My initial plan for Christmas: Take the kids to D.C. for the Smithsonian, fly home, and swing by my parents’ house for 2-3 days TOPS for the actual holiday, as I explained to Middle HERE, if you want all the footnotes and primary sources.
Turns out, none of my kids or husbands want to spend a lot of time and money to do those things.
Not exactly outright refusal, but the kind of ass dragging in which it eventually became clear that if the vacation flopped in part or whole, it would kind of be my fault for pushing such a lame idea. I became reluctant to press, as the likelihood of floppage seemed high, due to all the incredible ass dragging.
Husband and kids seemed fine to nix D.C., without considering the consequences – the kids will still be out of school for THREE freaking weeks this winter. So I roosted on my Harpy-Nag perch, and crowed relentlessly about how THREE WEEKS was an eternity, and I was not going to be trapped in my own home with family members who slide, melted, off the couch and complain of boredom! Horrible! Boredom! And then it’s somehow my job, as the mother, to tell them to get off the couch and go do something.
Eventually, my husband agreed we could all go skiing at a local bunny hill, even though we live in Central California, and the warmest clothes we own are fleece lined board shorts and Uggs. So you know, buying a whole wardrobe for growing children, for a one time vacation event. And where does one even buy ski clothes anymore?
Unwilling to lose another vacation to terminal ass dragging and flop sweat, I remained determinedly cheery and super psyched to take the kids skiing, as they’ve never been, and it’s been decades for me and my husband. We’d go skiing, then travel briefly to Mom’s for Christmas, and done.
Which is right about when I remembered Middle and my mom had mentioned this summer that perhaps we could all travel to Tahoe for Christmas, and how, back then, I’d totally rolled my eyes and dismissed this idea. A week living under the same roof as my sisters and their kids and husbands, as well as my dad? And the anxiety inducing tension with my mom? NOPE.
Does anyone else do this? Where you paint yourself into a weird little corner, where you are doing the thing someone invited you to do, but without them, after you said you would never do the thing? Just checking.
So I hesitantly called Middle and my mom and confessed we might go skiing, and I’d remembered they’d wanted to go to Tahoe, and I didn’t want to be the asshole who stole their vacation idea and then excluded them. So… did they still want to try to do that over the holiday? Because, TOTALLY COOL if they didn’t want to do it.
Middle was hesitantly optimistic. Mom was SO SUPER PSYCHED.
You guys, I think my mom is going a little stir crazy stuck in the house with my dad.
A few days later, my mom calls AND emails AND texts the details. She’s rented a house in Truckee, and wants to pay for all the kids to have skiing lessons, and the minimum rental of the house is FOUR NIGHTS. So everyone (My family, Middle’s family, Little’s family, my dad with dementia, and Mom) can live together under one roof and take turns cooking dinner for everyone!! Wheeee!
Does anyone else’s mother do this? Snowball a hesitant idea into a holiday comedy in which the heroine justifiably murders everyone? Just checking.
Honestly, I was at first too flabbergasted to attempt wiggling out of this insanity. I came at it crossways: “Mom, this is like, way too much money for you to spend.”
My mom choked up on the other end of the phone. “Well, remember when all the stuff got stolen? Since nobody wanted the replacement items** I thought I’d spend it on you guys, as your inheritance.”
Which? If you have a mother, you know there is now zero chance of escaping this. Or not feeling like a complete ass for ever wanting to ditch. Or still wanting to.
But as it turns out, I’m… optimistic in such a way I feel compelled to end every sentence describing said optimism with a question mark to illustrate the complex layers of uneasy weirdness. Like, I’m actually hoping it goes well? I’m looking forward to it in a masochistic way somehow? Like, I’m kind of rooting for my mom, since it’s been a long time since she’s been psyched about anything?
Middle was quick to point out that this vacation is, in actuality, PURE FANTASY. “Dad can’t even stay at my house more than an hour before he wants to go home.”
Which seems accurate. When Dad met us in Monterey, he was able to hang out from the hours of 10-11:30 am, before retiring to his hotel room for the remainder of the day (cooping Mom up with him) and only staying that long on the promise they’d leave first thing the next morning.
Also, Little will be there, and things between us have been stilted since our last meet up.
Mom was quick to let us know the vacation rental is completely non-refundable! And she’s sent my kids second-hand store ski suits through the mail!
Will keep you posted.
* Current events excluded, but holy shit, those current events y’all! Sometimes I get on twitter reasonably perky and inquisitive individual, and leave twitter a drooling zombie who hates everyone and everything. Approx. interaction time for this to happen? Like…. 30 seconds/tweets.
** My mom’s a bit of a high-end hoarder. I told her quite firmly not to search the globe for replacement silverware for my kids to inherit, and that a replacement wedding ring that Mom never wore is not worth the trouble (to me). Mom took it hard that I refused… I dunno? Living in Miss Havisham-style menagerie of my mom’s things after she dies, I suppose. Perhaps I should feel guilty for rejecting my mom on such a personal level, but when I’m face-to-face with having to own, in perpetuity, knock-off Luis XIV style butter knives, I just can’t.