bah humbug! (or: here we go again...)

the holidays are fast approaching, and december is the most dread-filled month of the year for me. thanksgiving should be just fine: i'll make a nice dinner, we'll have people over for a post-t-day wind down at the casa, and everything will be low pressure super nice. i'll make an appropriate amount of food, the casa will smell good, i'll have fun entertaining...it'll be great. christina even got the night off work, so she'll be there for the whole thing!

then, there's christmas. i just got an email from dad, and the line "we'd like you to come home for a full five days" made my stomach drop. i love the idea of christmas, but i freaking hate it. and i feel this weird pressure to lose some weight before i go home, so that mom doesn't comment on it. i get to spend almost $500 to visit and get picked at, nagged, and bothered. for five whole days. my dad describes mom and i as being "on different sides of a brick wall, banging our heads". swell - i just can't wait to get home.

here's a little dialogue from last year. dad and i were sitting in the living room, quietly reading our respective books. then mom comes on the scene:

mom: are you cold? is it cold in here?

me: no, i'm fine.

now she looks at dad...

mom: honey, are you cold?

dad: no, i'm comfortable.

mom: are you sure?

dad and i: yes.

mom: kathryn, come over here and open the vent, i think you must be cold.

me: no, i'm not cold, i'm just fine.

mom: are you thirsty?

me: no

mom: how about some o.j.?

me: no, thank you, i'm not thirsty

mom: want something to eat? a sandwich? we have left-over ham!!

me: no, i'm not hungry, thanks.

mom: there's cookies!

me: mom, i'm not hungry.

mom reaches out and grabs my foot. please note: i hate people touching my feet. i retract my foot under a pillow to protect it.

mom: who did your pedicure? did you paint them yourself? etc. etc.

so this year: screw decking the halls. just keep my wine glass filled, thanks, and i'll try to avoid decking mom.


x-goth said...

I know she's probably crazy annoying...but your mom sounds like she's just wants to be needed and useful for something. your dialogue makes me feel bad for her. i asked my mom to "teach" me how to hem last weekend...even though it's something i've done myself before. she was in her glory. maybe there's something you could ask your mom to show that could kill an afternoon and then get her off your back for the remainder of the visit?

kathryn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kathryn said...

i tried that...asked for advice on a bridesmaid dress i need to make and she suggested a pattern. then paused and added "but you should probably lose some weight first - it's fitted, you know".
then there was the candelabra hanging fiasco of last year, which ended with her storming out of the house and me sitting alone with the pork chops and an empty dinner table. my sister was crying in her room, mom was literally driving the car in circles around the block, and dad was pacing around the house wondering what to do.
i do feel bad for her, but i am just so damn tired of going through this every year.

kathryn said...

she also thinks i am chronically depressed and don't like rachel ray and others because they are "happy" and that i can't stand it because i am a "miserable person".

this was revealed in her last visit to boston.

i'm sorry, i know i'm an asshole and not a very good daughter, and particularly whiny and mean, but i usually end up in tears at least two or three times during my "christmas vacation".

whether i've gained/lost weight, don't have a boyfriend, need to start 'thinking of the future', am not making more money at my job, haven't taken the GRE or applied to grad school, whatever, i'm just fucking tired of it.

Gouda said...

What I find so ironic, is that I think that many of us have adversarial relationships with our parents, and we swear we will NEVER be that way if we ever have kids.

And yet, the other day when one of my students queried me about what her major should be in college "Find something that you love".

Oh brother...that's what my parents said to me at that age. If I ever say "You need to stop having so much fun and get serious...." I'll know I have officially become and Adult. but worse, my parents.

scoutie said...

i know you try really hard to be nice to your mom and make things work. she doesn't seem to be making the same effort (or she's just not doing it in a way that appears to be nice). do what you need to do to take care of yourself. it's your mom's responsibility to take care of herself. i think we all spend our lives trying to figure out how to balance the equation of our own happiness and the guilt that our family makes us feel. if going home is going to make you miserable, then don't do it and try not to feel too bad about it. choosing to take care of yourself is a very adult decision.

Pandora said...

Your mom sounds a lot like mine. She says "I'm glad to see you're not worrying about your weight so much anymore" and things like that.
Maybe you can compromise and only go for 2 or 3 days? I also like to plan as many activities as possible to keep things moving quickly and give my mom something to do besides pick at me. Maybe that would help?

Anonymous said...

I'm not quite sure how I ended up on your blog, but this post hit home for me. It took me 55 years to stand up to my mother and skip the family misery. I felt bad about it, but someone convinced me that my own health was more important than my mother's feelings. Please don't wait until you're 55 and half-demented to stand up for yourself in that relationship.

You're NOT an asshole or a bad daughter (well, you may be, but that's not what's going on here). Your first responsibility is to take care of yourself. If you do so consistently and intentionally, your mother will learn. You'll become stronger, and your emotional skin will grow thicker, so those little barbs will start to bounce off.

As Scoutie (who sounds like a great friend) said, "if going home is going to make you miserable, then don't do it and try not to feel too bad about it. choosing to take care of yourself is a very adult decision."

The world will not cease to spin if you choose to have a Christmas holiday that doesn't make you crazy. Good luck with this.

pineapple said...

man, do i know how that feels. although, i wish my mother's brand of crazy was that mellow and logical. there just aren't words for how insane that woman is, and it stresses me out to no end that i end up PAYING to go get trapped out in the middle of nowhere in her presence. the only thing that makes it worthwhile is i get to see my lil brother. but god i wish i could forget colorado even exists.

good luck, masie. good luck.