We had our family Christmas celebration with my husband’s side of the family last night. I had no desire to go because I’m just not in the holiday spirit this year. Yesterday morning a memory popped up on Facebook of my mom from Christmas 2016 when we all met on Captiva Island. This was the last time I saw her for Christmas. I was already having a bad morning because I had slept weird and woke up with a sore neck. When I saw that picture, I burst into tears. I told my husband to go without me. Eventually, I just pulled myself together, put my make up on and went. Although I dreaded it all the way there.
I don’t always feel entirely comfortable around that side of the family. Sometimes I feel like they don’t like me. In the past few years, we haven’t attended the party because we have been on vacation. I know for a fact my in-laws get ticked off at us for traveling. I don’t know how the others feel about it. I feel like they think we are snooty. We travel during the holiday simply because we are only able to travel during school holidays, which are Christmas or spring break, and it’s nice to get away when it’s freezing cold in the winter. With my mom in Florida, we went down there when our daughter was four and we had the BEST time. It was so fun to sit outside and open presents and go to the beach. We had no idea what we were missing! We went again the following year, then we decided to meet one year in Key Largo and once in Captiva Island. Last year we went to Maui because we renewed our wedding vows. That trip had been planned for many years. This year we planned to stay home because it’s our last year in this house, although I’d rather be anywhere but here this year.
Anyhow, I always feel weird walking in the door. Like they are all thinking, “oh, they showed up this year”. I guess I shouldn’t be so self-conscious. I don’t give a shit what they think of me. As we walked in, a couple people hugged us, a few were too busy putting out the food. No one mentioned my mom, which was a relief, so I didn’t have to cry.
About an hour later, one of Jeff’s aunt’s arrived. She came right up to me and said how sorry she was about my mom and she started crying. She’s very sensitive and she has also lost her mom. We talked for several minutes and I teared up, but I didn’t all out cry. Thank goodness. It turns out that I actually did appreciate her saying something to me about my mom. I thought I was going to dread everyone bringing it up and making me cry, but Debbie was the only one who acknowledged her. She told me how she thought my mom was always so fun and so nice. I thought it was very kind of her to talk to me about it.
Much later in the evening, I was eating dinner with my father-in-law’s wife and a cousin. The cousin was talking about someone who has dementia, which has clearly gotten to a very bad state. I had missed part of the conversation and asked who it was and she said “Barb”. I said “oh, your mom?” She replied “yes, on paper”. She is adopted, but apparently feels she has been mistreated by her mom. I’ve known April for about 11 years and have never known her to dislike her mom. I know that her mom has irritated her a little, but not to the point of the way she was talking about her last night. She was spitting venom about her mother last night – saying she was the most awful person she has ever known and not even acknowledging her as her mother. I was thoroughly disgusted. I wonder where she would be if her parents hadn’t adopted her. She had a charmed childhood. Her parents are very wealthy. Her dad passed away a number of years ago, but left the family more than enough. Her mother bought them a condo when they first got married. She may have even bought them the house they currently live in, which is quite big. As she was talking, my wheels were spinning and my eyes were watering because I can never imagine myself saying those kinds of things about my mom. THEN, my father-in-laws wife tells April how she didn’t speak to her mom for 17 years. She said “not one phone call, visit, letter, etc”. Ugh! She said how everyone else thought she was the nicest person around, but “nope, she’s not”. She did ultimately reconcile with her mother and I’m sure she’s glad she did. I won’t say I never argued with my mom, or that I didn’t even go without talking to her for a month. But never longer than a month. We ALWAYS made up immediately.
Finally, I couldn’t listen to it anymore. I told April she needs to know that her mom doesn’t know what she’s saying if she has dementia. I told her she needs to forgive her because at some point she is just going to be gone before she knows it. I was crying and I walked away. I went and buried my face in my husband’s shoulder and told him I didn’t want to be there anymore. On the way home, we talked about this and he told me that in another room that night, someone else had asked April how her mom was doing. Her response was “I hope she dies tonight”. OMG! I have lost so much respect for someone I have always really liked. That girl is going to be so sorry when that sad day comes and her mom is gone. I already feel for her about the regret she is going to live with for the rest of her life.
I did manage to have some pleasant conversation with other family members. Although, I would have been just as happy to stay home and read my book. I woke up this morning and said thank you to God for helping me make it through. I don’t have to do it again until next year. Amen!