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Christmas Isn’t Ruined; It’s Spoiled

, , , , , , | Related | December 26, 2018

(It’s the holiday season, and this year, my younger brother and I have decided to spend our own money to buy Christmas presents for our family, including our three younger cousins. As we’re high school students and our only jobs are as baseball umpires, we don’t have a ton of money, but it’s enough to get my five-year-old cousin a stuffed dinosaur and my twelve-year-old cousins sunglasses. I’m slightly concerned because the gifts were relatively inexpensive; our cousins are very demanding and spoiled, and their parents and our grandparents feed right into that. On Christmas Day, this happens when we go to open presents.)

Twelve-Year-Old Cousin #1: “A pair of sunglasses! Ooh!” *tries them on and says, angrily* “But these are made of plastic and aren’t [Really Expensive Brand]. I don’t like them!” *throws them on the ground*

Twelve-Year-Old Cousin #2: “Cheap, cheap, cheap! Good thing we have other presents that I actually like.” *tosses her sunglasses into the garbage can*

Twelve-Year-Old Cousin #1: “Mom, can we go get [Really Expensive Brand] tomorrow? Please, please!”

Aunt: “Yes, of course, dear. We’ll make this okay.” *glares at brother and me*

Five-Year-Old Cousin: “Daddy, I don’t like my dino! Get me a new one now!” *throws the dinosaur across the room*

Uncle: “Of course, buddy. We don’t want you to have things you don’t like.”

Five-Year-Old Cousin: “Yay!” *blows a raspberry at brother and me*

Aunt: “You two have ruined my children’s Christmas! I hope you’re happy with yourselves!”

Mom: “[Aunt], the boys spent their own money, and [My Name] even drove them to get it. It was what they could afford.”

Aunt: “Don’t make excuses for them! They shouldn’t be such cheapies! My children will always have plenty of money to spend on only the nicest things.”

Mom: *opens mouth to argue but instead says nothing*

Grandmother: “Let this be a lesson to you boys. If you don’t have enough money for something, go ask your parents for it. You know perfectly well that they’re wealthy, and I’m sure they wouldn’t have minded. Because of you, Christmas is ruined.”

(This wasn’t the only incident of favoritism shown toward my cousins. Because of issues like this, my extended family and I are not very close, which is too bad because I had a great holiday aside from that.)

Helicopter Moms And The Fight Against The Nog

, , , , | Related | December 23, 2018

(I’m at a family Christmas party at my grandparents’ house. Our cousins from out of town are there, and their mom is well-known for being exceptionally controlling. This is just one of many instances.)

Grandpa: “Who wants eggnog?”

(We kids all gather around the counter as he starts pouring glasses. This is non-alcoholic eggnog, just to be clear. My cousin is eight years old.)

Cousin: “I’ve never had eggnog before!”

Me: “Really? How have you not had eggnog before?!”

(Just then, my aunt, [Cousin]’s mom, quickly comes over to the counter.)

Aunt: “You’re trying eggnog?”

Cousin: “Yeah! Is it good?”

Aunt: “Yeah, but… just a little, okay? I’m not sure that you’ll like it.”

(I watch, amused, as she stands at [Cousin]’s shoulder, completely tense. Grandpa starts pouring a glass for [Cousin].)

Aunt: “No, no, no! That’s too much! Just a little!”

(Grandpa pours a new glass, and [Aunt] shouts at him to stop pouring when there’s barely a mouthful of eggnog in the glass. [Cousin] picks up the glass excitedly.)

Aunt: “Wait. That might be too much. You might not drink it all. You might not like it.”

Grandpa: “It’s fine. Let her try it. If she doesn’t drink it all, I’ll finish it for her.”

Aunt: “Hang on. No, wait. You might not like it. Just a sip, okay, [Cousin]? Just a tiny sip.”

([Cousin] is clearly annoyed, and she very slowly raises the glass to her lips. [Aunt] hovers over her with her hand half-reaching for the glass, as if the greatest moral dilemma of her life is unfolding before her eyes. At the last possible second, [Aunt] snatches the glass away.)

Aunt: “No, don’t drink it. You won’t like it. You won’t like it. I’m sure you won’t like it. Maybe some other time.”

(She handed [Cousin’s] glass to another kid at the counter. [Cousin] had clearly had experiences like this before, because she just sulked and walked away while I thanked my lucky stars that [Aunt] isn’t MY mom.)

