They say that the holidays are a time for family – well, maybe. Sort of. Though our relationships with our families are far from typical. Is there anyone who is typical?
This weekend my best friend from grad school was in town because her boyfriend’s parents live here, and they ended up staying with us because his parents didn’t have room (and also because we’re obviously cooler to stay with). Sarcasm and alcohol, just like old times…
Oh, and their 6 1/2 month old baby.
He was very adorable (if periodically cranky) and I shocked everyone when they went out for coffee and left me with him – apparently she and her boyfriend were deciding how much they’d bet that the baby was screaming when they walked back in…but he was sound asleep in my arms. Awww.
While I do admit to the cuteness factor, it doesn’t outweigh any of my own genetic, environmental, expense, or quality-of-sleep-and-life concerns, so I’m no convert. But it was awesome to spend some time with friends I rarely see, and the baby was certainly more adorable at this age then he was when I saw him previously (at 2 months or so). His fascination with ceiling fans and our dog (who was shockingly tolerant at being grabbed by a baby, considering a baby’s grip is approximately as strong as an alligator’s jaws) was probably the cutest part.
In terms of our family, Jake and I are off tomorrow to visit his grandparents in Illinois. We’re going for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas because this way we can see his extended family (grandparents, aunt, and cousin) and avoid his immediate family (mom, dad, and brother) since we haven’t been on speaking terms with them in almost two years (actually, I think Christmas two years ago was the last time we saw them).
It’s a long story, but his immediate family is all really secretive and have all attempted (and some of them actually succeeded) in fucking Jake over financially in a seriously royal way, then lied about said fucking-over, and then (when the lies came out) refused to even apologize, let alone make restitution. He’s said on numerous occasions that if they attended family counseling that he’d try and work things out with them, but they’ve been unwilling to do that and so things are at an impasse. Actually one of the main reasons that he wants to move to another part of the country is so that we can leave and then they won’t have any of our contact information (though I am pretty sure they don’t know where we live now).
What about my family? The last time I saw my dad was about three years ago, when I brought Jake to Florida for a visit and to make introductions. I talk to him about three or four times a year. I haven’t seen my sister in probably seven or eight years, and we talk probably three or four times per year as well. We get along just fine – but they are the two least talkative people I’ve ever met, and also the least likely to put any effort into a relationship.
I spent years calling and e-mailing them regularly before realizing that they were never, ever, going to reciprocate even 10% of the effort I put in, so I just tend to leave them alone. Jake said the summer that we met that one of the reasons he liked me so much was because I wasn’t close to my family at all, and therefore wouldn’t judge him for not being close to his (they did still talk when we met, though things were always rocky).
So when the holidays roll around, Jake and I always plan to spend lots of time with each other, because we decided a long time ago that we’re each other’s family – and to be honest, that’s fine with us.
Oh, and – there’s no internet where we’re going, so have a great Thanksgiving!
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