Friday, November 21, 2008

Home for Christmas

Well, it looks like I'm going to be home for Christmas. My home, in Houston. By myself. I'm kind of excited. (Don't tell Mom.) My brother and his wife can't make it to Boston this year, and I'm taking the opportunity to ditch. If we were all going to be there, I'd guilt myself into going and then really pay for it. I feel a little bad about leaving my parents childless for the first Christmas in 34 years. But then, my brother and I haven't been children in a very long time. And anyway it about darn time for me to make decisions based on what's best for me, not on guilt and parental expectations.

Mom is pushing for the two of them to fly down here for a few days and then off to see my brother for a few days. My heart sank when she told me that. I'd already started picturing my own peaceful Christmas. Just me and the cat. Make a little turkey, decorate a little tree. Get up when I feel like it and open what ever presents I might have. Listen to some Christmas music and watch a movie or something. No late night church service in the cold. No scrambling around to get the tree decorated and the presents wrapped in time. No last minute cleaning projects or extensive food prep. Something quiet and special and just for me.

At least she told my dad that they'd have to stay in a hotel here. I think Dad is mad, or maybe offended, that they can't stay with me. (This is only by inference, since I'm only allowed to talk to Dad if she's not in the house when I call or if she up to her eyeballs in something messy and can't come right then. And last week when I was slowly coming off that mad with her, Mom had Dad answer my call and talk to me for a while to get the lay of the land and find out if I'd tell him stuff that I wasn't telling her.) (Yes, we get that way when one of us gets a little too up in the other's bidness. I womanfully refrained from mentioning that this whole situation was such a flashback to her relationship with her mother. I thought an imprudent "Your acting just like Grandmom" could blow a perfectly reasonably "U wuz out of ordr and I haz a mad" into a full on cold war, which I really didn't want to have to deal with.

She called today and said that he thinks the whole thing is going to be too expensive and he doesn't want to do it. And now she's sad and hurt. The guilt and the vision of my own little Christmas are battling it out right now. Which one eventually wins will depend on if Mom leaves it alone or if she keeps pushing. If she keeps pushing I'll end up with three adults in a one bedroom, one bath apartment.

If they stay with me they'll have to take my bed and that puts me on an air mattress in the living room. No privacy, no practical way to take a nap during the day. And the Christmas tree will have to be in the living room too, which makes things just that much more crowded. The other option, which I'm afraid Mom might push, is for me to stay in my room and for one of them to take the air mattress and the other sleep on the couch. Now I've taken a fine nap or three on that couch. But anything over a couple of hours is seriously uncomfortable. I would not recommend it. Option Three would be to get them a double or queen sized air mattress, again in the living room with the tree, leaving the main living space crowded in the extreme. We might need to drag a folding table and a comfortable chair into my room so we can play a game or something without feeling like we're tripping over everyone's stuff. I'll have to clean out my little office space- maybe find a way to hang a curtain- so that they can have a private dressing area that's not my bedroom or the bathroom. Because, frankly, I don't share that bathroom well. And three adults taking their showers one after the other (with pauses in between to try a win back a little hot water), and facial cleansing and moisturizing, and painting routines, and teethbrushing, and hair drying and fixing and fluffing.... it all gets to be a bit much. And unless we want unsightly messes on the carpet, we should probably make sure that the cat gets a private moment in there with his litter pan now and then, too. Four days of that would, in the immortal words of Oprah, drive me "foo foo crazy!"

I'm crazy enough, thanks.

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