|The Bataan Death March of Socialization
||[Dec. 31st, 2008|02:50 pm]
I realize that title may be offensive to people who suffered through or had relatives who were lost in that horrible event...but I doubt they're reading my blog and well, THERE'S a group of people I haven't offended yet. And I HAVE promised to offend everyone. |
I am all about equal opportunity abuse.
I made it through Christmas and it was a wonderful Christmas and for the first time ever, we arrived in Connecticut with all presents wrapped and all cookies baked. (Usually I have to beg some wrapping paper from Mom, or drag it along, and inevitably have to bake off some cookie doughs. Which I had thought would be a wonderful activity for family bonding, but turns out that baking cookies for a couple of hours with a constant harangue of "I don't know why you have to go to all of that trouble, really, as if we NEED cookies, we shouldn't be eating them anyway, ad infinitum" is not at all fun or relaxing.
It did mean that we left our tree undecorated, but since I firmly believe in, erm, well, let's just say that when I'm in a relationship, where that sort of stuff goes on, I like to finish up tree decorating in a nice pagan worshipful kind of way. And the "blessing" is best done at leisure, not as one more damn thing to tick off before packing the car.
It was great to see everyone and if the Captain had had it with my family and friends he did a fine job of not showing it. Not a bit.
But no matter how wonderful something is, I can usually find a way to bitch about it.
And to a certain extent I have to struggle. A near traffic-free drive up, not to bad on the way down. Snow when we arrived so it was all picturesque and pretty, but warming temperatures and rain, so we didn't freeze our butts off and well, as an owner of a geriatric wussydog, any delight I've taken in cold, ice, snow has been erased by the need to have taking the dog for a walk to not be a tortuous experience.
I'd thought our late arrival meant that we'd miss out on at least putting the lights on the tree (we do the German thing and decorate on Christmas Eve), but my Dad managed to get caught in traffic himself and it was left to the Captain and me to do the whole thing. Sigh. And it isn't a properly sized Christmas tree if my family doesn't have to cut a foot off the top just to get it in the house. But heavy applications of wine made the decorating go faster. And then it was the first socializing of the visit.
Five days later and quite frankly, I did feel as if I were on some grim deathmarch. If by "deathmarch" you mean sitting around making smalltalk, eating food that you're not even sure you want to eat, not because it's bad, but really four dozen christmas cookies, a half gallon of sour cream, three bags of tortilla chips and a hatload of guacamole starts to add up.
But it was eat food, or start chewing at my own flesh -- not out of boredom, or because I didn't want to be talking or visiting with these people, but...I need a certain amount of alone time and let me tell you, I was NOT getting it. Just a couple of hours with no one talking at me. At one point we wound up standing in a park, Devil's Hopyard (because Jesus' birthday is the PERFECT time for me to catch up with all my peeps) where there's a stunning waterfall and I swear, I could have stood next to it all day because the sound of running water drowned out all of the human voices.
So many people to talk to and visit with: relatives, neighbors, old friends, new friends, family members, townsfolk. Most of whom I wanted to see, but clearly I failed to pace myself. By Sunday I had a socialization hangover.
And of course, a severe case of Mom-wear. There's no doubt that she loves me. No doubt that I love her. Enjoy her company after a while. But, with socialization hangover in full swing, and being just a bit stressed out over life in general, I had little tolerance for:
"What are you wearing THAT scarf for? For heavens sake, you look like a Christmas tree!" I am 45 years old and my mother is STILL cutting on the clothes I wear. Daily. I am fashion-impaired. Get over it.
"I don't know why you have such a big dog. What you need is a small dog." I've had this dog for ten years. You said it the first year I had him and you've said it every year since then. When he dies, I will get another big dog. Enough already.
"Kielbasa? What's the big deal about Kielbasa? Who would go out of their way for..." this goes on for another four paragraphs but I'll spare you. I would. I love kielbasa. I live in an area where it's hard to get good kielbasa. I've now found what could be the best kielbasa ever and it's up there in CT. And I have a list of friends who watch my cats and house and belongings in exchange for that kielbasa. It's currency. And we go through this same song and dance every damn time I come up to CT. Can we just not talk about it anymore -- or at least, Mom, could you just accept that, if I have to have an addiction, this one is pretty mild.
"Well, I really wanted to get you a membership to a health club for Christmas, but I wasn't sure which one" and to this we can add all sorts of other potshots about eating and weight. Which I DESERVE, having put 20 pounds on in the past year and a half. However. When I showed up having lost those 20 pounds, I was still a target for such lovelies as "Well, just remember how good you feel right now so that you don't gain it all back." and "see, all it took was some self-control". I can't win here. And I get that. But please then don't insist that I have toast, sausage, fruit, hash browns and coffeecake at a single breakfast. If you wanted a tall skinny daughter like you, you should have married a tall skinny guy.
I share these, not to get sympathy, or to bust on my Mom -- but it is cathartic (Again with the Cathars) and I know from experience it's a mother/daughter thing for a LOT of women and if you caught crap from your Mom over this holiday season, it can help to compare your crap to someone else's. (I'll match your "but you have such a pretty face" and raise you a "aren't you still full from breakfast") And if you've lost your Mom, and you're wishing that you still had her around to drive you crazy in the way that only a Mom can...I am grateful every day.
Okay, on Sunday, I'd sort of had it...but I've recovered my equilibrium and now am looking forward to her coming down for a visit. Even if it means that my entire house, housekeeping and lifestyle will be turned into targets.