I told my parents I’m not going to Georgia for Christmas. It was not well met. They weren’t mad or anything. They just didn’t believe me. The Butcher says I’ll go.
Which, lord, is so fucked up. I mean, first of all, I highly doubt the Butcher told them I would go. I would bet all my money that the Butcher said I could ride with them if I was going.
But the part I love, the part that just gets me right in the chest, is this idea that there’s anyone else on this planet who knows me and what I’ll do better than I do and so whatever I say about my life can be overridden by that other person.
I followed your Thanksgiving trip on Twitter, and I think you get a pass on Christmas. Having lived through the whole “unmarried daughters do not develop separate lives and identities from their parents” gig (and thank heavens both that my parents were more reasonable people than yours and that I’m the youngest child so they had time to learn they weren’t going to have it all their way in the long run), I know you only get to have your own life if you insist on it.
The best argument I can offer you is that you’ve been running yourself ragged and need to be resting at Christmas, not running around on road trips. Your family (extended and immediate) may not want to believe it but you’re allowed to say No. Really, you’re doing everyone a favor when you say No to little things like holiday trips, because you’re training them to deal with you saying No to bigger things as the come along.
Stick with that No. Even if you have to dress it up as a stomach bug. You’re entitled to No. You have as much right to it as anyone else around.
I agree with fidelio that you get a pass. I am of the opinion that, at best, the family gets only one holiday per year.
Aside from that, I know in my family (my mom’s family and my stepfamily as well), there were always members who just never came. Or they’d show up once every few years just to reconfirm to themselves that this was not what they wanted to do. My uncles, my cousins in Texas, and several cousins in Michigan (there are cousins I’ve never met!) were all reliably absent from family gatherings and other members just updated on their lives and excused them with a “oh, you know Tommy!” In the stepfamily, it was always a male and they were always excused. But god help any of my stepfather’s sisters or my mother if an event was skipped. I recall when I started working how I enthusiastically signed up for holiday work to avoid them. Even in my husband’s family, there’s one who never comes and no one seems to mind.
All that to say…how does one achieve that status? Is the trick to not announce your intentions to skip and plead some dubious medical, mental, or car trouble? If I figure it out, I will let you know because apparently, the truth is never well-accepted though it certainly should be. I really wish that just once, my uncle Tommy had just said, “I’m not coming to family Christmas, because I have no interest in being around a bunch of fake assholes showing off all their wealth and rubbing my face in it. Instead, I prefer to stay where I am and get high and watch old episodes of Gunsmoke on tv.”
Take a break this year. And concoct some brilliantly fake excuse not to go.