My family came to celebrate our Christmas gathering on the Solstice, which worked out nicely for my mother and me, the two de facto pagans in the bunch. My mother is more of a ‘in fact’ pagan as she follows the religion and I just like their ideas more than I like any other ideas, religious or spiritually speaking.
Mostly, I like the return of the light. Summer cannot get here fast enough now. Winter is still and lovely at times, but it’s also cold and depressing for me. Spring is sweeter than I want to admit here, but I live for the season that won’t be here for several more months – so suck it up, I must.
Out of my two sisters, one doesn’t like me much, and no matter what I do, my actions, or inaction, are interpreted in the worst way. My other sister and I get along much better, and we have mutual respect for each other, but religion will always be our barrier.
The brother who showed up is the youngest of our bunch, and because he’s intelligent and relatively typical, I forget that his brain is different. He’s in the autism spectrum, as well as being a trauma survivor. Various medications have left him paranoid at times, or haven’t helped his depression and anger. He’s got a better doctor, new medication, and seems more even than I’ve seen him in a while, but he’s involved with an active alcoholic who only likes him when she’s drunk, but my brother has such low self-regard that he takes it.
He was hit by a car while riding his bike last summer and is waiting for his settlement to get a car again and maybe elevate his living circumstances, but I get the feeling this new love interest of his is just waiting around to see what she can get out of him, because he was also talking about the things he’d like to do for her once he has some money. It’s good to be generous, but he doesn’t get that people suck and ‘hurt people, hurt people’. I’ve never met the woman, but from the few times he’s spoken of her, she seems like a bucket of trouble. Not that my brother isn’t, but he doesn’t need a bigger trouble-bucket, and because his brain doesn’t connect well socially, he cannot listen to reason, or accept that he’s being used. Again. For like the thousandth time.
No, you can’t have his number.
Then my S.O.’s family came to our place for Christmas Eve dinner, and while they’re nice people, and I love his folks, his brother’s kid isn’t given clear boundaries or consequences. He was given an acoustic guitar among his presents, which he proceeded to slam on like he was a slash rocker, and every feeble ‘stop that’ resulted in about five seconds of quiet followed by doubled-down ‘playing’. I’m still a nobody but I wanted to grab the guitar and show him how some rockers use to leave hotel rooms, or finish their shows in equipment destruction. If one of his parents had taken the damn thing away from him and told him he could have it back when they left, or some other obvious solution, it could have been a nice end to the night. As it is, I am investing in noise cancelling headphones for next year.
My boyfriend said that in past years, their son would jump on my boyfriend’s couch, and his parents half-halfheartedly told him to stop, which the kid never did because the parents suck at follow-through. Because my boyfriend is family, he could have intervened, but he feels it’s the parents job to manage their child’s behavior.
I hate that I’m also the slowest eater of the bunch, and around the dinner table, the kid kept whispering to his father about how much longer I was going to take. I took even longer after that. It was immature, I know, but revenge is still sweet as he had to sit there and wait for me to finish.
After that, I excused myself, and like the Rolling Stones intoned many years ago, I went ‘running for the shelter of her mother’s little helper‘ – Valium. The evening became much more enjoyable, and, of course, they got ready to leave shortly after. That was fine because my anxiety was already so high that the sedating effects barely registered. I considered taking another one, but didn’t want to feel like a Lindsay Lohan trainee anymore than I already did.
Christmas is over, but my plans for next year are already forming: they involve a beach, my boyfriend as a Cabana boy, and no other relatives anywhere in sight.
A girl can dream, can’t she?
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.