Oops, was that out loud?
I know, everyone's supposed to be happy during the holiday, skipping around singing Christmas songs, hauling out the holly, lighting candles in the window, and playing carols on the spinet.
Well what if the most wonderful time of year...isn't? What if it's just another day, albeit one with festively wrapped gifts, that ends with you shaking your head wondering why the f*@k your family members can't just get along?
Sound familiar? If so, my condolences. We're fellow veterans of Holiday Hell. If not, I'm envious because evidently Hallmark Christmas specials really do come true.
You see, my family wasn't one of those cute, semi-dysfunctional ones where Dad's goofy and embarrassing, mom's dotting yet exasperated, and the kids are wretched but adorable, a al A Christmas Story.
Nope, it was a lot more like The Ref. Especially the beginning and middle sections where everyone's yelling at each other and hurling insults.
In fact, it wasn't Christmas if my mother didn't bellow, "Merry Christmas, family!" at some point during the day. Except she didn't say it like you'd imagine Santa Claus would, with his arms outstretched and a twinkle in his eye. No, her annual salutation was uttered in a gravely tone, dripping with disappointment and disgust.
So what's the point of this sorry reminiscence? To offer a little glimmer of hope to others who experience the same kind of holiday madness. As a teen and young adult, I often wondered if my family craziness was normal, and if true happiness was just a marketing gimmick, painfully out of reach.
I'm here to tell you it's not. I grew up and out of my past to build a happy and loving family with my husband. Our children are joyful, kind and sensitive, and genuinely enjoy each other's company. And the friends we've brought into our lives have become our true family who'd never pick a fight at a holiday dinner.
So if your family is as insane as my nuclear family was, hang on. You too will grow up and out of the insanity to create your own Hallmark Christmas special.