Merry Fucking Christmas


I think cynical Christmas posts are a genre unto themselves. Today I read a particularly good one from Moneypenny which pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about the holiday.

Moneypenny's illustration. I hope she doesn't mind. Now that I asked permission or anything.

Moneypenny’s illustration. I hope she doesn’t mind. Not that I asked permission or anything. Read her blog. You’ll laugh.

I am poised to add to the genre but I thought I would check out my archives just to see what I put up last year on Christmas.

Apparently I was riding some kind of post-purging high from having gone through the under-sink cabinet in my bathroom. It doesn’t take much to get me off.

Then there were the usual platitudes about love and family and blah blah blah.

This year I am feeling deflated.

Testiclese with Chicky (Tabby is in the UK for two weeks and our trip to the park-and-ride is fodder for another day). He and Chick look like pan handlers. I'd give him money.

Testiclese with Chicky (Tabby is in the UK for two weeks and our trip to the park-and-ride is fodder for another day). He and Chick look like pan handlers. I’d give him money.

We didn’t put up our tree because That Fucking Cat would have destroyed it. Aside from dusting off the Advent Calendar which Testiclese insists on calling  the “Aardvark” calendar, there’s nothing.

No lights, no wreaths, nothing. I’m a little mad at myself for it.

These folks are mocking me. I know it.

These folks are mocking me. I know it.

When I walked into Stacked’s house today and there was Christmas stuff everywhere, and she was so psyched to have her house decked out, I wanted a little of that crazy sauce she was drinking. Sometimes it’s fun to go with it.

cocktails

I can decorate the porch and put up a tree, but I don’t love it the way Stacked does.

I’m all about celebrations, but more of the everyday, spur-of-the-moment variety.

The proscribed date holidays are harder for me to get behind for some reason. Perhaps I suffer from performance anxiety. It sucks when you ruin Christmas and it will be logged in your (and your children’s) memories of Christmas’s past forever.

But if a last-minute dinner party turns out meh, no one is going to remember it outside of a week.

all-your-fault-black

I look at her kid in the midst of making snowflakes and writing letters to Santa and I think, what a lucky kid.

Here’s the other thing. I am estranged from my mother and Christmas last year was the last time I saw her. I think about it every day, holiday season or not.

My dear mother-in-law, innocently making conversation, forgets that asking about my mother elicits awkward answers like, “I don’t know how she is. She doesn’t want to talk to me.”

But maybe she does? Maybe she told me that I am dead to her and she wants no contact, but really she wants me to grovel and beg. Maybe she is sitting by the phone waiting for my call, just like I waited for hers when Boulder was making national news about the flooding and deaths, or on my children’s birthdays.

Is this yet another test that I am failing? Is there ever a test I can pass?

This is Blue blocking my dear MIL. His purpose in life is to keep people in their place, wherever he deems that to be.

This is Blue blocking my sweet MIL. His purpose in life is to keep people in their place, wherever he deems that to be.

Then my kids jump in and want details (and I have very tenderly tried to explain to them that none of this has anything to do with them) but suddenly I’m feeling very surrounded.

And very bad.

All the self-doubts come back. Should I try harder? Should I force my way in? Should I accept all the disfunction for the sake of having an intact family? Maybe her normal is fighting, maybe that’s her language of love even though it wounds me to the core. Should I sacrifice my sanity and just let her have her way even if it eats me up inside? How would I feel if it were my children?

(I don’t really want any advice here, especially if you had a great relationship with a perfect mom but tragically she has died and you’d do anything to get another day with her. You, I don’t want to hear from because you don’t get it. Unless you’ve met my mom and totally get it.)

mommy-guilt

I don’t know what’s worse, being estranged, or not being estranged and disappointed/angry/hurt/rejected/criticized all the time. But at least I’d be able to answer the, “So, what’s your mom up to?” question without sounding like a fucking asshole.

Truly at Catch-22.

So my MIL is here and I’m feeling bad that we aren’t more Christmasy but I figure she’s here to see the boys. The problem is the boys are into their own thing so I picked up some DIY crafts that I hoped would buy me some free time and maybe a little QT with grandma as they work on the projects together.

The first one was a repeat of a craft Harmy brought over for Thanksgiving. It’s that black paper where you scratch off the coating to reveal a colorful background. Very cool and they loved it over Thanksgiving. In fact, they were begging me to get some more sheets.

shopping

This time around they were all lame about it. They decided it would be fun to scratch ALL the black stuff off to see what’s behind it.

Deep cleansing breaths.

“Boys, it shows you on the package. See?”

“But we want to see for ourselves,” while showering the counter with little black poopies that grind into the wood and look like coal smudges.

5294914779_a0ee4db202

Fail.

Then I got them this chameleon toy making thing which was “Eco” because you are reusing a plastic bottle but we didn’t have the right size because we don’t buy water or soft drinks so we ended up scouring the recycling bins in the alley only to turn up dry.
Not what I had in mind when I got this craft.

Not what I had in mind when I got this craft.

Good news, I had a bag of batting in the basement (good thing I didn’t get rid of that, but I sure did think about it). The problem is the kit was complicated that I had to be involved at all stages and even I screwed up a few times. Me. I make my own clothes for crying out loud.
I made these.

