Expectations. They’ll get you every time. Approaching holidays fill people with expectations and people dealing with infertility with our own dirty little list of expectations tacked on to those.
Year after year, a lot of people seem to head towards the holidays expecting to be happy, to celebrate, to be around family, to open up fabulous gifts that we’ve always dreamed of, to give fabulous gifts that our friends and family members have always dreamed of, to skip down memory lane, everyone together hand in hand, fa la la la la, la la la la. Okay, let’s all shake ourselves awake for a second here. Here are the REAL expectations that we can REALLY expect. (Do note that most of these are “include alls” meaning- they will apply to holidays with friends, families, and coworkers equally.)
First, we expect that we’ll feel obligated to spend too much money to buy presents for people who don’t deserve them and won’t appreciate them. Then, we expect that everyone will get together. We expect that many don't want to be there. Many are simply there because they don't want to be the person who's talked about behind their back… and also, of course, for the copious amounts of free food and alcohol.
We expect that at least one person will say something to humiliate him or herself and at least one person will say something to humiliate someone else.
As for specifics with family gatherings:
We expect some cousin to tell you how well he's doing in his business even though everyone present, even the kids, know it's bullshit.
We expect some aunt to tell you how well her kid is doing and everyone else to be thinking: "Does she really not know he's a loser?"
We expect some to over-drink and all to over-eat.
We expect all the food will be “great” while we're sitting within earshot of the person who brought it and most of the food to be declared to be “crap” when we all talk about it on the drive home.
And we expect at least one person in each vehicle to put in the request:
"Remind me not to do this again next year."
But those with infertility issues also expect scrutiny and being judged and being made to feel uncomfortable:
Personal questions, embarrassing questions, extremely "not-anybody's-business" questions.
And I'm here to remind you that, while all of their baby plumbing may be functioning correctly, your dear relatives have plenty they don't want to talk about either:
Don't ask your 40 year old cousin Brian why he's still living with his college roommate. (Better to keep thinking it’s a beautiful romance than to suddenly confirm it’s a really creepy bromance.)
Don't ask your uncle Steve why he was on the news with his jacket over his face.
Don't ask your designer-obsessed sister-in-law Brenda why she lives in a mansion and drives a BMW to the food stamp office.
Don't ask your brother-in-law Sam how he failed his driving test four times and his GED three times.
Don't ask your mother-in-law why every time she makes her "special-family recipe" stuffing that’s been passed down from generation to generation on her father’s side, there are always a bunch of empty Stovetop boxes in the garbage.
Don't ask your second cousin Bill why he spends his days collecting disability from a fall at work and training for an ironman triathlon.
And the ultimate goal for the family festivities: After the whole debacle is over, be that person in the car who says:
"Remind me not to do this again next year".......And then write it on your appointment calendar so you don't forget!
Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here a few minutes ago. If you’d like more laughs at this moment in your life, please consider subscribing to my not-overly-frequent newsletter and / or buying my book for yourself or someone else who could use it this holiday season. All can be done at the bottom of my homepage: http://laughingisconceivable.com