So here it is, the holiday season. The season of where neurosis comes home to visit, even the ones you don't see most of the time. Like the Martha Stewart neurosis, that wants to make hand-made Christmas cards, twenty kinds of cookies, and a real rack of lamb for twenty. I don't have too much trouble keeping that one under control. Although I did actually BUY Christmas cards this year, and I wrote a short and sweet Christmas letter. Sort of funny but not over done. No bragging, really, and no talking about things best left unsaid. Surprisingly discreet.
The neurosis I can't control, try as I might, is the one that wants to make sure the family plans are set. I don't think I'm entirely unreasonable on this one. Bob and I both have family in town and want to spend time with them. Our son and his family have to deal with both of our families, plus Katy's mother's family and her deceased father's family in her hometown. There is an intricate mix of want to be together feelings and obligated to be together feelings. And there are things I'd like to do like make ornaments, bake cookies (not twenty kinds), and read meaningful stories.
And then there is life, which continues to happen. Mark's school, Bob's work, my work. All of the preparation for the tax season. Cleaning the house and the office so I can think straight. (Is that neurotic?)
And so, in order to not go
Which is why my mother-in-law rolls her eyes and acts like I'm difficult when I ask for a commitment in early November. So this year, I said, we are having Thanksgiving dinner at my brother's house on Thursday at 3:00. In the past we've had the dinner on Friday, and I'd like to do it on Thursday this year. What are your plans, I hope I'll be able to be there? And although we are willing to eat two Thanksgiving dinners in one day, I kind of hope I don't have to do it.
And her plans are to have dinner at 12:00 or maybe 12:30ish on Thursday. BUT she won't be there because she's having surgery on Tuesday. She wants us to go to a cafeteria or buffet or something and be together. Without her. Bob says, Mom, don't feel you have organize something for Thursday, it would be great to do something later when you feel better. She says, no, it has to be Thursday. Even though she won't be there.
I say, ok, but I can't make it. I hate cafeterias (more neurosis) and I have other stuff to do. Bob says ok.
Then, she tells Bob that his sisters won't be there because they have other plans, but we should still go out with his brother's family. Even though she won't be there. And neither will his sisters. But it has to be Thursday. Bob says, let's do it later. Like in December. When she will be well enough to enjoy it. So, ok, it's going to be Friday and we are supposed to bring something but I don't know what and she will still be unable to enjoy it. And neither will I. But I will be there, and I will be cheerful and happy-looking.
Now, this is the thing. I had plans for Friday. Not meeting someone plans, but clean the house, catch up with Mark's virtual lessons, make cookies (not twenty kinds). Take the on-line class on Non-profit information tax returns. Read. Write. Sleep.
OK, some of you may now be thinking that I am being churlish, and maybe I am. Maybe the holiday neuroses are just too much for me today. Maybe I should just buck up and go to the damn family dinner even if it is at a cafeteria and I'm afraid of cafeterias. Maybe I should just learn to go with the flow.
Or maybe people should just freakin' learn to plan ahead.