My mother left today; all-in-all it was a successful holiday. We have a tough time together but I have learned to cope with humor. Margaret Cho made a whole career out of talking about her dysfunctional relationship with her mom. I’m going to need some distance before I can start seeing this Christmas as funny, but I will eventually. But she gave me lots of good material! I’ll throw you a bone with the first zinger she got in, not five minutes after arriving.
“You look slim. I’m surprised because you look heavy in your pictures.”
Deep, cleansing breaths. Ohhhhhhhhmmmmmmmm……
I have a lot of brain damage around the holidays. My folks split up when I was in the second grade which in-and-of-itself wasn’t that bad. I do not have a single memory of them showing any affection for each other. Not one. Nada. Zip. When they decided to give up on the martyrmony, I wasn’t that upset. Even a seven year-old knows when people aren’t happy. What I didn’t like was how I became a conduit for communication between my mom and dad. If the internet is good for only one thing, it is a way for estranged couples to communicate without getting the kids involved.
Holidays were the worst. My mom moved us to California and I lived with her during the school year and alternated holidays with my dad. About two months before Thanksgiving/Christmas/Spring Break my dad would ask me to ask my mother what the dates of the upcoming break were. This was back when the only way to get a good price on airline tickets was to buy well in advance. I would work up the nerve to gingerly bring up the question and she would fly off the handle about How the hell should she know? It’s months away! It’s totally unreasonable to ask her this so soon! Your father is so X, Y, Z! etc. Then I’d have to tell my dad that she was freaking out and he’d freak out about needing to buy the tickets soon and I was all of seven years-old and totally ill-equipped to deal with this kind of adult bullshit.
To my father’s credit, he never said one bad thing about my mom. He didn’t even use the conflict to his advantage in a good-cop bad-cop kind of way. I think he just felt sorry for me. But to this day I don’t like holidays. I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad about it. Being a parent now, I see how everyone tries as hard as they can. No one wakes up in the morning dreaming up ways to fuck their kids up or ruin the holidays. Being grown-up totally sucks, you don’t get to wallow in your bummer situation when you’ve got little kids running around, but sometimes things come out sideways. Knowing this didn’t stop me from wanting to get the Christmas stuff the fuck out of here the second I dropped my mom off at the airport, though.
I have some gorgeous Christmas balls that my great-grandmother made. I lost several in the fire but my mom, dad and aunt were great about helping me rebuilt my collection. I addition to these wonderful antiques, I have some truly craptastic shit that I decided to not box up. I’m sure they will make for one hell of a found-item art piece.
Antique Christmas balls my Great Grandmother Annie made. They are the only reason I like having a tree. You can’t have them.
More kids games and puzzles.
This is supposed to be one of those 15-games-in-1 sets but is just crappy. I got it from Target last year thinking it was a good buy. Lonny shamed me the next day by finding a gorgeous hardwood checker/chess/backgammon set at a thrift store for $2.
These are microscopic playing pieces. As if.