By D. Scott
Dear Auntie: My family is trash. During the holidays we have relatives we haven’t seen that show up to eat. There are children of cousins I don’t know running around everywhere unsupervised. My mom acts like she loves everyone and then when they leave talks about them all. My dad passes out drunk on the couch. My sisters never bring anything and my brother brings a new girl to every holiday. I’m getting to the age (22) where I don’t feel I need to come here for fake celebrations. It’s been like this since I was a kid. Any suggestions on how I tell them this is my last holiday? I’m single and prefer to just sit at my apartment and eat a turkey sandwich.
Dear Daniel: You seem upset and determined. Let’s look at your crisis. Your parents are in their own home functioning as the owners. Did it occur to you that perhaps the relatives that show up to eat are continuing with tradition? Perhaps they didn’t have anywhere to go. We are in a pandemic and things are limited. It used to be said that a home without the sound of young children isn’t a home at all. They say the same thing about crying babies in a church. Children are a reminder of life. Maybe your sisters have never been able to afford to bring anything. Even if they could, if your parents didn’t address it… why are you? If your brother brings a new girl to each holiday it lends to him being proud of your family and the gatherings. One wouldn’t bring a date to a trash place on a holiday.
Your view is that the celebrations are fake. There is nothing but authenticity in what you’ve written. It sounds like my family gatherings all over the country. I understand you are young and starting to experience life. Keep in mind you can never experience your parents or family once they are gone. There are many people, such as myself that are adult orphans. We don’t have grandparents or even parents alive for that matter. Unless there is toxic behavior or abuse remember that is your family.
My hope is that you retract what you said here. You don’t have to be fake. You just need to show up, eat your food, put a blanket on your father while he sleeps and peck your mother on the cheek before you leave. You don’t have to continue the tradition in your apartment. For all I know you are the outcast and they don’t enjoy your company either. They still look at you as family. Try to return the favor this difficult holiday season. If you decide to eat the turkey sandwich at your apartment, keep in mind that may have been the last holiday everyone was alive or healthy. Life has a funny way of taking things that we take for granted.