(Start with "Monday" if you can. You'll want to read this whole Thanksgiving saga soup to nuts... or as the tradition has become more commonly known: Soup to a hunk of pie caving under a handsome scoop of ice cream and an avalanche of Redi-Whip...And if you have an ounce of energy left after the feast, please consider subscribing to this blog. You get some nifty weekly insider info and it's free and easy. Commercial over.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How we look at the lamos sitting around our annual Thanksgiving dinner table and one expression keeps running through our heads: "You can't pick your family. You can't pick your family. You can't pick your family.'"
And the proof is in the bread pudding: Nobody in their right mind would ever pick this group.
In fact, I wonder how many people decide to proceed with adoption after a big family gathering. Not because they think: "Oh this family is so wonderful. I just have to share it with a child." More like:
"Oh my gosh. Look at these people. And I'm genetically related to them. This has to stop. Someone has to break the cycle. "
And, if you did attend the fabulous family function this year, how did it end?
Did you hug them all goodbye?: The one that smelled like cigar smoke. The one with suffocating perfume. The one with a razor sharp bra that nearly pierced your rib cage and punctured a lung?
Did you wave as you walked out the front door?: "See ya. Don't be a stranger"... (Be a missing person, you pain in the....)
The worst and perhaps most painful moment of the entire annual holiday incarceration is when the door has shut and you've realized that somebody's SUV is blocking you in the driveway. You've finally been sprung for good behavior and now you've got to go back in?
Sometimes you just can't go back in. You just can't. Screw it. We'll just drive over the philodendron and make a U-turn through the pool.
And Gd forbid your husband realizes he left something in the house.
"Oh damn, I forgot my brand new six hundred dollar jacket!"
"Forget it. They can mail it. Or sell it."
You see the hurt look on his face. You have to comfort him. He's been through a lot too. So you throw your arms around him on the doorstep.
"Well, we'll check E-bay as soon as we get home. Maybe there won't be too many bidders."
Then what happens next in your evening?
I'm thinking Tums and Alka-Seltzer make ninety percent of their annual profits twenty minutes after Thanksgiving dinner is over.
That's how long it takes us to say our "goodbyes" squeeze our bloated selves into the car, readjust the seats back a notch, come up with an innocent-sounding explanation of why we're both riding along with our pants wide open should we get stopped by a cop, and find an open pharmacy... or just stop at the nearest gas station and pay seven dollars for a pack of two tablets that says: "Not for individual sale".
Then what? What about leftovers? What was left over for you to take home with you from this whole experience?
You've gotta leave with a little more for yourself than a couple of pieces of dry turkey and some tasteless casserole that your aunt refused to throw away because it was a sin, but not enough of a sin to make her schlep it all the way back to her own house.
One thing you must take home with you: The knowledge that you done good. And you did.
Whether you gave the crowd an eloquent tutorial on your infertility, complete with an overhead projector and a powerpoint presentation, or dodged their questions like a paintball champ...
Or sat there like a mouse and felt anxiety-ridden all night waiting for some obnoxious cousin cat to pounce on your ovaries...Or you lost control and shot a spoonful of cranberries across the table, over your nephew, and into her cleavage...
You done good! You made it through! You have nothing to feel bad about or second guess. Let it go!
Do you know the song "Angry Young Man"? Well I agree with Billy Joel... Wait I have to hum it. I know it's in the third verse somewhere: "Hm Hmm Hm Hm Hm age (hold on, I think it's coming) of Hmmm Hm righteous rage, (yeah, here it goes)
"I found that just surviving was a noble fight."
Listen, I gotta go. I like to start off the day with some orange juice. Unfortunately it's been shoved to the far back of the refrigerator behind the leftovers. I'd better go eat my way to it. The last thing I need during the holidays is scurvy.
I'll talk with ya again on Monday.