No matter how much we look forward to visiting our distant family members, (and many of us do), there’s often a whole pile ‘o unexploded ordnance lying beneath that linen-covered holiday table: resentment, envy, insecurity, fear, doubt.
No matter how much we’d love to ignore them, they often blow up when you least expect them, or want them to. Here are some of the old standbys:
When are you getting married?
You still don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend?
How’s that “freelancing” thing working out for you?
We had such a great time in Paris — how was your summer?
You’re still ABD?
Billy just got a promotion, and a bonus. Did you find a job yet?
It’s so great they’re making plus-size clothes in such pretty colors these days. Love your dress!
Having just survived the latest “helpful” advice from one family member — which left us both shouting in rage (nice) — I know all too well the joys of spending time with relatives who have firm and fixed ideas about how much more effectively or wisely one might behave.
It takes a soul of steel, (not to mention duct tape), to not let old patterns re-emerge, snitty comments get under your skin or ancient feuds simmer to a boil with the addition of alcohol, overeating and too much time in a small space with people you never got along with in the first place, shared genes be damned.
Right now, my mother isn’t speaking to me (I’m her only child); my half-brother insists it’s him or me at Christmas and none of my husband’s relatives (all two of them) could bother attending our recent wedding.
What are you most looking forward to when you gather for Thanksgiving?
What are you dreading?