Family, expectations and numbing

grape night.  Returned from with in-laws and step-in-law extended family.  Spent about six hours in the car, several hours in traffic.  Tired.

This morning as we were setting out, and off & on during the day, I found myself reflecting on family, expectations and numbing.  I think we all experience variations of these themes on traditional family holidays.

Who we will spend the day with?  Who cooks & cleans up?  How are we expected to dress and behave?  I understand that it would be/is hard to be alone on this family holiday, but, let’s face it, it’s also sometimes hard to be with family.

Expectations make me think about the 1950’s housewives, home cooks, who perhaps had never learned to cook a turkey.  Suddenly they were receiving a considerable amount of pressure to produce a golden beauty for carving at the table.turkey

This did not play out well in my childhood home.  The bird was always overcooked and dry, because my mother worried that it might be raw.  My father tried to tell her what to do differently.  Honestly, I believe they fought about it every year.  Such a tense and un-festive family gathering. Why?

When I left home and gained a little perspective (and also the know-it-all attitude of a 20-year-old), I suggested that he be the one to cook the bird. No way!  Of course I had also become a vegetarian upon leaving home, which did not go over well either.  My father put turkey on my plate every year, no matter what I said.  Yep.  Expectations.

And finally, for now, numbing.  The most common numbing methods for these quintessential events are:  drinking alcohol, watching football on TV and eating too much, especially sweets.

That’s all I can manage tonight.  I have more to say on these topics and tomorrow I will write more cogently, I hope.

1 thought on “Family, expectations and numbing

  1. I am amazed that you could find your way to writing anything tonight! And I can’t believe you drove to and from Connecticut today!! I only had to go to Acton. Yes, numbing I would say is the dominant mode of experience for me at these events. And I don’t even drink. I did probably overstuff, however. Even when we had no extra visitors this year, just Sarah’s two sides, it was something “to be gotten through”. I think there must be some purpose for the younger generation to feel like they have a family wrapping around them; a visual for “I am not alone in the world, really!” I hope there is some purpose. I am definitely not doing this for MYself. I had many of these events as a child. And now I am left with the feeling of…where have all the flowers gone…j

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