I made these.

Scrotus is the type to get all huffy about the needle being all weird so he can’t possibly do it and drops it on the floor in a bratty fit of impotent rage.

I’m trying really hard to not react and just say, “Perhaps you need to take a break. You sound frustrated and that’s not a good time to be effective.”

But what I really want to say is, “Pick that fucking thing up off the floor and try, goddamnit! Quit giving up all the fucking time! You will get NOWHERE in life being such a pussy. Oh, it’s hard? BUCK UP!”

Jesus. That’s some brain damage right there. That, incidentally, is my usual inner monologue to myself.

craft-fail

But I can’t say that. So I take a deep cleansing breath and a Lorazepam and things got much better. This project was a fucking beast. It served me right. 

Oh hell. I suck. I gotta go.

14 thoughts on “Merry Fucking Christmas

  1. Dear Viv, I feel your Christmas angst. I have almost the same situation as you. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Your kids will be fine!! Thank God they have another grandmother who appears to be a great one. Blessings to you and your family, year-round! Take in the love around you and experience that and nothing else. :-))

    • Thank you, Andrea. I’m sorry you are in a similar situation, for everyone’s sake. I feel for my mother, I just don’t know how to make it work. I’ve tried for 41 years with everything I have.

      I hope she has found peace in her decision. It is more peaceful around here, conflicted as that peace may be.

      I am fortunate to have such a lovely extended family. My father is very present, his wife is a dream and my in-laws are more than I could ever ask for.

      Best wishes to you this holiday.

  2. I feel your pain Viv, I’m estranged from my mother too only difference is it’s my choice. She’s tried to worm her way back in and I won’t let her. I just can’t deal with her craziness. Christmas depresses me every year too, this year no exception. I was in the hospital for nearly a week, I’m still mostly stuck in bed recovering from the surgery, and no money to get gifts anyway cause for the last 3 years in a row, this year counting, the asshat at my ex’s job who does payroll always mails the December child support check in late, so I always get it like a week to a week and a half later then I normally would any other month of the year. This year I got it yesterday. But I still can’t go shopping after the holiday to get their stuff cause I’d need somebody to drive me a ride, somebody to push the wheelchair cause I can’t do a lot of walking. The incision is healing fairly well but I have massive swelling in my abdomen that makes it hard to do nearly everything. The Dr said the swelling is normal and should go away within a couple months but in the meantime I’m miserable.

    Well I didn’t mean to go on about my problems.

    • When it rains, it pours, doesn’t it.

      Did you end up back in the hospital? I hope not. Are your, er, bowels moving properly? You are on a lot of painkillers I imagine and it can really mess with your digestion which can cause debilitating bloating. Please keep track of that.

      The normal swelling is horrible, though. I was remembering googling “botched tummy tucks” because mine was so lumpy and swollen and ugly.

      Hang in there and don’t put additional stress on yourself to buy presents. My boys are pretty small but they adjusted their expectations about this Christmas to accommodate getting just few things from their grandparents and one gift each from me.

      Kids don’t need the giant pile like the retailers lead us to believe.

      • I have gone to the ER once, was worried about infection, they put me on a heavy dose of antibiotic for a week. Have seen the wound care nurse twice now, Will be going back in in a couple weeks to see her and the surgeon again. I’m not on pain killers anymore, ran out. But I’m not really in pain, at least the incision doesn’t hurt me. The swelling is quite uncomfortable but not really painful enough to need a prescription. And no, I have no problems going to the bathroom.

        I know my kids don’t need a pile of gifts and they don’t expect one either, but I would like to be able to get them at least 1 thing.

  3. Dear Viv and Melissa –
    Christmas, a time that should be about love, joy, and peace, is a difficult time for so many! My heart goes out to you and I hope that the other 364 days of the year are easier on your hearts and soul

  4. Dear Viv and Melissa –
    Christmas, a time that should be about love, joy, and peace, is a difficult time for so many! My heart goes out to you and I hope that the other 364 days of the year are easier on your hearts and minds.There is too much pressure around the holidays. Just love the people who choose to be in your lives every day and considere yourselves blessed! Also, here’s a quote that helps me tremendously when I’m down or feeling extra sorry for myself: Student says, “I am very discouraged. What should I do?” Master says, “Encourage others.”

  5. “Christmas, a time that should be about…” like what, exactly? All due respect, fellow correspondents, but really. Merry fucking Christmas to you too, Viv. Really.

  6. I believe in healthy estrangement. At our age, we get to choose who we want in our life and our kids’ lives (my hypothetical but nonexistent kids, your actual kids). It’s tempting to overthink this stuff around the holidays but we don’t have to fall into that trap just because it’s fucking Christmas/Solstice/whatever. Bad relationships are just like the rest of the stuff weighing us down, and as a great person says – time to cut the crap.

  7. Pingback: I Celebrate You | Vivienne's Process of Elimination

  8. Pingback: Maximum Productivity | Vivienne's Process of Elimination

  9. Pingback: Holidays are My Weakness | Vivienne's Process of Elimination

Really? No way.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s