rooted, but still growing

Archive for December 2008

It’s not my habit to contract the holiday grumps, so I’m thankful to report that we did, indeed, have a relatively lovely Christmas this year.

I say “relatively” because it’s a rule in my life that at least one person acquainted with my family has to make an ass of him/her self as a result of either self-pity or a general malevolent attitude toward the human race.  Self-pity was the winner this year, with someone refusing to open gifts in the presence of the givers because they were not able to stay as long as one thought they should. All I can say is thank heavens I had to work and was able to miss witnessing the tossing about of hissies.

N was, in a word, thrilled with his Christmas gifts. Against my better judgment, perhaps, he received a rifle and various accessories. He’s so convinced that he’s now “a man” that neither his father nor I dare admit that the gun is, in fact, a youth model designed for much younger children. That’s a satisfactory secret I’ll have to keep to myself for a while.

I simply don’t understand the male fascination with firearms. You’d think I would — I grew up with a father who is an avid gun collector and a brother who lives to hunt wild game. But I don’t get it, and that’s probably why the idea of presenting a rifle to a boy who has been expressly clear in his enthusiasm for firearms and weapons in general makes me a bit queasy. Of course, I have to remember that my dad and little brother handled the same type of responsibility at young ages and have suffered no long-lasting ill effects or caused personal injury to themselves or others (as far as I know).

I take comfort in knowing that my brother knew without a shadow of a doubt that any misuse of his guns would result in not only all of them being forever whisked away, but more importantly, a thrashing never before witnessed in the history of mankind. That’s exactly the message I’m sending to N. One misstep and the rifle disappears forever, just as the pocket knives did last summer during a more immature of incidents between N and K1. I don’t mess around when it comes to safety.

Still, it was fun witnessing N’s excitement on Christmas morning. Almost as much fun as watching Steve’s. He’s been wanting so badly to spend quality time with the boys, doing the same things with them that his father and grandfather did with him when he was young. And I have to admit that N’s been fairly responsible with his gift thus far, and he’s kept the pestering to “go shooting” to a minimum. Which, honestly, is saying something considering that N’s a pestering king.

Still. I’m keeping the dog close by and sleeping with one eye open. You can never be too careful.

It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m feeling a bit uninspired.

For one thing, I have to work most of the day. This will be followed by a trip to the mall that I don’t want to take to buy gifts for my brother to give my parents. And when I get home, I get to clean up messes that other people made, make a nice dinner that likely won’t get eaten, and finish wrapping gifts when I’m feeling more like the Grinch than a  North Polian elf.

All so everyone else will enjoy Christmas. Bah, meet Humbug.

I don’t know what has been so different about this year, but I definitely have not been filled with as much cheer as in Christmases past. (Perhaps I should drink more vodka, no?) Steve has inexplicably been an absolute bear to me for about a week now. And while I’m very happy to have his son here for the holidays, their combined asshattery has shredded what little was left of my very last nerve. I’m *thisclose* to packing up my dog and moving into a hotel until mid-January.

In short, I’m fucking tired of everyone depending on me to take care of the details. I have dealt with Christmases far less than ideal for the past three years for the sake of feelings that were not my own. I have purchased gifts costing far beyond what my checkbook could comfortably cover hoping to live up to expectations and standards. I have organized, maintained and performed duties that do not fall within my realm of responsibility, again, all for the sake of others.

Why?

Good question. I don’t know the answer. But I can tell you this: It’s not happening anymore. Next Christmas, I’m doing only the things I want and need to do. That’s it. In-laws, stepchildren and ex-wives be damned. No one seems too concerned about me or my coping skills — let’s see how they do when the tables are turned.

Yeah, it seems harsh to be writing this at such a celebratory time. And yeah, there are people who have it far worse than I do. But gosh darn it, I’m tired. I want to relax, eat some of my mom’s delicious cooking, and not have to worry about or be irritated by anything for one day.

Just. One. Day.

Headline I saw today on cnn.com:

“No good way to tell kids they have cancer.”

Well duh.

It snowed today, the first “real” snow we’ve had this year. I was thankful for it, because for just a little while today I got to experience a little bit of the holiday exuberance I’ve grown accustomed to over the years.

Sadly, that’s been a rare occurrence this season. It’s Christmas, and I’ve always been a wholehearted believer that it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. And yet rather than feeling engorged on merry spirit, all I can muster is frustration. There are just too many expectations, too many demands on my ever-dwindling time and bank account. My life right now is consumed with work and school responsibilities, and when I’m not concentrating on those (often at the same time) I’m expected to come through on family responsibilities. 

Family. Ugh — why do families have to make things so difficult during the holidays? Why are the people with the lowest number of obligations the very same people who are unwilling to compromise, to go just a teensy bit out of their way to accommodate others … just this once? I’m growing so tired of Steve and me being the ones to spend our holiday vacations in a mad dash to make sure we make it to see everyone. 

The thing is, we live two and a half hours away from each of our respective families. Mine is in one town, and his is in another. His brother lives in the same town as my folks. The logical thing would be for everyone to gather in the town that contains the highest number of family members. But as most things go that concern family, the logical solution is often the one at the bottom of the list. 

I guess I should put my foot down, considering that the past three Christmases have either been dictated by children who are not my own or so NOT what had been planned. AND we bent over backwards to make sure a certain set of parents had an enjoyable Thanksgiving at our house.

Maybe it’s downright selfish of me, but I care about Christmas and I want this one to go MY way. I want a real holiday, with pretty decorations and good food and things to do, not an entire day (or two) spent watching cable news networks. N will be here and I want his Christmas to be as memorable as the ones I had as a child. 

I’m not saying I want things my way every year — just this one. I’ve lost my luster for Christmas, and I need to do something that will make it special again. Sigh. If we can get this figured out and keep everyone happy, it will truly be a Christmas miracle.

My friend Leann not-so-subtley informed me that I’ve been sucking as a blogger lately.

And she’s right. It’s been quite a while since my last post. The reason? I’ve been busy, y’all. Like, insanely, ready-to-melt-down-and-hibernate-until-May busy. We’re in the midst of budget time at work, which for me also includes planning and executing the company Christmas party and, apparently, shuttling board members to corporate meetings, tinkering around with water heaters, decorating the office, and a crapload of other stuff.

I’m also taking two courses for my master’s program — one that I love, the other I despise — trying to finish my holiday shopping, and generally attempting to keep the lives of my fiance and brother in working order. Which, you know, doesn’t always work out. Case in point: Steve scheduled N’s flight in from Phoenix on the same evening as his plant’s Christmas party. Know what this means? Dear old me gets to miss the party to drive 2.5 hours to the airport to pick up the kid. Which, you know, is okay, because I’m actually really excited that N will be here for Christmas. But still.

I’m typing this from a hotel room in Omaha (yes, Nebraska). Steve’s corporate Christmas party is this weekend, and we flew in Thursday and have attended a bevy of activities since then. It’s been a really fun trip so far, but I’m freaked as to how I’m going to get two papers completed by Monday night when I have a limited amount of time to work on them. Ack! 

Overall, life isn’t bad. Just hectic. I’m really looking forward to next Monday, when my classes end and I can relax a little and enjoy Christmas. In the meantime, I’ll be running around like a fool trying to get everything on my list accomplished. Help me Santa!