No Confusion As To How She Feels

, , , , , | Related | December 25, 2019

Last Christmas, I was at my mom’s when we called my Nana. Mom started the call, then told her, “Okay, I’m handing the phone to [My Name] now,” and I talked to her until she was ready to hang up. Partway through the conversation, I realized that she’d forgotten that when she started reminiscing about “when you were giving birth to [My Name]…”

I felt a little sad she’d forgotten she was talking to me but decided to just let her keep her train of thought instead of interrupting to correct her. She’s 92 years old; she’s allowed to be forgetful. She talked about the day I was born, about fate, and about charity. At the end of the conversation, as she was saying goodbye, she said, “I love you.” I, of course, never had any doubt that she loved me, but I thought it was really sweet that she would say that to (who she thought was) the woman who divorced her son over twenty years ago.

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Why Egg-Nog Was Invented

, , , , | Related | December 24, 2019

(My boyfriend of three years has invited his parents for Christmas at our home. I refer to them as my in-laws and they are notoriously poorly behaved, demanding things and being very rude at times for no reason. This occurs on Christmas Eve when there’s a problem with their car. After texting my own father, who is a red seal mechanic, I tell them what he believes the problem is based on the facts.)

Me: “My dad said it sounds like the hose wasn’t attached properly and came off; it should be an easy fix.”

Mother-In-Law: *condescendingly* “That’s not the problem.”

(They continue to talk amongst themselves, all getting irritated and angry at each other until eventually, my boyfriend has to tell them to stop fighting and calls a car-savvy friend to take a look.)

Friend: “Yeah, they didn’t attach that hose right. Looks like it fell off. It’s a pretty easy fix; I’ll do it now.”

Mother-In-Law: *giving me an “I told you so” look* “See, I knew that was the problem.”

Me: *proceeds to Irish up my coffee*

(Turns out they didn’t actually replace the hose, either, just poorly fixed it, so it’s still messed up. When it comes detached again, [Father-In-Law] starts asking the friend why it stayed on before but not for him in a very rude way that makes everyone uncomfortable. The in-laws then go outside, likely to smoke.)

Friend: *to me* “Alcohol?”

Me: *already tipsy* “Have as much as you want.”

(At least my boyfriend is a sweetie.)

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How To Ensure They Are Present

, , , , , , , | Related | December 24, 2019

(My grandmother is visiting us for Christmas. She grew up with quite a few siblings who, for various reasons, have grown apart from her over the years. Not that she’s ever minded…)

Gran: “One day, when I was a teenager, my brothers and sisters came to my room and said that because my birthday is on the 22nd December, they’d each only ever get me one present. They acted like it was such a brilliant idea, too.”

Me: “Geez, really? That must’ve hurt.”

Gran: “Well, it did at first, but it didn’t last long.”

Me: “Why’s that?”

Gran: *grinning* “I started doing the same thing. It made such sense, after all.”

(To this day, my grandmother’s kids and grandkids are the only ones who make an effort as a family for the holidays. The more I hear about my great aunts and uncles, the less I wonder why.)

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Rubbish Behavior From Rubbish People Getting Not-So-Rubbish Gifts

, , , , , , , | Related | December 24, 2019

(My husband and I are spending Christmas at my in-laws. My husband’s younger brother is an architecture journalist who writes for magazines and websites, married to a radiologist. My husband and I both work as nursing home assistants to support our infant son. My mother-in-law always boasts about my brother-in-law’s successes while constantly putting me and my husband down for many reasons — our flat is too dirty, we’re working dead-end jobs, our child is learning too slow, etc. When it’s time to exchange gifts, my brother-in-law receives a framed LP signed by his favourite band and his wife gets a first-edition copy of her favourite children’s book, while my husband and I both get £10 gift vouchers. My husband gives his mother our gift, a modest but beautiful set of amber earrings. The wrapping is a bit sloppy but my husband tried his very best to get it neat.)

Mother-In-Law: “Oh? Are you giving me my gift or passing me your rubbish?”

Father-In-Law: *uncomfortably* “Dear, let’s try to be nice, all right? It’s the thought that counts, after all.”

Mother-In-Law: *having opened present* “Yes, and clearly, they didn’t put much thought at all into this.”

(I am shocked at this, while my husband just looks crestfallen. However, before any of us can say anything, my brother-in-law gets up, and SHOVES his LP into his mother’s arms.)

Brother-In-Law: “You need to take this back.”

Mother-In-Law: *confused* “What’s wrong, [Brother-In-Law]? Don’t you like the band? I can get another one for you.”

Brother-In-Law: *quiet, but visually furious* “Honestly, I’m sickened by your behaviour. [Husband] and [My Name] work their a**es off to provide for your grandson, they bought you that gorgeous pair of earrings even though you’ve done nothing to deserve them, and you still treat them like s***. I’ve had enough. I’m going to make sure my brother has a good Christmas for once, and if I hear from anyone you’ve been making fun of him or his family again you can forget about spending another Christmas with us.”

(The room is silent as we all stare, jaws agape.)

Mother-In-Law: “I’m… I’m so sorry, [Brother-In-Law], I didn’t know…”

Brother-In-Law: *laughs in disbelief* “You seriously think I’m the one you need to apologise to?”

Mother-In-Law: “No… no, you’re right. I’m sorry, [Husband], and to you, [My Name].”

(The rest of the day was a little awkward, but it picked up by the end. The mother-in-law even joined in for a few board games in the evening. My husband’s rapport with his mother is still a little strained, but his friendship with his brother has never been better!)

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When A Gift Is A Curse

, , , , , , | Related | December 24, 2019

(It’s Christmas Eve. We are gathering with my brother and his wife and their two daughters at his wife’s sister’s house. We have had appetizers, and before the main meal we decide to do gifts. We watch my two nieces and their cousin open their gifts, and then my mom gives my brother and his wife their gift from my husband and I. My brother’s mother-in-law also gives each of us a small gift of candy, which is very nice. But other than that, nothing. Except for last year, when they said no gifts because they took an expensive trip, we’ve always exchanged gifts. I figure it’s a lack of communication. They also exchange with my parents on Christmas Day, so I don’t think anything of it. Fast forward to the Friday after Christmas. We go to their house for lunch and to see their gifts and tree. It’s quite obvious they’ve spent a lot of money on Christmas on themselves and on their kids. Later, when we get home I ask my mom if they’d gotten anything from them for Christmas.)

Mom: “We got a container of nuts and a votive holder. They weren’t wrapped. It was like a hostess gift for having Christmas dinner.”

Me: “So, basically the four of them sat there and opened gifts while you and [My Aunt] watched?”

Mom: “Yep.”

(My sister-in-law said she thought they weren’t exchanging this year. My mom said she asked and never got a response. Both of them have great paying jobs. I know my parents spent a lot of money on them and their kids. It just makes me ill how they don’t seem to have any remorse at all. So, from now on, we will not be buying for them — only the kids because it’s not their fault and they’re innocent in all this.)

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