Thursday, November 02, 2006

And Thus, It Begins..

You know that feeling you get as you first sit down in a roller-coaster car? The teenager comes by and tugs on the restraint and you think "now, WHY the hell am I doing this? This can't be safe. Who talked me into this?"

Then your little train pulls out of the loading dock, turns the corner, and begins its ascent up the first hill. Chink-ity-chink-ity-chink-ity. And you're thinking "ugh. I shouldn't be doing this. I'm going to regret this in a minute, I just KNOW it."

Then, you crest the hill and there's that brief - all TOO brief - moment where you're entirely motionless - poised between falling forward and falling back. Now you KNOW you're in trouble and you find yourself actually envying that mom down there, dragging a screaming, crying, overtired, sticky-from-cotton-candy child around. Sure, she's exasperated and overwrought, but she's at least safely on the ground.

I mailed out invitations to Christmas at my house today. I've just had my restraints tugged and I'm thinking "this can't be safe."

I decided to mail out invitations to certain guests, but not to everyone. MY people don't need invitations - I can call them and say "hey! We're doing Christmas at our house, and we'd really love for you to come!" and they say "Great! What time do you want us there and what can we bring?" My husband's people, though - well, SOME of my husband's people - aren't that easygoing.

I've written about this before. My in-laws are going to be unhappy regardless of how the whole scene goes down; they're lamenting the loss of their traditions, the scattering of their family to four different time zones, and the general passage of time. The invitations were mailed out to their side of the family - specifically, to my mother-in-law's brother and his wife, and their children - because I wanted to give them an easy out.

My husband and I have gotten the unmistakable vibe from these folks that this tradition of gathering three times a year for the big holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter) is getting to be a drag. We ONLY see each other three times a year. It's not that we don't like each other - quite the contrary; I think they're all wonderful people - it's just that our paths never have occasion to cross. The holidays feel forced and formal and uncomfortable, and the only people who don't seem to mind that is my in-laws. SO, I sent out invitations instead of calling. It's much easier to decline a written invite with an email or a voice mail message than it is to have to explain during a phone call or a face-to-face that you'd rather not come.

My MIL has expressed displeasure at my sending out paper invitations, which surprised me a little bit, given how enamored she is of the formalities in life. I think she's really completely oblivious to the fact that we're NOT all close and casual; she doesn't get that sharing blood doesn't equate to sharing intimacy.

Here's hoping the roller-coaster is smooth and fast - and that I'm not left puking in the bushes when the ride's over.


Blogger Kizz said...

Of all the people involved I thought she'd be the one who'd really LOVE the formal invite. Weird. Has she RSVP'd yet?

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Contrary said...

How did I not even know that this blog exists?? Well, I'll be back.

Oh, and by the way, your kids are GORGEOUS (although after you delete that pic I will pretend that I never saw em)!

7:45 PM  
Blogger JRH said...

Good luck! The only peoples' Christmastime happiness you are even remotely responsible for is your own and the girls'. (Have fun fixing the grammar in THAT sentence!) You are keeping that in the forefront of your mind, and your MIL can do what she needs to to worry about her own.

6:31 AM  
Blogger Mrs.Chili said...

My Dear One, there is NOTHING wrong with the grammar in that sentence! I may call you for math help, but you don't need me to help you speak clearly!

I'm running on JUST that sentiment, though - that I can only be responsible for my own little family's happiness. My mother is being very helpful on that front, too, having dealt with similar situations herself a few too many times.

Don't worry - I'll keep you all apprised on the progress with painfully detailed missives on the events!

12:19 PM  

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