The current problem I have with not spending holidays with my mother is two-fold: I am an Only Child and she is the Only Living Parent I have. Sometimes we enjoy each other's company and have a good time. As with most families, there are the usual bumps along the Road Of Life, but the situation in mine is growing worse each year.
Can you relate? If not, you are truly lucky/blessed. Or, you don't fall prey to Guilt Trips as easily as I do, and have happily crossed-off being with "family" on holidays to have a semblance of sanity and pleasant times with an Extended Family, which is how it "used to be" until time moved-on and my mother's age continued to climb into the Danger Zone children must face with ageing parents…knowing that each holiday could be the last with a loved-one; therefore "biting the bullet" and gathering together with them in rituals our societies hold sacred.
In writing another personal story rather than a political or Something Else Thingy, I'm hoping to shed the mental and emotional burden I'm feeling at the moment. I could simply write about what happened in a private journal; however, I don't intend to go into detail on the problems in this post, but, instead, feel that it's important to express the dilemma many of us feel about being with relatives on every holiday, every year, when chances are strong that there could be a messy ending to what we have been taught "should" be Happy Times!
Why do we, in varying cultures and societies, place so much pressure on ourselves to Be Happy on holidays? We are bombarded via advertisements to Enjoy-Enjoy-Enjoy and Buy-Buy Something for whatever the holiday may be. We are exposed to images of the Classic Genial Family Eating Food and Drinking Stuff while little children run and dash around in the background giggling and blowing bubbles. Some families are like that. Others not-so-much.
Not everyone is always in a great mood. Why should holidays be different? If one's happiness must be forced, then what gain is there? Isn't it as Fake As Fake Can Be to faux smile at the camera when you'd rather punch the person sitting next to you? Or, the person next to you wants to slap you? I'm not suggesting we show-up to family gatherings with a snarl or an unwillingness to be nice, kind, helpful.
However, if we know we may not be good company, or that our hosts may not treat us with respect, then why go? Why ruin not only our day but the experience of others? Why do we turn ourselves into masochist's just because a calendar tells us that a certain day is "special"?
The only calendar I care about is Mayan – and thus far it appears that The End many worried about from that piece of archaeological history did not arrive in 2012. So, what good is a calendar anyway other than helping us keep track of Life? Does it need to Control Our Lives, too?
With regard to the Current Issue with my mother, again I'll say, in another way, that unless one has a very Hard Heart, it is a Nice Thing to Be There for one's Only Living Parent who does not have other children. I do and have tried. And, in truth, I know my mother has "tried" as well to accept my flaws and to be there for me on Special Occasions as well. BUT, sometimes when two powerful forces collide, it's an explosive situation. And ours happened on a Perfect Night for fiery confrontations. Something combustive was "in the air."
Perhaps both of us took the 4th of July Fireworks too much to heart.
Image via: http://chroniclesoffibro.blogspot.com