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I understand. No explanation needed.
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I just hit the return button before I typed in text. Does anyone else completely, utterly hate every holiday? On Thanksgiving, my husband's aunt is having us all over for dinner. That's super nice, but it is way too long for me. We have to pick up my MIL, GIL and drive there. By the time we leave our home, and come home in the evening, it is 5 hours. When holidays roll around, I'd like to simply have one full day where I can crawl into bed and rest.
Christmas to me is the worst. It is a merchant's holiday, and relatives suck the lifeblood out of me. I used to love Halloween, because I just sat outside, and handed out candy. I liked to see the kids in their costumes. This year, it seemed like there were 100 kids, when about 55 live in my neighborhood. It was insane, since everyone invited a friend. I don't mean to be a party pooper, but I just don't like getting together with relatives anymore. I'd much rather have two or three friends over for a nice lunch.
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Oh, gosh, I hear you. Our holidays have been held hostage by my in-laws since my husband and I got together 10 years ago. Now, the remaining oldsters (his side of the family) are too frail and--let's be honest--stubborn, to even *entertain* the idea of maybe accepting offers from other relatives to dine with them. Nope, gotta be my husband and me. And it has to be something one of them--sweet person, but blind and anxiety-ridden--is comfortable with, either dinner at home or at a familiar (and not very good) restaurant. Sheesh.
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They can surely be a difficult time. I refuse to let the Ns screw up my holiday joy, though. My life is better because they are NOT in it anymore. Their "power" over me is gone. Caput! I am free. To me, that is the best Christmas gift ever!
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Definitely identify with people who hate holidays. Wholeheartedly agree with Tired Daughter: would prefer to spend time with friends than with family.
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Yes, I grew to hate the holidays, maybe different reasons. Truth be told, I was never one who looked forward to them . After Dad was gone and Mom couldn't "Host" the event, SIL started having gatherings at Her/Bro's house. OK, but then their timing was all out of whack. Dinner would be late, then Mom needed to be lifted up their steps (I was just helpful, not expected to DO it). She would try to participate, wanted to, but the hearing aids never were right for her to sort out the noise, They had a monster dog (a real sweetie but HUGE) that spotted Mom as an easy target and would snatch food off her plate and gross her out. (I love my furbabies, but I would never allow that to happen to guests)
In truth?? was I a guest or a caregiver?? I never felt as if I would have even been invited except as a service provider for Mom, as far as SIL was concerned. All of the caregivers on Mom's team wanted and deserved to be with family, so I was with Mom on every holiday. When she couldn't go out anymore, we shared a simplified holiday meal. Later someone would show up with leftovers which Mom couldn't eat anyway...stay 5 minutes and bolt. She did not complain, but this was all very foreign to her and I could see how hurt she was. We were going to have pumpkin pie smoothies last Thanksgiving, but she died a week before then. I can't imagine ever enjoying the holidays again. Sorry if that sounds bitter. It couldn't be helped. Just how it was.
