Life Family and the Pursuit of Sanity

or… adventures in infertility and babies and family drama!

Holidays Schmolidays December 1, 2009

Filed under: Family — arminta @ 8:41 pm

aka: The post in which Minta attempts to work out complicated family issues by once again sharing crap that no one wants to know.

OK, so there was a lot of drama surrounding Thanksgiving that I basically glossed over because I wasn’t ready to deal with it and also because other things have been weighing on my mind more heavily. I’m still upset over the EDD and my 30th birthday being *gulp* 14 days away isn’t helping matters, either. But, I feel like I need to address the holiday issues now. I need to get it out-of-the-way. I’m composing an e-mail to my family, and I’m using this post to help corral my thoughts.

First, the facts… G and I stayed home on Thanksgiving. We like to stay home. We didn’t want the whole big family gathering at our house because I’m feeling a little unstable. But, we were initially planning on having a small lunch with just us, then going to the big family shindig at my aunt’s house. We were planning it so much that I had offered to bring the bird.

But that changed on Tuesday night. While discussing all things turkey with my mother we had a blow up and I decided not to go to the family dinner. Not because of the fight with my Mom, we fight and make up, we’re too alike and shit happens. But, having that argument with her really pointed out how fragile I was feeling and how much what I wanted was just to be at home with my boys (G and the C’s) and have a quiet, low-key, stress free day. I wasn’t turning my back on anyone, or punishing anyone, or anything else, just meeting my need for this day. Of course, this was also what G wanted, so it worked out perfectly. My Dad came over and the C’s came with my sister (well, Big C had been there since Wed afternoon). It really was a great day. We had the traditional foods (not happening at the family meal, which is what Mother and I fought about), which was really soothing to me as I was am really missing my Gran this year. Everything was tasty, there was no stress or fighting. (Unless you count G second guessing my turkey roasting methods!) Great day, and the reason was because it’s what G & I needed.

Regardless, the family got offended. I can understand why. None of them have children, so the meal with us IS their meal. Of four siblings my Mom is the only one with kids. So, the fact that we have other needs conflicts with the fact that they need us. Now, I needed them when my baby died, but they weren’t there. While that still bothers me, that’s also NOT what my making alternative plans was about. But, it does strike my funny that they should get so offended over the plans for one day when… but, anyway, let me stop that train of thought right there. Although, maybe it isn’t entirely unrelated. Had they called/e-mailed/sent flowers/attempted to reach out in any way I might feel closer to them now, and their company might be more important to me than my Gran’s food. But, that is not the case. My point… I understand why they’re offended, even though I disagree with the validity.

Additionally, I have it through the grapevine that one or more of the siblings is upset with my mother “for ruining Thanksgiving.” Which, no matter how much we fight, pisses me off. Because no one called and reached out to me to find out why we weren’t coming. No one bothered checking facts or having a conversation with involved parties. No, instead our TINY family of 14 people set a rumour mill fire and got pissed at each other. This is part of the problem. This is part of the reason that the family isn’t close (and let’s face it, you have to really work at not being close when four generations of family is 14 people). This is part of the reason I’d rather have Thanksgiving with just my hubs, Dad, sister and the boys than the whole family. Don’t get me wrong, I’d have been happy for my Mom and brother to have come, too, if we could have kept the same dynamic and mood. This is part of the reason I’m scared of our childlessness. I see what’s become of my mother’s siblings and it scares the shit out of me.

Now, we have to address Christmas. I don’t know what I’m going to feel up to. I just don’t. I may want the whole big sh-bang, I may want to stay in bed and cry all day. I don’t know. But, I do know that regardless of what other people want, I will do what I need to do for me and my husband. I won’t cowtail to manipulation during a time when I need the support. This means I may not be at the Christmas family get together. Which is one thing. Then gifts are a whole other thing. My family has this whole big “circle of gifts” which is a MARATHON 3-4 hour present opening ordeal in which everyone takes turns opening a gift. Which is fine, for some, but not enjoyable for me. As I’ve gotten older Christmas especially has become less about me and more about the C’s. I literally don’t care if I get no gifts if they get what they really want. Unless people are giving me Heparin and Femara and Ovidrel and gift certificates to the RE’s office (we’re 100% out-of-pocket…) I don’t need the gifts. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy or appreciate, it’s just not my focus. I’d much rather watch the C’s tear into 20 presents each than open any myself. But, I like to give gifts. We don’t have a big gift budget this year because we spent so much on drugs and ultrasounds, but I like to give a gift from the heart. My fear is people getting even more offended if we aren’t there for the gift opening and they brought us presents.

Which is only an issue because my aunt is asking for Christmas lists. Yes, she’s asking grown adults for Christmas lists. So, what’s the least offensive thing? To say “I don’t want anything from you” or “here’s what I want, but I may or may not show up to receive it graciously”? Plus “BTW, it doesn’t matter what you have on your list because I have a budget and an am making gifts.” This is where I’m really struggling right now.

If you made it through this book then… thank you. Yeah, I don’t have prizes. Except that your family is probably less fucked up than mine, so that should be a prize.


3 Responses to “Holidays Schmolidays”

  1. Jo Says:

    Oh, we could definitely give you a run for your money around here. I’m with you about the holidays — you should feel free to spend it however you like, without worrying about how others are going to misinterpret things.

    As for the assvice? If you feel comfortable, explain that money is tight and you would most appreciate something simple and heartfelt. Then stick to your budget and screw anyone who can’t appreciate it.


  2. I love hearing about other peoples’ family dynamics, because it reminds me that I’m not the only one with family issues. My family is nuts.
    I think you should spend the holidays however you want and need to. Like you said, they weren’t there for you when you needed support. I am so sick and tired of being expected to be the ones to entertain and put on a happy face for older relatives who “need” us for family holidays.

    And I know what you mean about not wanting anything for Christmas unless it’s meds or a gift certificate for the RE. Last year, the in laws kept pestering us about what we wanted, and I felt like saying Follistim. You could buy us a Follistim refill. Or an ultrasound or two. Instead we got a box full of junk that we did not want and will not use. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but when you are going through IF and paying all out of pocket, there is NOTHING else you want or need except to get closer to conceiving and having that baby you so desperately want.

    If it makes it easier, perhaps forewarn your aunt that this is a really hard year for you because of your loss, and that you aren’t sure that you will be up for the family thing or exchanging gifts. If it helps relieve the stress off you, bow out now, then you don’t have to worry about it for the next few weeks.

  3. Jenn Says:

    I think the holidays bring out the suckeness in everyone’s family. Hope you get things sorted out. And if you figure out a way to ask for meds or RE gift cards could you pass it along, because thats all I need too… lol 🙂

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