He scares me. After all the stories I heard of how mean he was when my mom and her brother and sisters were kids, it is hard to want to get to know him. She is nice enough, but has brain damage from a very bad bout of pneumonia that left her without oxygen for too long. She is unpredictable in a childish way; lifting her shirt to show me a scar (god help me) or bursting into tears when talking about her nephew that died. They aren't my grandparents. I don't even consider them family.
It pisses me off that I have to pretend to want to get to know them (as I would never be blatantly disrespectful to them or my mom). I had grandparents. Ones that took care of me, played with me, talked with me, loved me. And now they are both gone and I am not looking for replacements.
Thanksgiving was so uncomfortable. I did anything I could to avoid being in the same room with them, only to be cornered by my aunt who succeeded in calling me a "titty baby" a few times for not getting plastic surgery to fix the after effects (loose skin) of losing so much weight. The only time I actually enjoyed myself was when I was with my sister, her boyfriend, my cousin and his girlfriend. We are all about the same age and it was nice to be able to sit and chat about things that we wanted to; movies, sports, school, etc. We sat down and played cards for almost 2 hours as well. I enjoyed that, but couldn't wait to leave.
And now that brings me to Christmas. Something I dread as well. First and foremost, I enjoy Christmas for the ability to celebrate the birth of my Savior and give back to the community. The thing I enjoy second most to that is being able to go out and see my Dad. With my work schedule, this is one of only two times a year I get to see him. I struggle with everything else.
Christmas with my other family makes me defensive. I don't want their obligatory gifts. The fact that you are buying me something to show me you care just because the date is December 25th ticks me off. You don't show you care any other time, so I don't want you to even bother now. Save your money, it'll just be wasted on someone who can't appreciate your half-hearted attempt "showing love." It's a lose-lose situation, because my family has always worked on the belief that you show how much you love someone by how much you spend on them. I wish every year that my desires of just a small gift card or maybe a new Vera Bradley purse were honored.
Knowing it never works that way, I'm stuck with trying to balance gift giving for everyone else in my family. My sister I tend to spend a little more on because she's still in school and has no money, but I do not want to go overboard on her. The bad thing is, she has experienced much more of the "I love you this much because I bought you this much" message since that is how my Dad is with her. I can see the disappointment on her face when I give her just one thing, or maybe two when she was expecting more. To her, it means I don't love her. Then she goes and spends money she doesn't have on things I don't need to try and show me she loves me. It's a freaking great situation we've got going on. >:(
As far as my mom goes, I'm to the point that everything I think of getting her is so lame (slippers, gift card, etc) that it hardly seems worth the effort. I'd rather find something that we can DO together as opposed to something I can just give her. My sister however, always goes overboard. I swear she spends at least $500 each year on her and wants me to go in on everything she buys. I just don't see the point. My mom would be just as happy to spend time with us as she would with whatever crazy contraption my sister has decided she needs this year. So this year I'm taking my mom, sister, and two youngest nieces to an art studio here in town where they let you paint ceramic plates, bowls, coasters, ornaments, etc and they glaze and fire them for you. My godmother used to have a store like this when we were kids and she would always let us paint something for Christmas. My mom used to do this very often as well so I thought it'd be something fun for all of us to do together. She was so excited about the idea, especially being able to bring the girls and starting a fun tradition with them. My sister on the other hand was like "That's it? What else are you getting her?" *sigh*
All of this "fake" love and obligatory actions tends to put me in a very depressed, somewhat passive-aggressive mood. It doesn't take much to trigger me into a deeper depression, where I fall into the traps of old habits and thought processes and re-route all my pain, anger, sadness, everything that the holidays brings me into myself, where I hold onto it and let it eat me alive. But I'll always put on the happy face... until the holidays blow over and I'm left with a dark cloud of depression and anger that will take me months to get out of. Yay, Christmas.