This is Going to be a Long, Weird Thanksgiving

I’m honestly not sure how this is going to go. My parents have only been here since 6:30 last night and I’m already feeling antsy and upset. The typical stupidity has taken on new contours as they’ve gotten older. I called my mom to specifically tell her not to dawdle because they were predicting tornadoes yesterday morning for yesterday evening and I didn’t want them to get caught out on the road in them.

And then my mom sent me texts about how they’d stopped to get their oil changed and stopped to get my dad a new driver’s license and stopped to do something else and stopped for lunch and I was like Jesus Christ if this is what they do when they’re not dawdling, I would hate to see procrastination. Luckily the weather forecast changed so I was like “Fine, I get it. I’m not the boss of you. I can’t order you to get here in a hurry.” And I was a little pissed, but what the fuck ever.

People, I wish it were passive aggressive “you’re not the boss of me” bullshit. My mom apparently hung up the phone with me saying repeatedly “don’t dawdle. Get here as fast as you can.” and turned and told my dad–and seems to believe that I said–“There are storms. Dawdle.” Like I wanted them to hang back and give the storms a chance to pass. At least at dinner it seemed to freak her out enough that she’s going to get her hearing tested when they get back.

But then they told my brother that they’d take my nephew back to North Carolina on Friday, since he has to work Friday night. So, rather than my brother just skipping Thanksgiving and driving to and from North Carolina today and tomorrow, he’s coming here today and Mom and dad are taking my nephew to North Carolina on Friday and then driving back here on Saturday and then going home on Monday.

They want me to go with them, which I don’t want to do for many reasons. I hate my sister-in-law. I don’t want to be trapped in a car with my parents for sixteen hours because I can’t be sure if I’m going to get sweet people or “No one will ever love you because you’re so fat and your house is so filthy and you’re stupid.” (Our house is, apparently, “so filthy” already–I heard that on the way to dinner, which is at the level of insanity of my dad yelling at my brother this summer because the tub wouldn’t drain and then me going and running the shower for a half an hour unable to replicate this not draining tub.) Plus the Butcher is working crazy hours and the dog can’t not go to the bathroom for sixteen or seventeen hours at a time. Plus, they didn’t ask me to go with them. They just announced I was going with them, of course, because they need three drivers.

And so I would happily–though with much anxiety–tell them to drive their own fool selves across the mountains doing my brother’s job for him.

But my god, people, every time I see them they are visibly older. And now my mom’s just making crap up that people say to her rather than admit that she’s not catching bits of conversation?

They drive me insane. They make me so mad. But that, put in the scales of “how will I live with myself?” does not even come close to outweighing how terrified I am to send two little old people on this stupid-ass trip by themselves.

I am a hostage to their frailty and bull-headedness and possibly insanity.

God, I love the holidays.

7 thoughts on “This is Going to be a Long, Weird Thanksgiving

  1. Oh, shit. You and me both. There’s just not a good answer when it comes to parents, weirdness, holidays and (for me too) parents’ driving. Something really bad happened between my mother and me the last time they were here (a mere 3 weeks ago, I am not over it in the slightest), but the next night, we all went out to Mellow Mushroom and she was SO terrified of highway driving in the dark that she was doing 45 in the right hand lane and almost having a panic attack and I felt really bad. I had missed the cues that she was so scared, she didn’t tell me she’d prefer to avoid the interstate, and they drive 3 hours on I-40 just to get here anyway, so why would I ever have suspected in the first place? But I felt so guilty. Still do.

    Shoot.

    B, don’t go with them. You will go insane.

  2. I am a hostage to their frailty and bull-headedness and possibly insanity.

    Oh wow, yeah, exactly! I was meditating yesterday on the limits I have with my family and the guilt I have about even having limits and your sentence here sums it up so much for me.

    Good luck to you on your holidays! I wish you the strength to let go of your guilt (don’t go with them, those 16 hours could be balance of your own mental health) and the power to keep yourself out of situations that will make you feel resentful.

  3. It’s so hard to see your parents getting older. Very delicate balance between doing what’s right by them and keeping your own sanity. Keep calm and carry on!

  4. I feel your pain, entirely. Even down to the hating your sister in law part.

    I’d go into details about the time my dad almost killed my mom, sister and me coming home from Gatlinburg because he didn’t want us to keep intimating that he was too old and unskilled to drive over the mountain. But I don’t want to relive it.

    Just know that plenty of people love you and that those of us who do don’t much care about the state of your house or what you weigh, wear, put in your hair…

  5. Does your father think he’s being amusing, by any chance? I mean, in what context does a person does a person up and come out with “your house is filthy”?

    I wish you (and all here) a good Thanksgiving and enough love to get you through the details of family life.

  6. A tiny ray of hope: Maybe once your mom gets some hearing aids and can hear you, she’ll be easier to deal with? Because now she may think you’re the one who’s not making any sense, since she’s only catching bits of what you say.

    Still, it all sucks. Hang in there. I’m enjoying spending the holiday without my family, and only talking with them on the phone.

  7. Precious lady, I am so sorry for you and proud of you. Hear me now and believe me later (heh): The only thing you can do sometimes is say, “I love you, and I won’t do that,” and stand your ground. It will be hell. It already is, if my experience is any indication. But you are a wise, good, beloved (and also exceptionally tidy, my Lord for somebody with pets, you oughta write a column) woman, and you can only do what you can.

    They won’t like it; God forbid they do what mine has done and spread horrible lies to anyone who’ll stand still long enough when you finally make it clear, politely and firmly and lovingly, that this mess stops NOW. I pray they hear your love and concern and respect for them throughout, because it’s very clear what a fine daughter you are.

    I pray for a little peace and understanding for all of us this season. As well as for the ability, especially for parents, to just stop and consider what we’re saying before we hurt the ones we love.

    xoxoxo, sweet one.

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