Almighty Travelogue - Edition 3rd (Christmas)

DISCLAIMER: See part 2 about part 1. :)

December 23rd, 2008 - Tuesday
Merh. This day is going to happen in summary version, because I forgot to write it down before I forgot what happened. Oops.

Anyway, I'm sure it involved lots of present wrapping, and I know for a fact that I went shopping with my Mommers. And loved it. Because I love my Mommers and spending time with her! We were especially looking for a ring for my little sister that we didn't find the day before with my bros.

We went to a number of stores and malls and looked and looked and looked. We even went to KOHL's which is my mom's #1 ADDICTION. While we were at the mall (that I specifically selected for my bro J's present, I popped into a bookstore and nabbed book 3 of the trilogy I was giving him, so he'd have all three. Score. Eventually we found a ring that we liked, was NOT $100, and would fit her, and went home happy. I think I took my mom out to I had the year before, but I can't remember where.

The rest of the day is a blur, though my 3 younger bros all settled in and we started playing an Xbox game together. Mmm, bro kinship. My mom wanted to have a family activity and go to the movies. Awesome! Which one?

When the words Beverly Hills Chihuahua came out of her mouth, I literally fainted. Just keeled over on the floor right there. Say what the [expletive]?! You want to see what? She repeated herself and I... well I continued shrieking in a confused mix of hilarity, pain, and utter bewilderment that not only was there a person on the planet WILLING to SEE that movie, it was my mother, while remaining mildly unconscious on the ground. We kindly asked her to reconsider. For our sakes.
So she did. She sat down, conferred with the sisters, and the Pops and they refined their choice.

High School Musical 3.

BWUAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA. I lost all control. I...just...who WERE these people? You want us to have a family outing, and yet you have 3 males over the age of 18 and want to go see [edited for the children]?!?!?!!!! *continues for 5 more minutes of unaided distress to scoff and scorn and laugh uncontrollably*

Needless to say the outing split. My 'rents and the two sisters went to movies. The four boys continued to play their Xbox game. BWAHAHAHA. I'm sorry... *shakes head* High School Musical 3. What an improvement over the previous choice... merh, N O.

December 24th, 2008 - Wednesday
The eve. I think we stayed up late the night before(?) and thus slept in. Don't really remember. There was more present wrapping I'm sure, as well as eating, and the like, then J, Ry, and I went to play some Ultimate Frisbee. It was an all-invited, all-ages game so we had everyone from 50yr old men to 10yr olds, so it wasn't the most *dynamic* of Frisbee games ever played. But we enjoyed ourselves. A shower later and then some relaxing (more video game? Bah. I didn't write these two days down) it was finally Christmas Dinner Time. The Grandparents had come up from Leesburg like every other year to join us in eating and celebrating. I was tired and not feeling well (I'd been sick ever since returning from Ohio) which was interesting for me since that happened LAST year too. I ate a little (Bro was kind enough to dish my plate) then lay on the couch until it was showtime.

Christmas Eve at my house is the dawn of all celebration and festivity. I love this time. Family togetherness, bonding, love, and remembering Christ. It's just wonderful. So we gathered around (with some rearranging since it's hard to get 10 people into a circle when the Christmas, the gaping mammoth of presents, and furniture is also filling the same room), and read the Christmas Story out of Luke 2. Krysten was declared the reader (since it was the first Christmas where she could speak English, 2nd Christmas being in our family) and managed through it (there are some big, difficult words in that Luke chapter!) Then as family tradition dictates, all the kids got to open one present from their siblings. I tried to opt out since at 25, I'm not exactly a "kid" but my mom insisted. I don't even remember which one I opened, but I'm sure it was great, lol. Then off to bed with us.

Permit me another moment of holiday reminiscing. Since I can remember us boys have ALWAYS loved Christmas Eve because it was the one night of the year we ALL (5) got to sleep in the SAME ROOM! We would consistently get in trouble for too much giggling, talking, wrestling, etc., even to the point of threats of no Santa, but somehow he always came. The tradition continues that at the absurd hour of 2 or 3am, after we KNOW Santa has come, but way too early to wake the parents, we'd all wake up and in a gang rush out to see the pickings. We weren't allowed to touch any of the presents, especially not the ones that Santa brought, but we were allowed to open our stockings. So we'd all wake up super duper early, run out, rip open our stockings, compare the findings, and then go back to sleep until the parents deemed it was late (early) enough for the real haul to begin. It got more complicated when my first sister was adopted, but my parents let her sleep in the same room sometimes, and then as she got older, sleep across the hall with our doors open. My older brother is now married and far away and only comes every other year, and let's be honest, I'm not as "kid" as I once was (though all will defend my "kid"ness remains in force). Last year when Krysten joined our family, 'Stas had someone to share the room with, and Krysten's friends from Ukraine were here too, so there were 4 girls and 4 boys (my older bro now has a wife and doesn't join in anymore).

