Is this thing on? Is it working?
Well, let’s give it a try anyway, and see how far we get.
It has not been Thanksgiving here in the UK. Nevertheless I have been very thankful – it was H’s birthday, and H loves me even though I gave him the same book Someone Else gave him last year, and that I recommended to Someone Else as a very good present for H, and that is and has been sitting in full view on the living-room book-shelf for a whole year. Oh, the burning humiliation, the fist-biting embarrassment.
This is pretty much a perfect illustration of the general state of play hereabouts. I am out of my tree. I am either concussed with insomnia, or having a headache, or fretting over work (which sucks big green poisonous bunnies right now), or studying, or wailing over the incompetence of the Malignant Satsuma of Hormonal Doom, or doing at least three of the above at once. It makes a girl frighteningly absent-minded.
The long, painful run-up to the holiday season has begun. Technically, in my family, it begins in September, when the first relation asks what we’re doing for Christmas, but H and I have a rule that we’re not to pay it any mind at all until after his birthday. Even with family nagging in droves. And every year they force us to spend entirely too much time considering Christmas plans and working out how to get from in-law to in-law without setting off any land-mines of resentment. Or depth-charges of depression, even. Christmas is a harsh time of year now. A few years ago my grandmother died just after New Year. Then, horribly, H’s aunt took her own life just before the next Christmas. And the next year, another aunt died of cancer. This year H’s grandfather died. How could H’s family not be sad at Christmas? And I don’t know what’s more painful – everyone weeping in separate rooms or everyone trying to be jolly for the sake of the children.
And my family are so multiply divorced now. Sister Trouble’s ex-husband Fucktard still lives next-door to Trouble and, for that matter, my mother and step-father, and will probably turn up for Christmas, as he is good friends with said step-father. Which boggles the mind. My actual Dad lives the Other End of Another Country, in the Official Middle of Nowhere, and he wouldn’t dream of asking us to stay for Christmas or New Year or his birthday, and he would be unutterably wounded if we didn’t try and haul our impoverished and car-free arses all the way over there.
As for the rest of my mother’s family, I at this very moment loathe them all, insensitive, interfering, judgemental, nosy old baggages that they are, and have been doing my level best to avoid them all year, which has apparantly caused Feelings.
Well, H and I have decided to hell with it, and we’re going to spend Christmas all by ourselves. We might even go to a fancy hotel and get someone else to peel the sprouts and wash up this time. H even cheerfully did all the announcing of this plan himself, and as my family at least Do Not Question The Wonderful H, I got to avoid worrying about it any more at all. Christmas alone. I am so very, very thankful.
Because I can’t, I simply can’t do it. I can’t explain again and again why I don’t have kids, why I had surgery this summer, why I’m still so amazingly fat, and yes, I had noticed, thank you, and why I don’t think homeopathy or colonic irrigation is going to help much and no, there is nothing wrong with H, it’s all me, OK? and can we talk about something else for fifteen minutes? And no, I am not now the family walking Dictionary of Gynecology and I am simply not going to diagnose my cousin based on what her mother thinks is wrong with her. And yes, yes yes yes, I do mind being childless. I mind it horribly. Remarks about Christmas not being the same without little kids about do not make me feel in the least bit more cheerful. Especially now that I can’t drink champagne without getting a violently sore mouth and throat and stomach (oh, but this sucks ass). Doesn’t anyone in this family get it?
Because, with the honourable exception of my Mother in Law, who said all the Right Things in our last conversation on the subject of my innards, which nearly reduced me to weepy gratitude, the Family doesn’t get it. Why the hell should they? They all have the kids they do or do not want.