Turkey Day & Dreidels Too

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  And Chanukkah starts.  I’m kind of ready for both, which is better than not being ready for either.  We have the menu done and the food bought, and part of it is already made.  The girls gave me their wish lists, and I’ve looked at them.  I’d love to buy them everything on the lists, and then some.  Unfortunately, between cheer, a senior trip, an eighth grade trip, two graduations and a kid starting college next year it will be a holiday season about being with family, and not about the few gifts there will be.  As it should be anyway.

I do have a gift for each of them for tomorrow night.  Oldest One is getting a sweatshirt for the college she will attend next year, and Little One is getting a cute top and tank to go under it.  Oldest One helped me buy the top for Little One (she is convinced she alone is keeping her little sister from being awkward) and in the process found an outfit for herself.  I’ll be wrapping it up as her 2nd Chanukkah gift.  I have no idea what I’m giving Little One for her second gift, but I really need to get on that.

Because we do both Chanukkah and Christmas we realized after one crazed holiday that we needed to manage the amount of gifts.  So the girls get 2 very nice gifts for Chanukkah, and then they get more gifts for Christmas, but those also include socks and sports bra type of items.  Not having grown up with Christmas, I early on decided stocking stuffers had to have chocolate, and then practical stuff like chapstick and hand lotion.  The girls include those little items on their wish lists.  I’m hoping to have a little money left over after putting on the feast tomorrow and paying the end of month bills to do some online shopping.  Husband will probably have to be content with new underwear this year…he did ask for that specifically.

I’d like to say I’m excited about tomorrow, but I’ve learned not to have expectations for big holidays.  Expectations lead to disappointment, and to crankiness.  So, I’m looking forward to not having to get up early, and to eating good food.  Beyond that everything else, such as family getting along, will be icing on the cupcake.  I’ve warned the girls that as soon as their Grandparents arrive (Husband’s Mom and Dad) we will be taking pictures.  Last year I didn’t get the pictures, and I know my in-laws really like them, so I’m going to push everyone into the backyard early, and get those taken.  After that, no schedule, no plans, we will take it as it comes.

No matter what tomorrow brings, or how many people show up (we could have 3, we could have 15, fun to plan the food!) I know that Friday morning I can sleep until Noon if I want.  Well, 11:30, I have something going on at Noon.  I get to watch two of my favorite movies this weekend, When Harry Met Sally and Love Actually – we watch them every Thanksgiving weekend.  We will put our tree up, and Husband will put up lights outside.  I think I am having expectations here, but that is okay, the expectations have nothing to do with Thanksgiving itself, just what happens afterwards.  And I have plenty of chocolate to get me through if these expectations don’t go as expected.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Chanukkah!

Guilty for No Guilt

I have not invited my Mom to Thanksgiving this year, and I don’t intend to.  I should feel guilt, or sadness, or something like that, but what I really feel is stupendous relief, and some confusion that I don’t feel guilty.  I almost feel guilty for not feeling guilty.

I would probably have to have some sort of communication going with my Mom to invite her, which isn’t currently happening.  Again, I should feel some sort of guilt, but all that is there is relief, and the nagging feeling something is wrong with me for not wearing a hair shirt over this.  But I enjoy not having the big boulder on my shoulders weighing me down, even though I know at some point it will be back.

I admit that I did make a conscious decision to just not contact her anymore back in October, because I couldn’t take how awful she was making me feel about myself, and that every encounter left me crying.  And I’m not even a crier.  Once I realized I didn’t have to respond to the hurtful text messages, and I didn’t have to call her and be given a list of my wrongdoings and shortcomings I cut about 80% of the emotional stress out of my life.  I was quite startled the day I realized how much better I was doing because I wasn’t communicating with her.

But now the holidays are rolling around, so of course I briefly thought about her, and just as quickly let that thought go.  Last year she only came for dessert on Thanksgiving, and it was awkward and uncomfortable and full of her snarky remarks about our meal that she didn’t eat.  We were all relieved when she left.  Thanksgiving will be a long day as it is, and I don’t see any reason to make it longer than it needs to be.

All of this really goes against what I feel a good daughter should be and do.  I want to support my Mom, and be there for her, and make sure she is taken care of.  And I have done that, especially after my Dad passed away.  I truly feel it is important for parents to continue to be involved in their children, and then grandchildren’s lives.  But if the parent is only causing bad feelings on the part of the child and the grandchildren then being a good daughter might just have to be secondary to being a good parent and plain old self-preservation.

For all the relief at the absence of the stress I can’t shake the feeling something is wrong with me for feeling this way.  Not enough to contact my Mom, but enough that it is in my mind.  Okay, maybe what is really in my mind is the dread feeling that she will just appear at the door in the late afternoon on Thanksgiving, expecting to come in and be met by open arms.  She does that kind of thing.  I don’t have a clue about what I would do if that happened.  Somehow, I don’t think running away screaming is really an option.