Oct. 26th, 2010

gypsyanna: (Default)
I am so angry, I cannot focus on work. I really need to, because it’s the last week of the month. I have a lot to do. Unfortunately my mind keeps shearing off to return to a path it’s been trampling since last night.

Family. It used to mean something. It used to be that family was the one guarantee in life you could count on. They were the people that, when you got in trouble, would be there to help you. They would be the first on their way, to lend a hand, to make an effort.

When did that change? Before I was born, certainly. And I am so very tired of living, behaving, believing in a concept that no one else in my ‘family’ believes in, except for my brother.

Scott is an assistant manager at Burger King. He works long hours. It’s an industry that will be open on Thanksgiving and Christmas. If not the days themselves, then before and after, which means Scott can’t go anywhere for the holidays. It would be wrong for managers in these industries to ask their employees to work when they themselves refuse. That’s my own principle, and one that Scott agrees with. So Scott can’t go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. If our future plans work out, in a few years we’ll have our own business and I won’t be able to go home for the holidays, either. Our niece Lauren is now at the age where she’s working a job that won’t let her have the holidays off either.

I’ve spent Thanksgiving and Christmas alone before. No family around me, no way to get to them. It’s sad, depressing, and heartbreaking. Most of the time, I wouldn’t even get a phone call from anyone. The holidays are supposed to be a time of family, so when you can’t be with them – it hurts.

This time, however, we live close enough that I thought it was time to start a new tradition: a holiday family gathering that combines Thanksgiving and Christmas, half-way between the two. Scott would be able to get a weekend off, and while I might miss a day or two of work and Katie would need to take a vacation day or two from work, we’d have time for all of us to gather together and be together to celebrate the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas could be celebrated individually, in the family traditions each are forming, but we’d still have our own special time with the parents, kids, grandkids all together. We could have the Thanksgiving feast, and exchange the gifts we’d gotten for each other, between those of us who wouldn’t be seeing each other Christmas morning. Like, Scott and I would give Codie, Austin, Mom, Dad, and Beth their gifts, and they’d give us ours. But Scott and I would wait until Christmas morning to give Katie, Tom, Lauren, Zach, Marissa, and Brooke their gifts, and that’s when they’d give us ours. See? Holiday as a big family, but the Thanksgiving and Christmas days reserved for the smaller family units to spend together.

To do this would require a little planning. A few little sacrifices. Scott & I would have to miss a day or two of unpaid work, make sure we had all our shopping for the AR branch of the family done, pay for the gas to get there and back, and help pay for the food for the feast.

Katie and Tom would have to make sure they had the five gifts for the AR branch of the family bought, pay for the gas to drive there and back, and take a day or two of paid vacation time.

Mom, Dad, and Beth would have the larger burden of making sure their Christmas shopping for the LA branch of the family is done: that’s 8 of us. Dad would need to take a vacation day, maybe. Mom would need to cook an extra holiday feast IF she decided against spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with another branch of the family (her parents, her sister, either of my dad’s sisters, or my dad’s brother – see? They have a lot more options). And, of course, I’d be happy to do the cooking for the ‘extra’ feast.

My mother and Katie, however, feel these sacrifices are too much to be worth the effort. My mother says that my dad doesn’t want a huge dinner on the 18th, just to have another one a week later. The 18th is his scheduled day off – if no one calls in or requests vacation, which would then make him work. Katie says that if she uses a vacation day over Christmas, it will be to spend it Christmas shopping, because ‘you know how I always shop right up to the last minute…’

I’m sorry. To me, this all translates to Scott not meaning enough to them that they want to make any effort of their own to spend time during the holidays with him.
HE doesn’t qualify for vacation pay, yet. HE and I would be giving up a minimum of $100 each in lost pay for this, something none of the rest would lose. So whatever they have to do or give up for special holiday family time together, we’re doing MORE. Willingly! Happily! Because it’s important!

But they, apparently, can’t look outside their own convenience to see the bigger picture, or the message they’ve just given to Scott, and to me. He doesn’t matter. Mom says, “My son can come see me whenever he wants, and I will make sure his visit is special.” That’s bullshit, and completely outside the point. Yes, HE can come see her, but if the goal was to have a FAMILY holiday together, then what’s the point of a ‘special’ visit that includes only him? There is none.

I don’t feel like I have a family. When I need them, they’re not there. I bend over backwards to help them out when they need it. Midnight phone calls, weekend babysitting, whatever, whenever. Me? I get a car repossessed and it’s a week before I can get it back or buy another, and I can’t even get a ride home. My car won’t start, call them for help – I’m too far away for them to drive all the way to my house to jump start my car for me – even if it is the first night of class for the new college semester. “Can’t one of your neighbors help you?”

I’m expected to go visit my sister once a week, at least, or I’m asked why I don’t. I’ve lived in my house for over a year and a half, and she’s been there maybe three times – and not at all in the last year and three months. Why? Because I have cats. And she makes fun of me for it.

Family used to mean something. I wish it still did. I’m done. I’ll make Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions for myself and Scott, and the rest of ‘em can celebrate their holidays without me. If I and my brother aren’t important to them, then they damn sure aren’t important to me and I am simply going to stop trying.

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