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hi tired daughter, it is me, 'daughter' (smile)
You don't mind if I ramble, do you ? I hear you and I hear your need to just say it... write it... get it out there. as you know my mom passed. So this will be the first thanksgiving holiday in a long time I do not have to be worried and depressed (mainly depressed) about mom being by herself on the holiday, feeling guilty if I do not make the drive down to see her. As far as I am concerned, Mom is now with Dad, he was the only person she really wanted to be with. So now, she is with him. In spite of that, it will not be a joyful thanksgiving and christmas. Kinda sad, kinda melancholy if you know what I mean. I am taking it as it comes this year. I did not expect to be Miss Jolly Elf this holiday season, not at all. The whole Life & Death thing is forefront in my mind (sorry!!!) and so this year the holidays, while not completely worrying and stressful and guilt-ridden, thinking about Mom, it will instead be kind of quiet and reflective, and yes, a bit sad. Holidays are a necessary evil, it seems. There can be so much enjoyment derived from them, and yet, they can be a sad or stressful experience, depending on the situation and family members. I won't be spending holiday time with any relatives (haven't for years), they are all down in Mom's area, or live out of state. I got away from all that years ago, after Mom started needing more help (and eventually home bound), and I noticed none of the "christian religious church-going" relatives saw any need to offer to help Mom out, or maybe have Mom over to their place for a few hours on thanksgiving or christmas. I understand that Mom was difficult (believe me, I know!) and I know she tended to be a real downer on the Holidays because she missed Dad so much. But ... I dunno.... I still feel badly that people she spent most of her adult life with, could ignore her year after year without a second thought. For me, not seeing relatives over the holidays is, in itself, kind of sad. But then, if I did do it, wouldn't I be trying to make those relationships into something that really do not exist, and has not existed for years now? That is how I feel, and so, I do not make the effort to see the relatives on the holidays. (and obviously, if I do not make the effort, then it does not happen, they are certainly not making the effort). My husband is fine with staying at home, the three of us (the cat being three!). And that is fine with me too. But once in awhile I do get that wistful "family feeling" over the holidays and wish it could be different. I looked forward to thanksgiving and christmas as a young child (when mom was not stressing out or having tantrums) -- I loved to see the aunts and uncles and grandparents. They were the more normal people in our family! And mom seemed to be on better behavior during the holidays, when the relatives were there. But i think now i have a glorified warm and fuzzy feeling of how holidays really were growing up. I am sure if I were transported back in time, I would not be seeing them in the same rosy glow! This year, I am trying to immerse myself in what * I * enjoy at Holiday time -- the Fall/winter scenery... some soothing (cheesy) christmas tunes.... looking thru old xmas decorations I have found at mom and dad's house, etc. I am not feeling any guilt, for once in a very long time. I wish the holidays could be so very different for you, and others like you, who are still dealing with all the silliness (sorry!!) of elderly parents or other family members. I want to wave my magic wand and take it all away for you, just this once, so you can have a warm, fuzzy, happy, serene, joyful holiday season. I wish I could do that. big hugs to you. beth
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What a great thread!
"Let the merry bells be ringing, I'm N-free this year!" For most of my life I've dreaded the holidays. Of course that's because I have a dysfunctional family. Never knew the "Leave it to Beaver" holiday. Although when I was a kid I spent the night with a friend of mine who was Jewish (I'm Catholic) around the holidays. Of course my friend didn't celebrate Christmas, but the camaraderie of her family was something I wasn't used to. She and me and her sister gathered around the piano while her father played songs and they sang and had a good time. Wtf? A good time? Never in my born days had I witnessed that! Holidays were "showtime" to my N-mother. A chance to show off her cooking skills to family and friends. A chance to open twice as many presents (courtesy of my Enabling Father) than anyone else. The best holiday I ever had was when DH and I "escaped" one Christmas to Mexico about five years after we were married. It was glorious! This Christmas represents a new beginning to me. I'm not spending it with my dysfunctional family. Never again. But my heart and soul are with all of you out there that must endure the holidays with a difficult relative. Peace and love, and I'll save you a serving of bread pudding for when you're done! FWU
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Add me in to this prestigious group. Last year I stated to my then husband
" this is the Very Last time I will spend my holiday time with your materialistic family" for 10 years I had to entertain them all because MiL with us. I never take any time off work during Holidays prefering the better weather. So I'd stay up late baking wrapping etc only to find they like to make it as brief as possible doing their duty to visit mom, i never felt appreciated. Well i'm in divorce proceedings so I see last years statement fulfilled to my satisfaction. The economy needs the holidays but IMHO
God doesn't. I'll be having my family at my moms which is ok but tiresome and working on christmas day. Sending genuine Best Holiday Wishes to everyone on this board!
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Thanks for everyone's funny postings. I particularly enjoyed this paragraph:
Although when I was a kid I spent the night with a friend of mine who was Jewish (I'm Catholic) around the holidays. Of course my friend didn't celebrate Christmas, but the camaraderie of her family was something I wasn't used to. She and me and her sister gathered around the piano while her father played songs and they sang and had a good time. Wtf?
