Sorry, Mom, I Can't Make It To Christmas This Year
By J. L. Thurston
Thank you for the invitation to Christmas this year. The card is beautiful, I have it hanging up on the wall by the television so the rest of the family can see. I love the crazy sweater you put on Muffins, by the way.
The kids and I are doing great, and so is the husband. Same old same old. School, work and all that.
Anyway, I regret to decline the invitation to Christmas. I know that bums you out, but please pass on my regrets to Dad, if you can manage to speak to him without nagging at him to do the simple little tasks you can do yourself but you make him instead. And tell Dad that we all know he spikes his coffee with whiskey, we can smell it on his breath. I know he’s staring at the football game with his gut poking out of last years’ Christmas sweater, doing his best to pretend you aren’t home between his napping.
Pass my love on to Grandma, whose halitosis spreads across the dinner table like a cloud nearly as hateful as her criticisms of her children’s lives. I would like someone to remind her that her children and grandchildren all spawned from her, and perhaps if she didn’t drink so much while pregnant she might have given birth to rocket scientists instead of a gas station attendant, a self-proclaimed event planner, and a thrice-failed beautician.
Rub Cousin Melanie’s belly for me. I know she’s got to be pregnant again. Give her kids a pat on the head and remind them that Santa will still come see them even though their individual dads do not. I’m sure Melanie’s new man is a wonderment to behold. Sorry I won’t be there to meet this one, but I’m sure I’ll catch the next one at Easter if I can make it over.
Sorry I have to miss out on Uncle Bart’s famously burnt Christmas turkey, but I am grateful I will miss out on dodging his hands as he tries to grope every female family member under the age of fifty. Whoever he brings will be a real treat, I’m sure, because he’ll need a ride after his last D.U.I.
I’m sure sorry I won’t be there to see the way you and Dad argue about inconsequential things, eventually causing you to break down and cry until someone cracks open a bottle of spiked eggnog for you to drown yourself in. After your fourth glass, you’ll begin telling everyone what you really think. How I married the wrong guy and you hate that we don’t come around enough. You’ll pass out gifts that were purchased at an 80 year old’s garage sale that everyone re-gifts later. You’ll bicker at my siblings because they never wear the clothes you buy them, even though they are all wearing the clothes you bought them last year.
I apologize for losing out on this year’s Secret Santa exchange, and that I won’t be receiving a scented wax warmer for the fifth year in a row. I’m sorry to go this holiday season without Aunt Trish’s comments on all I do wrong as a mother, Cousin Marcus explaining to the children how Santa is just a lie made up by retailers to promote spending during a time when the economy should be at a low-swing, and my sister being congratulated for supposedly being drug-free this year.
If you decide to mail me any clothes, I am not a size six, and haven’t been since my sophomore year in high school. I don’t wear dresses. I have two boxes full of costume jewelry that you bought off the television for five payments of $29.99, so please restrain yourself this year. My kids don’t need any more socks or underwear. And they don’t need any more promise rings from the church; last year someone snuck in pamphlets on how abortion is wrong and I had to explain what a fetus is to my 5 year old.
In the spirit of the season, I’d like to be honest and let you know that this year we are thankful for missing out on all the psychotic fake smiles, the need for inebriation to be near one another and the lies we tell so that Grandma won’t pop an artery under the mistletoe.
I’m bailing on you all because we can’t just spend time together, being honest about ourselves without fear of retribution or causing offense. No, instead we observe Christmas as a time to overspend on gifts that go underappreciated, running ourselves ragged to make sure we see all the in-laws and extended family members so they know we still love them. We are sensitive more on December 25th than on any other day of the year, but we manage to hold any grudges made on that day for at least another 365 days.
I love everyone, even Uncle Bart, and I see them throughout the year for cookouts and birthdays, but I’m making a stand on Christmas. Christmas will be for family, and by family I don’t mean everyone on Earth who is possibly related to me. I mean me, my husband, and my children. We will curl up on the couch on Christmas Eve and watch movies until the kids pass out, then we’ll wake up to them shouting that Santa was here. We will stay in our pajamas all day, stuffing ourselves silly with cookies and fudge, and when the kids fall asleep with their new favorite toy cuddled in their arms, the husband and I will smoke some green and stare at the fireplace.
So, let everyone know they’re getting Walmart gift cards from me, and that I send them all my best! Have fun crying this year, and we’ll see you for brunch in a few weeks to make up for it.
Your Fed-Up Goddamn Daughter, the Wonderful Man She Married and Their Offspring.