Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thankful that the past is the past
I like Thanksgiving. It's alot of work and takes some planning, but I like it. The baking, cooking, decorating is all good. The afterwards is always better because then you have leftovers, which I have not idea why I love, but I do. Nothing better in the whole world than a turkey & dressing (not stuffing) sandwich with cranberry sauce and mayo. OMG, I can hardly wait. But it's not my favorite holiday and that is because of my growing up time.
My Mom and Dad were an odd couple. Dad never wanted anyone but his family (the northern New Mexico royalty) around. Mom always wanted all her chickens in one nest. My sister and brother and their families swelled the number of persons eating to 15 when we all got together. Mom was in her glory. Had all of her minions in attendance. But the funny thing was, she wasn't very close to any of us. She loved us, don't get me wrong, but she never was very lovey if you know what I mean. Never a hugger, was never constant with her affection, it was spotty at best.
Mom came to NM from Tenn. with two kids and lots of emotional baggage. My Dad was from here and relentless. He just would not let her go once he found her. He promised to "love and take care of her kids" once they were married but that was an empty promise. After I was born, and probably before, he was abusive to them. Verbally, physically and spiritually. My father was a mean SOB. He and Mom saw fit to hold me up as the "perfect" child and rub that in my sister and brother's faces (11 and 12 years older than me). I think in some ways they always disliked me and fought against that feeling knowing it wasn't my fault but as kids, I would have disliked me too. Seeing me get things they had wanted but were refused. Doing things that they never would have gotten away with.
My sister got married and left home in her senior year. My brother joined the Air Force and was gone by the time I was in first grade. I didn't know what step sister and step brother were, but they sure did. As an adult, it was a shocker to understand just how they felt about me and the abuse they suffered. I can't tell you the heartbreak and stupidity I felt when my Mom passed away 8 years ago and I found out their truth. I guess that as long as Mom was alive, that truth would not be spoken. Duh. There ya go Ms. Brainless of the 20th century. Paint me green and call me stupid.
So to say the least, holidays were a strain. I didn't have a clue why, when I was a child. My Mom would start fussing about and try to make everything perfect as though that would make it better. She would not allow anything not to be perfect, it was maniacal. My Dad griped about everything: the money spent, the mess, the noise, the laughter, he was awful. At Christmas, he would do the clean up of the paper and always somehow managed to throw out one of my nieces or nephews new toys or break some one's present. He was a mean SOB. Family gatherings were torture. And to make matters worse, my brother the antagonizer, I'm sure he is up in heaven laughing his butt off at this remark, would be twice as loud, make a bigger mess, get the kids wound up, and just plain taunt the old fart to say something to him. Which my Dad never did, except under his breath. That's because they actually got into a fist fight one year. Oh my goodness, it kinda makes me ill typing about it.
Thanksgiving hasn't been bad in a number of years. My brother, my Mom and Dad are all deceased and none of the rest of us get together any more. So when I tell you that I don't much care for Thanksgiving.....I mean the ones in the past. Because that is where they are, in the past. But on a day like today when I am fixing my Mom's dressing and jam cake it brings those memories into focus. Most of the time they are only "things" that have made me the strong, caring, kind (I hope) person I am.
Just like my brother's misbehaving, my revenge is to have imperfection, affection and all the love, noise and happiness we can muster. Especially this year, my chickens have all come to roost and we have handmade "turkey-like creatures" for the table and will have kid germs in the dressing and other fixings, friends to join us and magick to be shared. My daughter will make my sister-in-laws wonderful fruit salad. My husband will mess with the kids and be the best hugging Papa in the world and my daughter will be safe and protected, we will eat when it is ready and not one moment sooner, (clocks be damned) and that is my revenge, cure and expectation.
So my lovelies, having dumped another episode of "What makes Linda the bizarre creature she is" in your lap, I wish you and yours a very huggy, messy, happy turkey day from my irregular family to yours. Now go out there and be imperfect.