A good time? Never in my born days had I witnessed that! Like Finallywokeup, I spent one Christmas away- in Puerto Rico. We had the best time ever, and it was all about US as a family, rather than relatives. I probably need to just chill. I always have fun at my husband's relatives house, even though it is very tiring. I can still get 8 hours of sleep, so I should stop complaining. Last XMas, my Mom was sick, and could not host it. Instead, my SIL picked up all the food, and had it at her house. We stayed for about THREE HOURS and had the best Christmas ever. We all realized there was no drama, and it was a great time. I think the issue is that you can choose your friends, but not your relatives. It's relatively easy to write a friend out of your life, but much, much more difficult with immediate family members. This morning, I have my niece's confirmation. It should be interesting to see my parents, and listen to them complain about everything. Usually, it is not too bad when there is a meal attached, because they are busy stuffing their faces.
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This year will be bittersweet for me. It will be the very first holiday EVER that I haven't had a parent or in law. I will admit that it will be enjoyable not to have the stress and worry, but still I miss my parents so very much. Most years at this time I have been furiously cleaning my house, shopping, doing as much prep as I can in advance, doing my usual care giving, and wondering which parent or my sister will cause the yearly chaos.
I am so looking forward to going to my sons house for Thanksgiving this year! I have told my wonderful daughter in law that my only rule is that there be no rules, we can eat when its ready so no time constraints, and I will stay out of her kitchen unless she asks for my help. I will play with my almost three year old granddaughter while she and my son cook so they will be free to do so without worry. When the meal is over my husband and I will clean up the kitchen while my kids sit and enjoy the day! I have been asked to bring my Pumpkin Pie, and my sons favorite shoe peg corn and french green bean casserole. I will make them here and put in an ice chest for our two hour drive over so that I wont interfere with any of their preparations and reheat the casserole once we are there. I want more than anything to NEVER put my kids under the Holiday pressures that I have had to endure in the past, and hope to always be a welcome guest in there home for the holidays, and for them to look forward to holiday meals at my house. I don't want them to ever feel pressured into making "duty visits" but WANT to be here. If they choose to spend a Holiday with my Daughter in laws side of the family I will well understand that. They deserve to have time with them too! I pray that my beautiful little girl who came into our lives through adoption almost three years ago will always know how much this Grandmother loves and adores her. The love of my family is what I am most thankful for this year.
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aw janice. That was nice.
you are a wonderful mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother!
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I second what beth said, Janice. Your family hit the jackpot when they got you!
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Wow, Janice, you sound amazing! Your family is very lucky to have you -- I LOVE your casual perspective and your focus on the important things. You rock!
Beth - I wish I could give you a hug...I'm sorry for your loss, and I hope that you get to enjoy doing the things you want to do on Thanksgiving. (remember - calories don't count on holidays -- whoo hoo!) In any case -- thank you for your perspective - it was very helpful for me. I had one Christmas in Europe with friends -- it was glorious. I checked out and wasn't responsible for food, shopping, cleaning, entertaining, all those good things that typically land on my shoulders. I did feel a sense of guilt though -- and have decided not to miss big holidays while my parents are still alive. That being said, I'm the single oldest child -- only daughter -- and my parents aren't well. The last few years I am the holiday person...takes me a cocktain and a Xanex...but it helps me get through it. My brother and SIL don't do anything -- they spend 1/2 the day at her family's house -- then show up full for our thanksgiving -- and then go to bed while I do the dishes. They have three kids who I adore -- which is why I tolerate their horrible behavior. Once my parents are gone...i will be in Hawaii or somewhere tropical every holiday. I'm single...and every holiday just reminds me more of just how lonely I am. To my single caregiver friends out there -- I'm guessing you know the drill. Being lonely sucks - and being the perky caregiving party planner sucks even more. Thanks for listening...I hope this Thanksgiving brings all of you lots of things to be thankful for!!