Much of the gossip at book club last night and at my volunteer stint at the Lutheran Third World Shop yesterday morning was about Holiday Family Drama and How It Gets Resolved (Or Not) Without Murder.
I have just recently been thrust into this sort of drama myself, being relatively newlywed. We did not have The Drama when I was a kid, probably because we never lived close enough to my grandparents for it to be an issue but also possibly because my family is sane.
My mom is one of seven children. She is on the far left holding one of her nieces in her lap.
Flying across the Atlantic just to spend Christmas with relatives was not an option. Driving from Texas to Wisconsin to spend Christmas with relatives was not an option. Flying from Texas to Wisconsin was not an option. We were not rich people.
We never heard the whine, "But you're abandoning us by not spending Christmas here." We spent a few weeks with our grandparents (and aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins and first cousins once removed and whatever other categories there are) every time my dad was PCS'd, which was every three or four years, and that was it.
Which reminds me that the military is missing out on a huge recruiting benefit: Join the military and avoid the hassle of deciding where to spend Christmas and Thanksgiving! Eliminate the manipulation and guilt! Sorry mom and dad. We're in Korea/Panama/Florida and can't get leave. We'll just have to have a peaceful family Christmas on our own.
But yes. I am learning that not everyone is like my parents, whose attitude was if you build it, they will come. That is, if people like being around you, they will want to come to your home and visit you. Sure, you can whine to get your children to come for Christmas, but do you really want to create that level of resentment in the people who will be choosing your nursing home?
My siblings and moi at our first Christmas in Spain. Notice the lack of teeth. My mom made those cute dresses.
* A good friend will help you move the body
Photos courtesy of The Big Factotum