Yes, my timing is rather late. It’s taken probably this long to recover.
Also, I see that my sentiments about Madison Avenue and the advertising blitzkrieg aren’t unique:
but “Hallowthanksmas”, no matter how many people repeat it, just doesn’t roll off the tongue. Go ahead, say it. There’s just too much of a stop between “thanks” and “mas”, right? But “thank-a-mas”… well, you can rap or sing it.
But aside from the pressure to “BUY BUY BUY”, I’ll admit that a holiday dinner on my side of the family is pretty consistent. My senile maternal grandmother takes up the first two:
- Talks incessantly about how fat Cimmorene and I have gotten
- Fights my parents for the right to clean up the dishes, and won’t be content to sit down
and then the third generation (my children, nieces, nephews) usually bangs on the spinet piano and make a thorough mess of the toys that are set aside for them.
Normally, we would go to the in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner, but the doctors found cancer in my father-in-law again, and this time, in a part of his body they hadn’t removed yet. So my dear mother-in-law was beside herself, and told all her children to “go make their own traditions.”
I didn’t accept that for a while, because I thought maybe we wouldn’t have a place to go (and I wasn’t ready to cook a big holiday dinner again, although we hosted the in-laws last year).
At almost the last minute, my father said we could come to their place. He said they’d split days to reduce chaos. We would come on Thursday while my sister hosted her in-laws at their place, as they were unable to do a dinner themselves. Then she would come on Friday. This was a good thing; three children with autism and a preteen all in one medium-sized house had been a recipe for cacophony. Plus, I had been giving my sister
the silent treatment a LOT of space; she gets mean when she’s overwhelmed and our relationship has just been seriously strained for a number of years. Cutting the noise and disruption was partly for my grandparents; although my grandfather is about as deaf as a post, neither he nor my grandmother can stand too much raucousness from a handful of children. He’s 91 and she hit 90 a few days ago (on the 3rd), if I remember right.
Cimmy took it on herself to boob-block my grandmother a few years back. She sits with her and coaxes her to chat, so she’ll eventually forget about cleaning up and getting in the way of those actually getting it done. She takes all of my grandmother’s dementia and Alzheimer’s-riddled behavior in great stride as she’d seen this in her own grandmothers, and although she privately wept at the thought of revisiting it all, she usually recounted all of Grandma’s behaviors as things she recognized and understood. She decided to ignore the critical things Grandma recited like a broken record, and tried to help me as I have not yet been ready to do the same.
She also recognizes Parkinson’s symptoms, which helps her a little bit to deal with my mother.
But this year Cimmy outdid herself to ingratiate herself to my grandparents, taking time to apply lotion to her hands, and also giving Grandpa a back rub. Surprisingly, he was pretty quiet this year, and didn’t dish out much criticism as he would in years past. I was actually surprised that he answered the door when we arrived and seemed glad to see us.
It does help that Grandpa took a real shine to Boy. He seems ecstatic to have a great-grandson that’s so wildly active (and I think he secretly hopes Boy will be sporty), although I wish he’d share that enthusiasm for my nephew (eldest son of the sister I mentioned previously; I have another nephew by way of my youngest sister, now).
The last day of November, last Sunday, Mom called me to say that my grandparents had left for home and were quite vocal in saying what a good time they had, and that they were glad to see us.
Well, doesn’t that beat all. They’re old and crotchety enough not to acknowledge how irritated I was at times.
I’ll have some posts down the line, dear readers, about how the lovely Athena Moberg and Bobbi Parish have been teaching survivors how to deal with the holidays. So, round 2 of Happy Hallowthankamas is done… now it’s on to Christmas.
May the Powers That Be have mercy on me.