their way to do something for you?” (That’s my mother, scolding me for complaining about it the week before we drove down.)
What gets annoying is when folks ask for a little bit of extra time or they have decided to be vocal about not getting enough time. Most people are cool and understanding. Others…
Case in point? My Father.
We always see Father on Christmas Eve. At first, we would drive down 95 to Northern Virginia to see him at his place, but that became too much a few years go. He’s an hour drive from my in-laws’ house in Maryland on a good day, but DC area traffic has become so horrible now that it’s more like 90 minutes. It’s just… too much. So we’ve been meeting at my favorite Mexican restaurant on our side of the Beltway on Christmas Eve instead. We’ve been eating at this restaurant for over twenty years now (imagine two little girls ordering tacos and Shirley Temples like we were somebodies), and their lobster fajitas are just to die for. Seriously. Worth the eight-hour drive from Massachusetts. Must eat.
Usually, after lunch with Father, we head over to Prince George’s County to hang out with his side of the family to see the cousins and assorted related folk. I only see my Father’s side of the family once a year, which is, frankly, enough. This year, however, there was some scheduling with church and my in-laws that made us have to skip it. I told everyone who needed to know that we weren’t going to make it this year but we’d make the next family event in the summer.
On Tuesday night, while my throat was on fire and I was knitting in an attempt to ignore it, I got this text from my Father. Verbatim:
Father: “Hey. Are you going to go to [aunt’s] house like you did last time?” (As in last year, for the Christmas Eve gathering/gift exchange?)
Me: “Nope. I told you this last week. I told her too.”
Father: “Just a thought. If you want your boys to have that feeling of family with the other children of their generation, you may want them to spend time together. That would be good on both sides.”
I may or may not have audibly dropped the F-bomb in my in-law’s living room. I couldn’t help myself. Who the fuck sends a text like that? Who the fuck is he kidding?
The Holidays and Weddings, I swear, bring out the worst in families. I don’t know what it is about these two things that make people just a little over-the-top crazy, but they do. In the case of my Father and this stupid text, it’s particularly ridiculous because, first, there aren’t a lot of kids in the boys’ “generation” to begin with and, second, I know that it isn’t really about the boys playing with other kids, but the boys playing with his kids and maybe seeing him as well. And I’ll remind new-comers to the blog: My father has a 10 year-old and an 18 month-old. My half brothers. The boys’ uncles. Don’t talk to me of generations up in here!
There is also that fun thing about the cousin on that side of the family who married the afro-centric dude who won’t touch me or look me in the eye because I married a White man. “You chose to forsake your identity. How could you betray yourself and your ancestors like that?”
My next text: “Please don’t do this. Please. It is hard enough.”
And now you know just how sick I was. Totally different words would have been used if I’d been totally up to snuff.
I told my husband the next morning that if Father brought that nonsense up and made a big deal about it, lunch might be the last time I’d speak with him for a good long time.
He didn’t. Thank God.
But he did marvel at Ursa Minor and his younger uncle playing cars together on the restaurant floor. I don’t know if I have an eloquence to describe my feelings as I watched, but I will say that there was a sense of unease. Father just… he doesn’t get it. Or maybe he does, and he doesn’t care? Or maybe I’m just a Millennial who doesn’t know anything…
I have so much more to write. I’ll save it for Wednesday. You’re gonna wanna tune in for it because… we stopped by the Brother-in-law’s house on the way home from Christmas and… oh my God. Oh my God.
I can’t even wait.
I missed you. I’m so happy to be back! I hope that you had a wonderful holiday!