The Push and the Pull of Family and Holidays

Thanksgiving-Turkey-DinnerNormally, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It’s a time to get together and just enjoy being a family.  We generally spend it with my husband’s family and that’s been okay.  Not this year though.  Because of this and that, they’ve decided to combine Christmas and Thanksgiving.  Now, maybe you’ve one of those families where Christmas is more like my Thanksgiving.  Maybe you get together and make cookies and eat turkey and whatever.  In my husband’s family, that’s what it looks like on the outside.  On the inside, it becomes a competition of who got this and how much that cost and how much room was left under the tree (none, ever).  It’s a time when you dread pulling this or that person’s name in the drawing because they, quite frankly, don’t need another damned thing and that $30 limit would never purchase something worthy of their attention.  It’s a time when you have to live through another “siblings only” picture and hear more stories about what it was like before there were wives and husbands and grandchildren.  Oh, nevermind that.  The grandchildren are sacrosanct.  Could they have emerged pristine without the stain of spousal heritage, all would be perfect.

Hmm.  I sound bitter.

So, back to this Thanksgiving – the one holiday that I thought could be preserved from the ridiculous commercialism and consumerism that drives my husband’s family.  They’ve destroyed it.  This year, we shall have the gift exchanges (cursed things) at Thanksgiving.  Please note – I have no desire to go to this family get-together.

I should also add that my mother-in-law spent this whole month sharing her thankfulness.  She spent an entire week extolling her children.  Yes.  It takes a week.  She has seven children.  She’s also very thankful for service people (the armed forces, police, firemen, nurses, doctors…trash collectors?).  She’s thankful for her sister and brother.  She’s thankful for her dead mother.  She’s thankful for church.  She’s thankful for everything.  Except her children in-laws.  Oh, you didn’t think I noticed?  Yeah, I did.  In the past, I wouldn’t have given a crap.  Now, I do.  For someone that spends so much time talking about family, she’s pretty particular about who she’s willing to include in her family.

Don’t get me wrong.  My family isn’t better – just different.  There isn’t an overwhelming need for us to run to the mall or buy-buy-buy.  In fact, we tend to err in the other direction.  Is it an error?

So – to reiterate – I have no desire whatsoever to participate in this year’s Thanksgiving.  I will because of my children and my desire for them to have more of a connection with family.  I will in an attempt to mitigate my husband’s embarrassment in having a wife that is filled with anger towards his family.  I will eat the turkey and attempt the small talk.  I will not turn tail and run.  Hopefully.  That is the goal.