Wednesday, December 26, 2007


P and I have finished our crazy Christmas tour -- 8 homes in 8 cities in 3 states in 4 days. As usual, Christmas ended with a visit to my drunk of a mother.

(As an aside, my mom is gay. This isn't news to me, nor does it have any bearing on the challenging relationship I have with her (most/all of which derives directly or indirectly from the aforementioned drinking problem), but it's probably news to all of you and knowing that will make the relationships between people easier to understand. My step-mom is married to my mom. My step-family is my step-mom's family.)

Ever since P and I got together, we have celebrated Christmas jointly. Before P, my brother and I would go to my dad's on the 23rd for "family Christmas" -- my mom left us on Christmas Eve, and for the next few years this was our way of reclaiming the holiday, or, more accurately, wallowing in self-pity and watching old slides and videos to remind us how much happier we used to be. On the 24th, we'd all go visit my dad's father and sister, staying there through the 25th. My mom didn't get us until the 26th, which was punishment for breaking up the family on Christmas. (Believe it or not, I used to be far more bitter about this.)

When P came on the scene, we had to add time for his family, so he and I would leave my father's family on the morning of the 25th, driving three hours home, then spend an hour or two celebrating Christmas just the two of us, finally heading to his family's for Christmas dinner. At this point, my brother decided to end the decade-log embargo and started leaving when we did and going to my mother's for Christmas day. This got him favorite child status, which he pretty much enjoyed anyway. This also began the tradition of the Christmas of two moms. Every year, he would be there on Christmas day, and every year he was punished for it.

Every year, our mom (and sometimes our step-mom too) would get rip-roaring drunk, and frequently she would make a scene to end all scenes (she does this somewhat often -- the time P and I had to carry her out of a restaurant half-conscious, we actually got a card apologizing). When the next day rolled around, she was so hung-over ashamed, she would be on her best behavior. So each year, my brother got "bad mom" and we got "good mom." Somehow, it took us years to figure out this pattern.

This year, my brother and his wife decided that for their first Christmas, they wanted to be alone on Christmas day. (Truth be told, his marriage was a good excuse to do what he has wanted to do for 20 years -- neither of us had woken up on Christmas morning in our own bed since 1987, and I still haven't.) So he and my SIL joined us for the 26th. The big question was whether we would get bad mom or good mom, or if we would somehow get both. We placed bets among the four of us, but no one was sure whether accurately guessing bad mom could really be called winning. Happily, we got good mom. She ruined one surprise my stepmom explicitly asked her halfway through the ruining of not to ruin , and she complained loudly and rudely that she had no grandchildren and didn't know when she would get any (and, bless her heart, my stepmom told her to shut up and mind her business -- I have never loved her so much), but she was generally non-awful, and she didn't make any scenes. The worst moment was when my stepmom accidentally knocked a full glass of red wine onto the floor and onto a variety of , shattering glass and wine across the floor, and my mother for some reason cried out in pain, despite having no reason to have experienced any. It felt like a normal person's Christmas.

So I hereby promise that if and when I find myself blessed with children of my own, I will never do anything that will make it seem appropriate and worthwhile to place wagers on whether I will scream, cry, or pass out at Christmas dinner.


Katie said...

I think that's a good pledge! I am glad that your stepmom stands up for you, though!

Happy Holidays!

Jen said...

You two must be exhausted! I hope you get to rest now. Merry Christmas!

Yodasmistress said...

I didn't see my mom this year for Christmas. After 27 years of her ruining the day, I finally just saved myself the pain and didn't go there. My husband was grateful. My mom hates me more than ever now though. It sucks when your parents aren't what they should be.

Rachel said...

Me too!