Monday, November 10, 2014

Thanksgiving is Alright for Fighting

I haven't spent a lot of time posting to this blog.  Mostly, I've been filling my time trying to figure out what it was I did to entertain myself before I met Jason.  I've been binge watching a lot of TV, which doesn't feel right-- but hell, I only have three more months before he comes home from Korea.  Who knew another human being could occupy so much of your time?  I was blissfully unaware, until the bastard got on a plane and flew halfway across the world to get away from me for a year.

When I'm not trying to remember what I did when I was single--  I'm on the phone listening to the ever-unfolding family saga.  Fuck!  I'd rather sit in dead silence... which actually isn't true, because despite the fact that the news frustrates me, or makes me cry, or makes me want to drive 12 hours, bang on some doors, and shake some sense into people-- it's the kind of thing I'll look back on and laugh about.

Anyway...  Let's get to the drama.

Earlier this fall, my grandmother decided that at the ripe old age of 86-- she wanted to move into a retirement center. (To the relief of many of us, who felt it was about time).  She's been living alone since February 2007-- when my grandfather past away.  She's battled cancer and survived-- because she's a stubborn, bad-ass old lady.  But despite that awesome fact, the harsh Portland winters have become too much for her to bear on her own, and she wants to move somewhere with people her own age and make some friends.  I applaud her.  Most people her age are already in a home, or being forced into one by their offspring.

I had the unique opportunity to live with my grandmother for several weeks before I made the move to Sacramento.  It was an eye-opening experience, and it's one that has helped me accept the fact that it is time for her to move to the next place.  Not everyone in the family has had this opportunity-- and I think some are having a more difficult time than others dealing with it.

Because we all deal with stressful life changes in our own way-- there's a little bit of drama in the family.  It happens more often to a group of stubborn, proud, Polish women who tend to hold grudges, and bad mouth each other instead of having the difficult discussions.  Mind you, these women are in their late 50's, early 60's.  (If you're rolling your eyes right now, that's ok.  You can join my cousins and I-- we've all been doing that since birth).

Here's the gist of the drama...

Grandma's moving out of the house she's owned for 50+, and into a retirement center the week after Thanksgiving.  So lovely that all this change could happen around the holidays, right?  People are emotional because it's a big, life change-- and the home we all grew up in will soon be sold off to someone else.

Throw on top of that the fact that the old woman needs to get rid of most of her stuff.  Now, some of the stuff no one cares about-- like the pile of about 50 Christmas towels dating back to 1975 that have been sitting in the back of the linen closet since, well 1975.  But there are other things we ALL care about, like these stupid brown and orange plastic bowls that probably cost 50-cents for a set of 100.  But we (the cousins) used them to eat Goldfish Crackers and Chex Mix anytime we went to Grandma & Grandpa's house.  And then, there are things that some of us care about, but others don't... and that will lead you to some bickering and name calling and overreacting.  Sounds reasonable, right?

Now, sprinkle in some old grudges, hurt feelings, and he said, she said-- and you've got yourself a nice steaming pot of Family Drama.  It doesn't help that there are 5 sisters, 9 cousins, and their offspring that all have memories, feelings, and different ways of dealing with life changes.  It would be quite laughable if we could all see the humor in it and find a different way to cope.  But that's not how we do things.

I can't speak for anyone but myself here-- and while I've spent a good deal laughing about how ridiculous this all sounds from afar--  I've also done a good deal of  crying and venting to my poor boyfriend who flew halfway around the world to get away from this shit.  For me, it's not really about the stuff-- what I get or don't get.  It's about the fact that after six decades on this planet together-- my dear, sweet aunties can't find a way to get along and work together.  And it's about the fact that I've seen this before, and I really don't want to watch another fallout.

Let me say something to my older generation now-- I've grown up watching you, learning from you, and admiring you.  You're all amazing women who hold a special place in my heart.  But having watched you all from the sidelines during these life changes over the years-- I've got to say, you all suck at communication.  I've often wondered why you can't get over yourselves, be respectful to each other, and communicate.  I'll be honest with you, that's really the only way to get out of these messy situations and still want to look at each other the next day.

Sure, it's tough.  But as Grandpa would say, "Life's tough.  Get over it."  I'll be the first one to tell you how much I hated hearing that-- but the man had a point.

If you think all this infighting is just between the four of you-- it's not.  It's affecting your spouses, your children, their spouses, and your grandchildren.  I'm mean, for fuck sake-- Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  Is this really how we want to spend our time? I know I don't.  In fact, I honestly just want to come home, put on my fat pants, eat a lot of food and enjoy my family.  To hell with the rest of it.

I know this is a stressful time for all of us-- but get over yourselves.  This is a time for being thankful.  So can we put the hurt feelings aside and remember we have a great, big, loud, overbearing, opinionated, loving family who drives us crazy sometimes?  Can we remember that we are all dealing with the same thing in our own unique ways, that it's hard on all of us, and that instead of tearing each other down we should be building each other up?  And finally, can we all remember that I inherited Grandpa's height, and bluntness-- and if you can't get along I'm going to bust out the boxing gloves and make you fight it out in the backyard while the rest of us eat turkey and watch?  I'm not opposed to smashing some pies in your faces either...

Family, right?  No wonder I need therapy.  Now, who wants to come home with me for Thanksgiving?

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this AND you!! Thank you for blogging about this! It's so refreshing. I'm glad it's out here for "the family" to read. Can we send them all a link with homework to read it before Thanksgiving?

    I need to get me some fat pants and then I'll save a seat for you at the kid table! Bring on Thanksgiving!! xoxo


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