I suppose it’s only fair that since I (sorta) ripped on Eric’s family regarding Christmas I also rip on mine. I’ve actually been feeling a little guilty regarding his Christmas post. I was harsh, and granted, all my feelings and experiences were real, but perhaps the entire internet didn’t need to know all the details. But then what would be the point of this blog if I can’t be open and honest and real, which I always promised I’d be? Maybe that’s the risk of having readers who know me in real life. But I can’t change that now…
Going back to Eric’s side though… There are so many raw feelings between his mother and me, feelings I fear could someday come between Eric and me. Is it normal to feel a certain amount of hostility for one’s mother-in-law, or am I just freaking crazy? For example, his mom called for him the other night. I obviously couldn’t hear her side of the call, but there was lots of eye rolling on Eric’s part, so I can only imagine. I did gather a few things from the call though:
- Eric was instructed to call his grandparents, which seems to be a weekly direction from his mother. This annoys me, but I’m not sure why. Maybe because I feel like calling to see how someone is doing should be genuine and if it’s not, than what is the point. Or maybe I feel guilty for not calling my own grandmother more, or ever really. But if I did call her, it would be out of obligation, and thus, I don’t call. We aren’t close, we were never close growing up. I care about her, but just don’t feel a connection and thus don’t check in with her often.
- Eric’s mother asks weekly what we will be naming the baby. I hate this! We’ve told the world everything else, can’t this one thing be our secret until she is born??? And frankly, we don’t actually have a name picked out yet, and I fear if we did Eric would tell his mother, and that would really hurt me, almost like a betrayal, if that makes any sense. I long for some things to be kept between Eric and I for now, but getting him to understand that need might be difficult.
Okay, rant about my mother-in-laws is now over… Onto ranting about my own family! This is truly more difficult though, for obvious reasons, they know me better, I’m used to their ways, and thus their ways seem normal and natural to me, even if they seem odd and crazy to the rest of the world, perhaps Eric included.
Christmas Eve is always spent with my mother’s side of the family, as she has five brothers and sisters and someone each year takes a turn at having the celebration at their home. This year is was actually quite low-key, which I loved, as many cousins weren’t able to make it back into town. The evening was rather uneventful really, we all ate, most bringing a dish to share, updated one another on the past year, etc. I enjoyed seeing everyone, interesting to see how much changes each year.
The Christmas Eve celebration always takes place in my hometown, which is about two hours from where I live now, so for simplicity, Eric and I, and Kona too of course, usually stay at my sister’s house in our hometown, along with my mom and step-dad, so we can all wake on Christmas morning together and celebrate with just my immediate family. So this brings me to the fact that normally I’ve been going to bed around 9pm each evening, but at 9pm Christmas Eve we were still at my aunt and uncle’s home for the celebration, not arriving back at my sister’s until around 10pm. My sister, her husband, and their two children, an 8-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl, had gone to church and arrived back home shortly after us. I assumed the adults might stay up, have a drink, rewarm some food, but I figured the kids, and me too, would go straight to bed. Boy was I wrong! At 1am I had to call it a night, but the kids were still running around like crazy little creatures on meth! I think they finally went to bed around 2am, which is when the house was finally quiet and I was able to sleep.
Christmas Day was much the same story, children running wild, lots of food, everywhere, including chocolate fingers on couches, leaky sippy cups contaminating carpets, dogs (three) barking, and men drinking, basically a result of the earlier mentioned items. I sat there at my sister’s, amid the mounds of torn wrapping paper, unnoticed yet opened gifts, and thought, my own children’s Christmas will be different. And yes, I already know what you’re thinking… That I’m not yet a parent, that it looks easier than it is, that children sometimes have their own ideas and nasty attitudes… So I will take some experiences from Christmas and learn from them:
- My children will eat only at the kitchen table, this includes beverages, although I may make some exceptions for sippy cups during special occasions, cuddle time with movies perhaps. I have zero interest in cleaning food from my couches and carpets on a regular basis.
- My children will have a strict bedtime, and I’ll do everything in my power to hold to it, even on vacations and holidays. I think structure and a schedule is great for children, and we all know they need a lot of sleep to avoid daytime melt-downs.
- My children will not be spoiled. Grandparents have already been told that Christmas gifts will be limited to one toy. No exceptions. I refuse to find space for millions of toys, nor do children appreciate gifts when an abundance are given.
- My children will use the terms ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as soon as they can say those words and understand their meaning. Manners are huge to me.
- My children will be taught respect. Under no circumstances will swearing or talking back to adults be tolerated.
- My children will be given a weekly chore list upon which an allowance will be determined. The earlier they learn the value of a dollar and how to earn it, the better!
I have many more… but I’ll save those for another time. I guess my point being though, is that I expect parenting to be hard, the hardest job I’ll ever have, even though at this point I have no clue just how difficult. I’m up for the challenge though and look forward to shaping my children into respectful, mature adults.
Back to my Christmas though… Aside from my niece and nephew running wild, the celebration was quite nice. I enjoyed seeing my family, as while we don’t live that far from one another, we still don’t actually visit that often. The food was tasty and I really can’t say anything bad about the gifts. Again though, my family knows me, much better than Eric’s side, and thus the gifts are more useful and appropriate.
So another year has passed, a lot has changed, and I expect even more changes in the coming year… I promised myself I’d make a few, realistic, resolutions, so I’ll think on those and post another day 🙂 Happy New Year!