They Are Not In Concert With Your Dinner Plans

, , , , | Related | December 4, 2018

(My family is eating Thanksgiving Dinner. We’ve said grace and have been eating for about five minutes, little clusters of us all engaged in different conversations over the meal, when my aunt speaks up.)

Aunt: “All right, everyone!”

(We quiet down, expecting her to have some kind of announcement.)

Aunt: “Your first assigned topic is to discuss your first concert. [My Father], you go first!”

(We all stare at her blankly for a moment.)

Aunt: *more forcefully but with overzealous cheer* “[My Father], what was the first concert you attended?”

(My dad eyed her confusedly, before going back to discussing a recent golf game with my uncle while my aunt scanned the group with an expectant smile on her face. None of us ended up participating in our “assigned topic discussion.”)

Mother Expresses Shock As Family Bores Of Her 47th Apple Pie

, , , , , , | Related | November 16, 2018

(For the holidays, my mother always makes an apple pie from her grandmother’s recipe. It’s a completely lovely pie, but she’s made the same one every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas since long before I was born. One Christmas, my brother and I decide to get on her case and tease her about it, asking why she never makes any other variation.)

Brother: “You know, you could mix it up a little, and make something different for once.”

Mom: *sassy* “Oh, like what?”

Me: “I don’t know; try a different fruit. How about blueberry?”

Mom: “No one likes blueberry pie!” *meaning she doesn’t like it, therefore no one does*

Me: “Um, [Brother] does…”

Mom: “Oh, please…” *turns to the rest of the family gathered in the living room, not paying attention to our conversation* “Who here likes blueberry pie?”

(Everyone reacted positively, raising hands or shouting, “Me!” or, “I do!’ My elderly, schizophrenic uncle turned around in his chair and started to shakily struggle to stand up, wondrously crying out, “There’s blueberry pie?!” My brother and I cracked up as my mother rushed to stop my uncle from standing. She had to explain to him that there was no pie but apple, and promised to make him one next time. That moment was the most alert my uncle had been in years, and sadly, my mother never followed through on her promise to make him his pie.)

Siblings Interrupt Vacation And Drive Eight Hours To Get To Funeral; Accused Of Not Doing Enough

, , , | Related | November 12, 2018

(Several years ago my grandfather died after a short illness. My grandmother arranged the funeral for the Wednesday in the middle of week-long school holiday. This was unfortunate because my brother had arranged his first whole family holiday with just him, his wife and young children for that week and I had a holiday with a group of international friends who were coming from five different countries and who I had agreed to drive. This was also annoying because our corner of the family was the only one affected by school holidays. But it happened. So my brother and I worked out how to get to the funeral. This involved me getting to where he was staying with his family at midnight before the funeral and then leaving the following morning about five am to drive six hours to get to the funeral. He had a six-hour drive back, and I had another two hours on top of that to get back to where my friends are staying. We go to leave the wake at about two pm, only for one of our aunts to corner us.)

Aunt: “Oh, going already?”

Me: “Yeah, we have a long drive back.”

Aunt: “It’s such an important day; surely you can stay a bit longer.”

Me: “We are very tired; we set off at five to get here and it is going to be ten pm when I get back tonight.”

Aunt: “It’s not that far from [Home Town].”

Me: “No, we have driven from [Brother’s Holiday Location] this morning, and I need to get back to [My Holiday Location] this evening.”

Aunt: “Oh, your mum mentioned you had holidays booked, but no one honestly thought you would go. We thought you would just cancel and rearrange.”

Brother: “It’s my family’s first holiday. The kids are too young to come to the funeral, so why shouldn’t we go?”

Me: “And my trip was planned with five friends from different countries, I had agreed to drive everybody, and it’s in a really remote location. There is no way to rearrange it. I either went or missed out, and that seemed a bit unnecessary for one day.”

Aunt: “Well, isn’t that what travel insurance is for? You should have cancelled, claimed on your insurance, and rearranged.”

Me: “Travel insurance wouldn’t have… Never mind. I don’t have the energy. Anyway, we have a long drive, so we’re going.”

Aunt: “It’s just not right that you are leaving so early. It’s an important day for the family.”

Me: “And we worked hard to be here. Now we are going.”

Aunt: “I still think you should stay.”

Me: “Bye, [Aunt].”