Belated, Yearly Obligatory Family Drama

Time and time again I am plagued by my families stress inducing melodrama. No matter how hard I try to keep myself out of it, they manage to suck me back in.

This year, like every year, my Mother and Grandmother fought over who wasn’t going to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. My Mom was supposed to be working all day, and my Grandma is too old to be cooking the entire dinner by herself, so this year I offered to make Thanksgiving dinner at our house. My first mistake. Before leaving for Spain I made plans to host a Test-Turkey Thanksgiving Potluck at our house. The Turkey came out perfect, everyone showed up and ate almost all the food, I got to see my friends and tell them all about Spain. It was tons of fun, which was great since the actual dinner went….not as planned.

The entire week before Thanksgiving my lovely Mother kept reminding me of how my grandparents might not show up because my Grandmother is a hermit and refused to go anywhere for the holidays, except the mall to shop. I had mentally prepared for my grandparents to not show up for dinner since they’re kinda kooky. No big deal. Then I got more reminders from my Mother about how to cook dinner and what to do. I took it all in and tried to stay positive, she’s only trying to be helpful. No big deal. Then I find out my Mother has decided she is going to come over to my house early to help me cook dinner. I didn’t ask for help, but I kept telling myself it’ll be fine. No big deal. Stay positive, my Mom will probably cook everything and I’ll just be watching her make everything. No big deal.

Morning of Thanksgiving my Mom calls me asks if my boyfriend and pick up her husband, then take him to pick up grandparents, then take them to my house for dinner…..why? Her husband broke his ankle and can’t drive to pick up my grandparents, and he’s the only one who can get my crazy grandparents to leave their house for dinner. Problem #1 was that my boyfriend had planned on visiting his family before our dinner, so he was unable to pick any one up. Problem #2 was my Mother then complaining about the situation. Her response to this predicament was, “Great! I knew we shouldn’t have had dinner at your place! You never think about logistics.” Gee, thanks. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Mom. I asked her to bring her husband with her to my house so he could watch the football game and then go pick up my grandparents once my boyfriend got back, she begrudgingly gave in.

I didn’t know how to deal with this lovely bombshell the morning of Thanksgiving dinner, so I did the girly emotional thing and cried to my boyfriend. How could my Mother say this to me the morning of Thanksgiving? Why couldn’t she just be supportive? Why is my Mother acting crazy? It turns out she and her husband had a fight over the logistics, again, of which I had no knowledge of.

My boyfriend and I clean the entire house, get everything ready, move the table, get more chairs, and waited for my Mom to arrive to “help.” My boyfriend and I just finished eating breakfast when she showed up in a tizzy. She had a cloud hanging over her head the moment she entered to door. Moments later she began barking orders and complaining about how she was thanked for coming over to help, to which I replied, “I never asked you to help. You offered, I didn’t say no, and now you’re acting weird and stressing me out. Please calm down and sit, I’ll get things started.” To which she yelled back, “You don’t even have the oven on! How are you going to help? You haven’t gotten up to do anything.” From there it just got worse. I explained to her she needed to chill out and that I felt she hadn’t been very supportive and I needed her to stop being so rude. She refused, I got more upset, and then I told her she had to leave if she couldn’t calm down and be nice. BOMBSHELL!  She accused me of cussing her out, which didn’t happen, stormed out, and never came back. I was astonished she left, that she acted so bizarre, and most of all that she didn’t think she did anything wrong the entire time. That it was okay for my Mother to miss my first Thanksgiving dinner at my home. I was devastated and worst of all, my boyfriend couldn’t go to see his family because he was too busy consoling me and making sure I didn’t stay on the couch crying the entire night.

After a few moments of self loathing my boyfriend encouraged me to get off the couch and start cooking to occupy my mind, which helped. I hadn’t put the turkey in the oven yet and I still had an entire dinner to make, by myself. Despite the horrible fight I was still excited to make Thanksgiving dinner. A few hours later my Mom decided to text me that my Uncle would be bringing the rest of the family to dinner and that she and her husband were staying home. She had a headache and his foot was bothering him. Awesome. And by awesome I mean WTF!? She apologized via text message and assured me I would still be getting my iPhone 4s for Christmas, because you know, that’s what’s important to me (insert sarcasm).

Que to the crying for another ten minutes, and then back to finishing dinner. Focus on dinner. Focus on cleaning the kitchen. Focus on how good the food will taste. Anything to distract me from being disappointed on Thanksgiving. Que a few hours later and my Uncle, Brother, and family are running late. No big deal, they’re always late. Plus, due to the awesome events of the evening the turkey was running late on being done, so they saved me the trouble of having to worry about it still cooking. The moments turn in to anxious minutes, then an hour, than another.

Finally they arrive!

“Where is grandma and grandpa? Did they come with our other cousin?”

“Yeah…they’re not coming. They decided a few hours ago not to come. Where’s your Mom?”

“Yeah…she’s not coming either.”

Awesome. Luckily for me my Uncle was sympathetic to the “Mom Situation” and proceeded to tell me how dinner would be better without them because they would just stress everyone out and complain the whole time. He said my turkey was the best he’d ever had and they happily ate a bunch of food and took some home with them. It was only the six of us (my boyfriend and I, my Uncle, his Wife, his Daughter and my Brother), but it was the least (at the end of the night) stressful dinner we’ve ever had. I felt better after we had all eaten and had a few drinks with dinner. Even though the day didn’t go as planned I have learned one very important lesson: never volunteer to cook a holiday dinner for my family again. For now.

Every year I tell myself holidays with the family will get better, but some how they just get more complicated. Never again. I’ll just cook a pie next time.

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