Well, we made it through another Thanksgiving, the third as a married couple and all I have to say is growing up sucks (this was a far nicer way of putting it than I would have liked). Why does the meshing of families mean the death of a season you once loved so much?
Growing up the holidays seemed magical. From the lazy snow falling to my mother’s transformed house, shopping, baking, and EATING! My family is your typical Type A. We have strong traditions and don’t stray from the usual. Sure, over the years things have been adapted accordingly but for at least the past 10 the holiday season has gone as follows: Thanksgiving at my aunt’s (early afternoon) then up to my Grandma’s for the long weekend, Christmas Eve at my mom and dad’s with my Mom’s side of the family, Church at 4, home for fondue and cocktails with just the immediate family followed by gift opening and watching a movie by the fire. Christmas day is left wide open for relaxing and a decadent family dinner that night.
Que my husband’s family; with not a tradition in sight I married into a family that hardly believes in celebrating someone’s birthday. Gatherings aren’t planned until the week of, usually a day or two before. Some years we are north with his dad’s side of the family some south with his moms, some years we have a lunch others a dinner and some we celebrate with just the immediate family while sitting around a table with nuts and grapes in front of us as our “meal”.
Fast forward to married life; I find a stress migraine appears as October turns into November. The thought of the impending holidays is enough to make me go crazy. Oh how I wish I had understanding in-laws; ones that worked to half-way accommodate the fact that we have not one family to appease but two. The saddest part, our families live 4 miles apart (we are high school sweethearts after all).
This year (and if memory serves me, last year as well) I was the good wife and passed on my family Thanksgiving in place of his. Because we go up north and spend the weekend with my grandma I said we could spend the day with his family doing whatever it was they chose to do. A few weeks before my husband received a text from his mom asking what our plans were, furnished with some snarky comment about me and my family and how she assumed we would be spending it with them…and so it begins (so soon she forgets that due to her sensitivity we favor his side on holidays).
This year (on Wednesday) they chose to stay home and invite over a few select family members. We went down early so my husband could help cut up his deer in preparation of their family sausage making (a whole other story I may get into later). As typical at his family functions; no one talked to me. Discussions centered around topics I have no knowledge of (farming) and people I have never met. When a topic I could finally contribute to comes up I find myself biting my tongue so not to start drama (example: his mom kept asking about his cousins wedding pictures, when they would be available for viewing and how she could get her hands on some; in my head I was saying, why do you want to know…you couldn’t even be bothered to buy a single picture from your own son’s wedding).
Once we got in the car to leave I was scolded for not being “friendly” (ouch). My husband made a comment that I looked like I want to die in which case I turned to him and said “sometimes I do.” I know not the right thing to say but honestly. I did elaborate by letting him know how it feels to have no one acknowledge my presence, how he should be thankful that when the topic does turn to something I can contribute to that I bite my tongue, oh and we discussed how he makes the situation no better by hardly acknowledging anything I do say to him.
I feel bad I do. I can’t imagine the position he is in; how it would feel to have your family dislike your significant other to the extent they do, and vice-versa. That being said at what point to you stand up for your significant other? At what point do you tell your parents enough is enough? And at what point do you go out of your way to try to make your significant other feel as comfortable as possible in those uncomfortable situations they are suffering through….for you. Yes, the holiday season is hell for us. Our relationship is tested year after year. Can you imagine what this will be like when we have kids!!! Is it January yet?!?!