That brings us to present. I'm 25, and my mom had told me earlier in the year that my stocking was being retired because I'm too old, which I was fine with. Then she told me that BigBro didn't come (year to visit his in-laws) that my stocking was re-instated. Well, I didn't realize so much of tradition rested on the KID in me, but apparently it does. I opted to sleep in my own bed, thinking that the other 3 would just continue the tradition in my absence. Turns out that's not true, and Ry, still being 12, was super bummed out because the 21yr old bro and the 19yr old didn't want to participate either. Sigh. Being a Big Brother can be so hard sometimes. Since no one else was participating, a dejected Ry came to crash with me. Agh. So I set my alarm for 3am because I'm just awesome like that.

December 25th, 2008 - Thursday
3am came and we got everyone up, except J who had already opened his (punk) and wouldn't come out again. We even got Krysten up who absolutely HATES our tradition (and hated it last year as well). We opened up the treats (I got SPF Sunscreen for snowboarding, a glasses cleaning kit, and some new pumpkin carving knifes (which, bless my mother's soul for trying, were too big for me to use).

Then back to bed until like 8am. Or 9am. I can't remember anymore which it is. Anyway, I woke up a bit early and was totally in the mood to just whip up Breakfast for everyone! It would be so awesome! Some eggs, maybe pancakes, a little bacon, it was going to be delicious. But just as the amazingness-that-would-be-breakfast coalesced in my mind, it was killed. Because my mom got up. And she was making Christmas Quiche. This is a recent/semi-new tradition in our home, (one I'm quite okay with), and so I didn't get to make breakfast after all. The rest of the family filed out slowly and amid Quiche, we opened the presents.

My silbings all loved their gifts (because I rock at giving!) even though the sheets I fought for over a year to find weren't *quite* right for my Mom. :( I tried SO HARD! I made out with: Heroes Season 2, Myst V, a new plush warm blanket, sausage and cheese (which I always get! and love!), a wireless mouse, a psychedelic acid-inspired 1000 piece puzzle, a new brown belt, a new black belt (which is so shiny and chic) and a new clock radio (mine broke!) that not only automatically sets itself (once you have this, you can NEVER go back) AND displays the time on the wall, but ALSO totally docks with my shiny ipod I bought myself a few months ago. I'm missing like 2 or 3 presents I got, but again, I didn't write them down soon enough to remember. Which = lamesauce.

After the hours-long opening was done (think about 10 people each getting every one gifts, and you easily have 100+ presents, opened one at a time!) we settled in to enjoy our new toys and such. We had hoped to have some kind of family activity, but my mom didn't seem to have anything planned. The bros wanted to continue our game, so we discarded all our new stuff and headed to my bro's apartment to take the game to his ridiculously huge TV. In the ensuing transfer, Ry only brought one controller which gave us only 3 and 4 players. So we called my dad and he was nice enough to bring us the other one. When he made it over, he brought his new Star Trek: Voyager DVDs my mom got him, and we convinced him to watch one with us.

And he agreed.

And that was the beginning of Christmas D I S A S T E R.

My mom kept texting my dad telling him to come home, and we kept saying, just a few more minutes (because we wanted to keep watching), and it just all spiraled out of control. I can't remember what she texted my bro J, but after my dad left, he got texts to the extent of her being so mad she was sorry she'd ever birthed us. O.O That's pretty pissed. We thought she was being a little over the top. We cut the game, called it quits, and went home. When we got there, we filed in one by one and all of us hugged my mom, and apologized for our mistake. Thoroughly apologized. All four of us. She pretty much blew us off and kept playing a game with my grandparents and Dad. They were interacting so everything was fine, right?

The rest of the night passed with nothing eventful enough for me to remember. But the broken shell that had once been Christmas would take a long time to pick up.

December 26th, 2008 - Friday
My not being 100% on the health scales continued and I found myself up early hacking and coughing and trying to be quiet. I turned on the kitchen light to get some Orange Juice. Before I can finish filling my cup, out stalks my mom.

Mom: "Why is this light on?"
Me: "Uhhh...because I was drinking O.J.?"
CLICK! She flicked the light off and stomped away.

I could tell her anger from yesterday was still thick and at the forefront.

I said sorry once again, and tried to explain that had we known, none of yesterday would have happened.

She turned back and snapped, "Whatever, you knew."
Me: "No, we didn’t."
Mom: "Yes, you did. I said that I didn’t want to be left alone, and you knew that. I can’t help it if you are all idiots."

