It is with regret that I report that the 2008 holiday season has passed without incident. No family blow-ups, inappropriate questions or personal offenses. Not even a lingering resentment to keep me warm on the cold nights ahead. Even on the home front things were quiet, with only one minor flare-up manifested in two harshly worded emails and a trip alone to the bookstore before all was forgiven. It’s as if the holidays didn’t happen at all.
Because really, where is the joy in everyone getting along? Thanksgiving was such a pleasant affair that we weren’t even able to come up with a post about it. Who wants to hear that we sat down at 4p to eat, spoke with ease on a range of subjects and disbanded around 9p after sharing pumpkin pie? Even Sooz, who can usually be counted on for at least one fit of rage about how she does all the work and no one appreciates it, went silent this year. The sisters know how to really work me up but the baby sister is now big and the big sister has a baby…neither status conducive to the slur-flinging, hairbrush hitting fights of yore…
Christmas was spent with my in-laws, an experience that traditionally gets my back up a good week before we even arrive. I spend days carefully planning my responses to snarky comments and bait my husband into plotting a full spousal defense strategy. (My brilliant plan this year involved responding, “That’s interesting,” to pretty much everything.) Imagine my disappointment when the days passed with nothing more than several nice presents and one “We’re so glad you came.” Even our tree was well-behaved, refusing to spread those pesky needles all over the house, despite being withheld water for a week.
Perhaps this underwhelming theme of peace was brought on by healthy doses of Xanax and white wine. I fear it is because somewhere along the way we all decided to grow up. To grin and bear those probing questions and strong opinions, to choose a common conversation over a controversial one and to remember these people are family and thus deserve our best and brightest selves. How very mature. How very boring.
New Year’s Eve is tonight and we’ve planned to have dinner alone and then drive to a friend’s house for a small party. The friend lives far away and if we drink, a car will definitely have to be left for pick-up tomorrow. I don’t want to leave my car overnight. My husband doesn’t want to leave his car overnight. I smell a fight in the air. Happy New Year!!