Sunday, December 24, 2006

Hard Work

If you have read anything I have written you know a little bit about how I feel or felt about some really crappy stuff in my life. You also know that is not all there is to it. I have some very good memories of my family as well. As with most families similarly afflicted as mine, many of the good and bad memories are inexorably linked. Christmas when I was a child was nice in a lot of ways. We had a large family, and lots of company. That was fun to me. I liked, and still like, being around a lot of people. For me that is still the best and most important part of the holidays. I am not big on the whole compulsory consumerism component of Christmas. I feel like that about Valentine’s Day too. If you need freaking Hallmark to remind you to value your relationship, you might as well pack you bags and leave. My parents had a lot of kids, and hardly any money, hence we did not get everything we wanted for Christmas. We got stuff my parents thought we would like, and stuff we needed. And not a lot of stuff. I am appalled by the sheer volume of stuff people buy their kids. I cannot imagine why any child needs all the crap. When I was a kid, we did funky shit like go outside and play with other kids, or go to the library and read a book. Or do chores around the house, not for allowance, but because we lived there.

When I was little we made birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve day. He liked chocolate with chocolate frosting, just like me. I also made stuff for my Mom and Dad, and grandparents, and older siblings. All of whom ooohed and aaahed over it like it was priceless art. Infinitely cool to me was the holy lean-to. This is what I call the little barn thingy for the crèche figures. I have not been able to unwrap it since my parents died. I get exhausted thinking about it. It has very old ornate figures. They belonged to my grandparents. One of the angels returned to heaven to help God, and one of the wise men is now a double amputee, but other than that, the figures have fared well. My Mom of course kept Jesus tucked away until his birthday, duh. So, when we woke up and found presents from Santa, we also found Jesus had been born. Speaking of which, I obviously still remember the good old days of being the baby of the family, until my younger sister came along and ruined it all for me. Hello, did these people not get the memo about me being the center of the universe? How dare my parents have sex, AND make another baby. Yuck!

It used to drive me nuts when my parents gave me the same stuff as my little sister. I wanted to be different. It just fried my ass that we both got the exact same gift, hence the gift had inherent little sister cooties. Also, my mother was a sicko. That demented woman lied to me when I was a very little girl, before I even started school. Back in the cave man days we did not go to school until we were at least five. I got these ugly ass puffy white boots I very ungraciously and vocally detested for Christmas one year. My mother, the woman who gave me life, the woman who I looked to for comfort in the chaos of the world, lied to me and told me the boots were cool because they were just like the astronauts wore.

Over the summer I asked my younger sister to help me go through my parents Christmas stuff so we could separate it out, and I could send some to my other two sisters, and she and I could take some things as well. My sister kept saying she would help me, but kept putting it off. She has really not done much to help at all. Basically when she helps me it consists of her showing up late, picking a fight, which I infuriatingly have learned not to give her in the past year, then she has a shit fit and goes home, and I do whatever it is alone. With all the things that had to get done in the wake of our parents’ deaths, I have not really had all that much help from any of my sisters. That sucks, but that is how it is, and the reasons are innumerable. I give everybody stuff as I come across it. But I get mad sometimes since I am doing a lot of this alone. My friends would help me, but it is a private thing to me. I want to be miserable alone, and share what I want to share of my feelings and discoveries. Finally right before Thanksgiving my younger sister and I started to go through the Christmas stuff. My sister crapped out after about 20 minutes. I did some alone. My nephew helped me with some, and my sister FINALLY helped me finish last week.

I had really wanted to get some stuff to my older sisters well before the holidays, and I am mad at myself for allowing my younger sister to guilt and stonewall me into subverting my own goal in that regard. Often, in an effort to be cognizant of the fact that others, including others who share my DNA, do not grieve at the same pace or in the same way as me, I am too patient with inconsiderate behavior. It was really hard for me to go through my parents Christmas stuff, and being pissed about doing it months later than I had wanted to, and largely alone did not help. I fondly remembered some stuff we have had since before I was born, and wondered what the hell my parents were thinking about some stuff they brought after I had moved out on my own. These animatronic fiberoptic thingamajigs give me the unholy creeps. I also was sad to discover many things no longer seemed to be here. I know my parents told me more than once that my oldest sister and her kids would come over and shop. This was my parents' cutesy little way of saying they stole stuff when they came to visit. This is also why when she came to visit my Mom would pretend to be asleep and my Dad would keep her entertained outdoors as much as possible. I also know that things were not well taken care of after I moved away. I used to feel guilty for leaving. Not anymore. My Mom and Dad were grown ups, and the choices they made about how to live and care for their home were theirs to make, and the consequences were theirs to live with. I know this because they told me so. It was the greatest gift they ever gave me.

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