(Note: She had my grandparents, and my two sisters, so she wasn't alone, but I guess, she was being specific about my dad?)

Me: "Whoa. That was a little uncalled for."


Then, "I’m sorry that you think it was uncalled for. I don’t. And I’m angry."

Me: "You have every right to be angry. No one is telling you not to be."

She went back in her room, then after a minute, came back. "It wasn’t even that he went. Or that he stayed. It was that he didn’t tell me. If he had told me he was staying, I would have been okay with it."

Me: *listening*
Mom: "But he didn’t. And this isn’t the first time. It happens all the time."

Silence. Me: "So how long are you going to be angry?"
Mom: "Forever."

O.J. still in hand, I was now looking up at the Christmas present she gave my dad. Re-mastered copies of their temple wedding. Me: "Don’t you think that’s a long time?" I mean, how does that compare to your forever union?

Mom: "I don’t know how to heal a wound this deep."
Me: (off-handedly) "So you’re getting a divorce?"

And that jarred more than anything else she'd said. Not the first time, she'd said. I wanted to let my cup of O.J. fall to the floor and shatter, the same way my brain was. My parents have ALWAYS been the absolute epitome of union, harmony, and love. Married to your best friend, that's my parents. Never in my 25 years of life had I seen them fight. Quarrel. Disagree. I STILL have firmly etched in my mind how completely vehement my father would become any time any one of us ever tried to disrespect my mom. Nothing could come between my parents... but this? I was shocked. I moved and sat down on the couch to try and salvage something of my parent's image in my mind.

My mom had stalked off, and now she came back again. "I’m hurt a lot right now."
Me: "That’s completely believable. You have every right. Dad messed up."
Mom: "And what’s worse," she started breaking down and crying, "is that I bought that for him. *I* wanted to watch it with him."
Me: "We only watched one episode. Why can’t you start over and he watch it with you?" Honest question. Fair and valid. Why not?

Once again, she didn't respond.

Eventually, she said, "I’m hurting so deep right now, and I’m using anger because it helps me feel better. I don’t want to hurt."

I'd already figured that out by now, but it was good to hear her say it. I thought we were making progress and that maybe now that she knew that, she would be able to work through it, and begin to let it go.

I got up and tried to hug her, to hold her. She was at the breaking point now and ready to bawl. But when I approached, she pulled away from me. "Just leave me alone."

Rejected. I had slowly, painstakingly, as tactfully as I could, maneuvered, posed questions, and stripped away all the layers of her front to get at the wound. Then once I'd found the broken, battered, still bleeding mom drowning in anger and masks, she pushed me away.

So I retreated. As I always do when I feel rejected, whether I want to or not. I went back in my room and shut the door. But I wasn't ready to give up.

I could still communicate without directly being in her way. Without being directly pushed away. So I sent my mom a text: "Dear mom, i luv u tons n am so sry u got hurt. I wanted 2 go on a walk with u 2 talk but u r shopping with gma and i don’t know if u are ready to hear the answers i think will help u. Plz let me knw whenev u want 2 go. I am patient n will be ready whenev. Right now i listen n will leave u alone like u asked. Love, D."

She took the bait. Mom: "Answers to what"

Me: "2 the ?s that remain, the anger u don’t want 2 abandon, and the pain that u cannot see beyond. I have lived all these, and know how 2 move beyond them. All in time. I will wait. More luv, D."

Mom: "Each time a wound is reopened it goes deeper and takes longer 2 heal"

Me: "I do not disagree. AT ALL. 1000% correct."

Mom: *after some delay* "Go back to sleep"

She was on her way out with my Grandma to go shopping, so I waited in my room until I was sure she was gone, then I emerged. The day went alright until my mom came home, then we all did our best to give her a wide berth. I spent a good amount of time in my little sister's room helping her with a puzzle that she got for christmas of glow-in-the-dark wolves, and we talked. Really talked. Which is good for her, because being enemies with my mom and her big sister, she doesn't really have anyone to go too. She loves when I'm home and that she has someone who cares about her. We spent most of the evening doing that until it was bedtime, and then I slept. 'Stas kept her light on reading a book though, and got the full wrath of my still-wounded mother. So did my little brother. *Sigh*

My own family was broken, and it was going to be up to ME to fix it? I've been through a lot, and I'm pretty strong, but this? REALLY GOD? W H Y...? Why is this on ME? My dad wouldn't talk to her, neither of my sister's were in a position too, and my brothers either didn't care, lacked the empathy necessary to get anywhere, or were too young. That meant the job of marriage-repairman fell to me. Well, I *didn't* want the job. I went to bed that night feeling heavier than ever.

Hell. Christmas break is ALWAYS hell at my house.

More is forthcoming...


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