Anyone who has had to bear the burden of being married or in a long term relationship has inexplicably been stuck in the same predicament year after year. Who gets you for the holidays or any other day of the year that your family may deem IMPERATIVE that you be home.
I have been blessed with both in-laws and a family who do not become angry if I am unable to make a particular holiday. Neither of us gets outright YELLED at or threatened to be written out of a will or two. No, they’re MUCH more subtle than that. I’ve experienced the passive aggressive, sullen and disheartened,
“Well, ooooookkkkkay, I GUESS it’s OKAY if you don’t make it. Your BROTHER would have made it.”
The Daver deals with the same stuff.
And I have to be honest, I ADORE the holidays.
It’s the most wonderful motherfucking time of the year, after all. There is nothing more magical than the Christmas season, aside from maybe a freshly shorn nutbag, but I digress. The lights, the smells, the sounds, the bells, I love it all. I love shopping for gifts, I love decorating for the holidays; I love that magical first snow of the year.
And I admit that I even love seeing my family and my in-laws. I adore both sides of our family; and I love seeing them for the holidays.
As usual, there is a catch: both sets of parents EXPECT that they are the most important members of the family, and are therefore entitled to certain unalienable privileges. Most of those being our time WHENEVER THEY WANT US TO for the holidays. It isn’t as though I don’t want to see them; I do.
But I can’t say that I enjoy my holidays spent in the car going from one place to another. Although traveling isn’t a problem for us; we like to get going as much as the next person. But spending 7+ hours a day in a car with a small child for a couple of hours with each set of families is going pretty far beyond what anyone else in the famili(es) do.
It only compounds matters exponentially that my parents, living about 1 hour from us, see us far more than Dave’s do, living 3+ hours from us (although, by some untapped miracle Dave claims that it only takes an hour and a half. Aside from teleportation, I have no idea how he gets there with such speed), which makes us feel bad. This, in turn makes us try to bend over literally downward facing dog AND the tree trying to appease whatever holiday requests they ask of us.
But no matter how much we break our backs for the families, no one else will meet us halfway. We get no”Well you came out by us last time, now it’s our turn.” If we cannot attend a gathering, there will be no offer to see us or come out to our house at a rescheduled date. Which would explain why I found a couple of little gifts I had picked up for my in-laws LAST YEAR in my vanity. Just SHAMEFUL.
Let’s compound things once again: I have a child whose father is not Dave, and said father wants to see his child on the holidays, too. So Dave, Ben and I are stuck grappling with the seemingly senseless fragments of 3 timetables from 3 families.
We have to make it to cities, W, X, Y and Z in a matter of 1.5 days. These cities are 1-4 hours apart. So we could alternate the cities based on a number of factors (If we leave for W at 6pm after work, get there at 9, stay til 6am drive 4 hours, arrive at 10:30, open gifts, smile, laugh, eat, leave at 1pm if Ben has had nap, drive another hour, drive an hour back, open more presents, better not nap b/c you’ll look like you’re not having fun, drive 1.5 hours home, utterly exhausted), but it essentially boils down to extra traveling time for us, but not for anyone else.
Here’s my resolution, dear Internet, next year this foolishness will be done, and we won’t exhaust ourselves traveling multiple hours in the car just to appease everyone for the holidays.
Next year, we’re embracing the “N” word.