It’s a strong word and by November every year, it’s an emotion I find I’m overwhelmed by. It’s when I also purposely don’t write. I just shut down and deal because I’m so very grumpy, but if I never write about it, maybe everyone out there in the world will never know they are not alone.
So, months later, ok two months later, I sit to write, hopeful that the strong case of grumpy (or hate) has mellowed sufficiently so people I know don’t all quickly reach for the pills or razors or tequila (just don’t do it!).
Later October it’s my birthday, I mean, I normally try to upsize all of October to make it “my month” But while Covid kicked everyone in the face in 2020, the few things I look forward to in October, I missed out on. Going out for lunches, cake, coffee and adventures.
My birthday generally sucks anyway and not because It’s when we get older. Whatever, who gives a Tutti Frutti. (Trying to swear less this year? See how long that lasts!) but my birthday is not a big celebration.
Not since my 8th birthday when my baby sister was born and a year later, we were both sick on my 9th birthday and her 1st birthday. So, 15 months and a week after her birth, she passed away from cancer. It was very ordinary.
To say in the early 80’s people, family, complete strangers did not know how to deal with the grief of losing someone so young. Still don’t, but really didn’t back in the ’80s. So, anyway birthdays suck. Check!
November rolls around and I have to start thinking and planning what is happening for Christmas. The ladies, my mum, two sisters, one partner at sister and me, that’s five. Check!
We go out for a lovely lady’s lunch, somewhere nice. Often expensive. There is wine (not for me, thanks) yummy dessert and banter. The exchanging of gifts to be unwrapped later (maybe).
My older sister is often issued the warning “No shakey, shakey!” She is terrible, can’t help herself. It’s hilarious.
Money is always an issue, some of us worry about money, some don’t. So, there is a balance of power thing going on. Then there’s actual Christmas, who will be where? My mum and younger sister live in the country, I lived there with them for two years around 2000. The home is perfect for them and putting a third in the mix unhinges us all. Upon arrival there I’m issued a warning as soon as I get out of the car. Be careful. There is the constant OH & S (Occupational Health and Safety) warning. Yeah, I get it. It’s a fucking hazard! (That didn’t take long, did it?) I could slip or trip or just plain face-plant. There was the year I stepped onto my mum’s front verandah to smell the fresh country air. This was the warning I received, “Be careful! If you go for a walk over by the water tank! There’s a snake living in the weeds!” To which I promptly turned around and went back inside. FUCK NO! I did not come home to be messing with any snakes. No! No! No! No! No!
My older sister and her now fiancé, live in the opposite direction. We all used to gather down there so we had Christmas together, they have a holiday house that meant we could stay there without being all over each other. Obviously, there is always a matter of who does the most on the day in the kitchen, but even one-handed I can pack a dishwasher like a Pro and I do my share as best as I can. But I miss the fun times in the kitchen, planning some yummy pasta dish for Christmas Eve, the hands on making of it, the hunter, gathering to prepare all the ingredients, etc too. Unfortunately, I am excluded and that hurts.
For about 4-5 years now I’ve gone home to my mum’s. Yawn, the place I lose my independence as soon as I arrive. We are all tired, grumpy and have our own interests. By which I mean I am not sitting and watching Survivor or MasterChef episodes from earlier in the year. Just NO!
So, I spend a lot of time alone. Mum gives me her bedroom so I can spread out. I take my cat (normally) who stays down that end of the house. We hibernate, I binge watch my TV shows too, because when I come out to see what’s happening, I’m literally shooed away. And if I don’t go home to mum’s, my older sister doesn’t think to include me. There’s the whole cat/dog ratio thing too.
Dog people/ Cat people!
When I have taken my cat home, they also have a cat, and they need to be kept apart. There’s are outdoor neighbourhood cats, they roam, looking for food. What a nightmare.
My father? Oh, my parents divorced twenty-five years ago, after twenty-five years of marriage. Don’t get me started, from my mum I never hear the end of it. I love both my parents.
I try every at Christmas, to see my father when I’m up north and It’s hard because my dad is not completely understanding all of my disability quirks. He is just very opinionated that I must move out of the city so one day maybe I can save some $$$$’s for a deposit and own something one day. He does not live in Helen’s real world. He does not know; he would not understand and there’s no point trying to teach him.
So, people think I’m included in Christmas and that’s the end of the stay. Last year (2020) I stayed home alone in the city, because it was better than being somewhere I need help all the time and lose my independence immediately.
Christmas and family time. I’m just saying. It’s death by 1000 cuts.
In January, I’m just glad IT’S OVER! I get next year off.