Monday, November 8, 2010

Home (Alone) For The Holidays

I never realized that I'd come to appreciate celebrating holidays on the actual date like normal people.

When I was in high school, one of my erstwhile beaux had a brother whose job forced him to work on the family modified their celebrations around his schedule. I found it a bit weird, but that year, I went to both of their family Thanksgiving dinners AND ours...and I was pretty turkeyed out by the time it was all said and done. The point of the holiday is to get together with your family, so I guess whether you can actually meet on the appointed Thursday isn't relevant in the grand scheme of things- just keep in mind that Everything in the Known Universe grinds to a total halt on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It's kind of tough to be single and living alone on the "family holidays", when your family isn't prepared to celebrate them the day of. My sister has a really crappy job schedule that, ever since she's worked there, has pretty well precluded our having a normal family holiday- oh, and did I mention that it's a little depressing that her in-laws live in Denver, and my brother-in-law is a stickler for observing the accurate "Married People Family Holiday Trade-off"? While it sucked that there was a blizzard in Denver that shut down the airport a couple of years ago, I'll be honest and admit that I was relieved that the cancelled flights resulted in their presence at our family table for Christmas.

However, for numerous consecutive Thanksgivings and Christmases now, I've rolled around my house in Lake Redneckville by myself because my folks were waiting for my sister so we could have the 'whole family' for the traditional celebrations. I was mortified when one of my friends from work realized that I was alone for the actual holidays and invited me to a 'lonely people holiday thing' at his church...and I was also really embarrassed by the idea of going to Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving because it would've been clear at my table for one that I had nowhere else to go- so I stayed home, watched DVDs, and waited for my cue to head to Smalltownland to cook on the appointed 'more convenient' day.

This is when being independent and careerist scares the hell out of me. No husband, no children, aging parents, and a sister who informed me on the day she married that she 'had a family of her own now'...and it really, truly frightens me. I love my pets, but social conditioning kind of inculcates the idea that one is supposed to spend the holidays with one's family.

I remember the Easter following my sister's near-fatal car accident, when I was trapped at SFU by our parents' nursing of her and my car-lessness. Having burned all my contacts the previous semester getting home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I turned to a distant cousin who happened to be going back to my mother's home county. I felt like a fool when I telephoned my aunt to ask if it was okay for me to come to their house for Easter. Even though I know that I could probably pack up and go to my mother's people, that lone Easter was enough to convince me that I didn't want to impose myself on them for another holiday ever again.

It's silly. I know it is. I'm just dreading it, that's all- in a couple of weeks, when I have nowhere to be. I guess I'd better lay in a few good DVDs in advance, so I'll have something to do until it's time to drive over and start cooking, two days after the fact.

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