Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday post, somewhat specific to these winter ones.

Holidays. Thanksgiving is done--phew. That's the easy one, and it's a 48 hour event between the MIL family, the FIL family, and then three hours south to visit my Grandma. It's been her "last Thanksgiving" since I was ten. At 96 years old--and still not dead, as she likes to remind us--she's still a pistol, even if her aim is slightly off these days.

My family's not huge on the holidays, or any of the obligatory Hallmark traditions, for that matter. Never did anything for Mother's Day or Father's Day. We didn't do birthdays either--well, nothing much besides a cake, and maybe a dollar. Dude, there were seven of us. Know what happens when there's seven kids in a family?

  • unidentifiable blue and green stains appear on the ceiling (it was slime from those $.25 cent vending machines at the grocery store--but what mom doesn't know...)

  • you learn to answer to at least six names other than your own

  • first hand mercantilism lessons: stash treats and cans of pop when the groceries are fresh, then sell them to each other when the cupboard supply depletes. I could hassle $1.50 for a can of cold Pepsi.

  • Your family mythology develops in social circles after years of stealing each other's stories and embellishing them with each retelling.

  • complete lack of memory--if not interest-- regarding who was born when, or what day the youngest was really born. Whoooole 'nother post.

  • gift-giving holidays, such as Christmas, fall by the wayside.

Don't get me wrong, we're some "gift-giving mofos" (my sister-in-law coined the phrase). It's just not reserved for standardized--and sometimes completely arbitrary--times of the year. I prefer this method. It means more to me to receive a gift because someone thought of me than because this is the year that everyone gets a shower gel basket for xmas.

Later in life, as we all got married off, we returned to our parents to thank them. Why? With in-laws, each of us finally understand what we'd been saved from all those years. As we'd pretty much managed to avoid them our entire lives, nothing prepared us for the intensity of the holidays. It's a lot of commercial pressure, awkward conversation, and fruitcake. Dear god, fruitcake. Saving grace of holidays with in-laws? Heavy wine and cigarette breaks. Now, just so you don't think I'm a total grinch I will throw in the Beeyotch disclaimer: *ahem* holidays are very warm times filled with lots of laughter; there are great gifts, great food and etc. What makes them even better? Heavy wine and cigarette breaks.

Herein lies my problem. These are my first sober holidays. Stir in raging pregnant-lady hormones and...yeah: dude, so not cool. And you know what else? Apparently they don't recommend valium for pregnant ladies. Or nitrous. Grr. On that note, send your warm thoughts to Floyd, who is enduring my full-fledged craziness.

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