The Truth About Family

While I may have alluded to it in the past, like yesterday, for example...there are some members of my family who fall under the category of crazy. One of them is my mom. I have to say, though, that her brand of crazy is the well-intentioned, though sometimes completely off-her-rocker crazy. She has a big heart, and I love her anyway. To prove his amazing ability to choose women with the crazy genes, my father later married my stepmother, who lived right up to his expectations.

She is of the less self-aware sort of crazy, which is the nicer way of saying that she is blind to the fact that she's nuts. She tends to be on the overly critical side...of everyone but herself. If she has an opinion, whether or not she has that opinion based on something she really believes, or if it's simply regurgitated from a source she considers to be qualified to feed that opinion to her, it becomes fact. Because she believes it. Can't argue with that logic. Actually, you can, but then she'll play the victim of your insensitivity and she'll cry about it for so long, you'll wish you'd have just let her live in her own demented world.

This usually doesn't bother me, because it's not like I have to live with her. If my father wants to be married to a woman who voted for Bush...twice...and who only finally had anything bad to say about him when his approval ratings finally fell to like 2%, then so be it. However, there are times when her ill-timed criticisms of others cause strife in the whole family...like hmmmm...Christmas! That would be a great time to turn on the bitchiness. Way to embrace the spirit of the holidays.

So, it helps to point out that crazy mom and crazy stepmom are not the biggest mutual fans of one another. It probably didn't help that when I was a little kid, they would talk trash about each other in front of me, and I didn't quite get the whole "discretion is the better part of valor" thing yet. I was 9. What the hell did I know? I didn't understand that when my mother said stepmom barked at the moon, it was something I should not inquire about when stepmom came to pick me up at mom's house. Oops. Whatever, serves them both right for talking the smack to a little kid.

Anyway...so Christmas is approaching, and with the new grandbaby around, and Lillian just about to turn 2, you would think that all grandparents, step or otherwise, would suck up their 2 decade long issues and make nice, so we could all have a nice holiday visiting with my sister and her newly larger family. My sister and I even planned things (ok my sister did all of the real work) so that we could spend time with each side of the family separately, during the week of Christmas. Since Christmas day has been traditionally and forever my mom's holiday, we'd hang with her that day, have lunch with her the next day (my birthday), then spend time with dad and his wife. The other days would be largely non-mom inclusive, since she lives 2 minutes from sister and babies, so she is generally good with letting out-of-town family get some quality time in while she goes about her business. Add to the fact that my mom has no other close family, no husband, and I'm sure you could understand why leaving her alone on Christmas day is not an option. My dad and his wife have each other. My sister and I were going to put them up in a really cute B&B for that night and send them to dinner as a Christmas gift, something they'd never think to do for themselves. They have the traveling imagination that stretches about to a Comfort Inn.

My dad was on board. He's a team player. He thought it was a really nice idea, and was all ready to go with the flow. Until my stepmother decided that the flow? It was too easy. She is abandoning Christmas. Not just deciding to wait until the day after to show up, which is what my sister originally suggested, but actually not joining us for Christmas at all, not going to meet the new baby or to go see her grandchild who will be turning 2 years old a couple of weeks later, even though she hasn't seen Lillian since before she was walking. Why, you may wonder? Because she "cannot handle being nice to my mother"...you know, just in case she is forced to be in the same room with her for 3 minutes at some point that week. Seriously? That is some childish nonsense. The ironic thing is that this is the exact sort of behavior the stepmother has always accused my mother of...selfish and disregarding of other people's feelings.

It's infuriating and though my sister is acting like she is just fine with it, she is uber sensitive, and come Christmas, she will be feeling guilty about the whole thing. If there is one way to piss me off immensely, it's to upset my sister. I won't be feeling guilty. I am, in fact, thinking of sending my stepmother this Christmas card:

1 comments:

Uncle Bracelet said...

OH SNAP!

First of all, I'm proud of you for busting out a post this long. Well done!

Also, if it helps I could show up acting just like your step mom. I could make ridiculous statements of fact like, "Flu bugs have become more virulent since Mexicans starting sneaking into our country." or "Evolution has never been proven. Teaching it to kids is what's wrong with our society."

Just let me know. I gots more where those come from. Fo'shizzle.