This is how Christmas should be right? That beautiful tree, that warm fire, amazing decorations that can only be achieved once a year. That how we all envision Christmas, or how we should at least. Small children picture presents. Parents picture all the money it will cost. But in the end it’s all worth it right? Well, maybe for some of us. In actuality my christmas is not pictured anything like that.
Let’s pull the wool from over our holiday blinded eyes for a moment. I don’t know about the rest of you but for me the holidays in general are more about who can argue the loudest and who will break down this time than being thankful and enjoying family. To be honest, family is the problem. My family happens to be dominated by women. Loud, Italian/Cuban/Black women…and they are all painfully opinionated. They don’t compromise, they don’t know what an indoor voice is, and 90% of the time they can’t stand each other. But this is my family…or my mother and grandmother to be more precise.
I’m not saying it’s all bad, I’m just saying when I picture the holidays, on top of wondering how I’m going to afford a present for everyone, I wonder how I’m going to survive. This year will be a little different though. My older sister who usually helps by standing by my side and reminding me that we aren’t too much like the matriarchs, will not be by my side as long as I’d like (like leaving me alone with our mother wasn’t bad enough).No, she will be here Saturday and leaving me alone by Wednesday, it’s not really her fault I guess. She has to get back to work and obviously she can’t blow off her job. But I do wish she could stay. If only to remind me I’m still relatively sane. Here is the real thing about the holidays, when they come up my mother gets the very misguided idea that she is June Cleaver and she can do it all. That is sadly not the case, not at all in fact. In actuality she not even close to Mrs. Cleaver and she’d save us all if she would just remember that. She is however good at giving herself too much to do.
My mother starts her frantic holidays by inviting the neighborhood, plus some, over. Then she freaks out for days about what to cook. Then she decides on what to cook and complains about everyone who’s coming. After a good bit of complaining she worries about presents (which usually end up money and makeup, with a few knickknacks in between). After presents she feels the need to constantly remind us that we should remember how lucky we are, and that we are terrible little human beings. When my grandmother comes to town the real fun starts. The last time she was here was for my graduation. Her first day in town she asked us if we ever suffered from itchy liberia (if you know what she really meant please don’t make me say it, if you don’t…ask a female friend) then offered an awkward abundance of topical cream to cure an itchy liberia.
At some point my grandmother mentions my younger sister’s weight, then mine, the my youngest sister’s weight (that’s right, mom had four girls). Then anybody else’s weight who gets too close to her radar. Then the alcohol comes out, and that’s usually a crap shoot, either people get happier or angrier. If it’s happier they laugh and talk and pass out. If it’s angrier…well bust out the gloves and maybe a hard hat, run for cover, and pray for mercy because nobody is safe so it’s better to stay out of the way and hope they knock each other out. But in the end somehow everyone still goes home happy, and alive. So maybe there is some magic in this old holiday after all. If a family like mine can get together every year and come out alive, and maybe even a little happy, there has got to be something special about this scary, confusing, loud, crazy, slightly special, holiday.
So…A MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOODNIGHT! Happy holidays guys, no matter what the holidays mean to you I hope they are always worth it.