I'll be home for Christmas

I've been spending a whole lot of time, energy and emotion into deciding where I am going to be for Christmas, and it has been incredibly tiring, exhausting, and has just plain been taking the fun out of the whole idea of Christmas.
I LOVE Christmas, with a passion. I love decorating the tree; Christmas movies like the original Grinch and Christmas Story; my iPod library of Christmas music that ranges from Dean Martin to the Ramones; baking cookies for strangers; walking around the Common and looking at the lights; buying gifts; receiving gifts (it's my blog, why lie?). I just plain love Christmas. I think it's a good time just to be happy and enjoy the fact that people are extra nice and giving to others around this time.
Christmas has also been a very family oriented time for me, and I have only spent one Christmas away from my Mom in my whole 26 years on this planet. That was my first Christmas here in Boston, and it was pretty fucking miserable. It was Richard and I's first Christmas here, but being an insensitive, overall selfish person, he was anything but good company and I spent most of the day on the phone with my Mom crying. Fast forward to the past couple of Christmases and they have been spent in Reno with my family and friends. Christmas is pretty much the only time I even go to Reno unless it's a stop-off to somewhere else.
This year I have a whole new reason to go to Reno for Christmas; I want to show Matty where I grew up - the schools I went to, the homes (and trailers) I've lived in, the bars I hung out in, and the friends that I grew up with. I also want him to meet my Dad and my Grandma, as well as my Uncle and cousins in San Francisco. The thing is, I don't think I want to go home for Christmas.
My Dad is in a pretty bad state of depression - between the instability of his employment situation and my Grandma's failing health, all he does is work and stay at home taking care of my Grandma. He is neurotic to begin with, and this has pushed him into a pretty dark place. When we spoke a few days ago he told me that he wishes I would come after the holidays, when he could actually take time away from work and spend real time with me and Matty, and get to know this boy that I can't stop talking about. I think he also knows that if he can make it through the next couple of months without a total nervous collapse that he will be in a better position to be my Dad, not just the ghost version of himself that he is right now.
As for my Mom, things were not good when she came to visit this past Spring - there was not enough room for her at my place and we had some serious air-mattress issues that resulted in an all out screaming match between the two of us, much too reminiscent of my youth. It also resulted in her and Bob leaving my apartment abruptly to stay the night at the airport and days of us not speaking to each other.
To blame it on accommodations isn't entirely fair, there were a lot of things that led up to this - she really dislikes the hustle and bustle of the city and cramped places (which I love), and I think she took a lot of issue with the fact that I am all set being here in Boston. Not that my own Mother doesn't want to see me happy, but it's a pretty fair assumption that everyone in Reno thought I would come back once I finished school because they weren't able to see the life that I had built for myself here - the friends, my volunteer work, my career, the neighborhood I have become a fixture of, the love and pride I have for my fair city of Boston. Then along came Matty, which is the best reason ever for me to stay in Boston, and it occurred to my Mom that I actually grew up and took total control over my own life, and that I was really, truly in love with what I had accomplished for myself. There have been many, many hours of therapy sessions spent on this topic, and I'll spend another one talking about it tonight, but it boils down to one parentified child + one new life - one Mom = a lot of emotions that have been kept in Irish family silence, only to come out once enough booze have been consumed. What does this mean for Christmas? It means that we still have some things to talk about, that I have not had the courage to address and she has not expressed any care in talking about. Add to this Bob telling my Mom not to help me pay for a plane ticket, and I think it's just all too much for me right now. Bob is holding a grudge for me making him sleep at the airport, so maybe I'll re-hold that grudge from when he threw an air-conditioner at my Mom's face after throwing her across the room before getting himself thrown in jail long enough for my Mom to get bail money.
Suffice it to say, I don't feel like dealing with any of this head on until I can prepare myself and resolve some of my own feelings, and I don't want to ruin Christmas, or Matty's already tainted view of my family anymore by dragging us across the country right now.
So there are a lot negative things keeping me from Reno this Christmas, but there are also quite a few positives. Matty and I get to spend our first Christmas together in our own lovely home and get to go to Mass at our own church. We also get a chance to save some money - to be better spent on Christmas presents (haha) - and actually start the New Year with some money hidden away. Planning my life with Matty is one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to me, and getting to start '09 off on the right foot for this is going to be such a good feeling.
Staying home also means that I can spend more time volunteering around my neighborhood and lead some more projects that I had been asked to take over for Boston Cares since most people are going out of town during this time.
Most importantly, I won't be without family like I was the year that I stayed here after moving. I have Matty and his wonderful family, Emily, Nina, Jeanne, Kate, Craig, Amy B. and all my other friends who are always there to remind me that it doesn't take blood to make a family - it just takes a whole lot of love. It is also important that Matty and I are here to be with his family, as they cope with the illness of their matriarch, Matty's grandma - who is my favorite lady in the world. She is the classiest, kindest, most gentle woman I have ever met, and she needs Matty far more than we need to be in Reno. I am hopeful that we will get to spend time with her this Christmas, maybe she'll watch some good black and white Christmas movies with me, as only she could appreciate.
I'm not going to say that I'm not going to be a little sad - I miss my family, my Reno friends, and my 24-hour drinking and gambling town, but as I get older and move into this next phase of my life, my priorities are shifting and the family that I have created, and will continue to create, becomes my focus. I have been absolutely blessed to have this life, and the people that are in it, which I think is the best Christmas present of all. Waking up Christmas morning with Matty on one side and the icy Boston skyline on the other is all I need to know that this is home.

Comments

megan said…
wow. sorry you've got so much going on right now! and all sides.

but, you're right that my gradmama is one classy dame and i'm glad you've gotten to know her well enough to realize it! :)
Emily said…
Oh darling I'm here for you anytime you need to "think" about all this stuff that is going right now. Holidays tend to bring out the family dysfunction that we all try to avoid the rest year. So glad you are a part of my "family" :)

Love you!!
the freedmans! said…
sugs. i was never so miserable as when i first moved here and you were the first person to show me that a new boston family was possible. im bummed i wont be here to bring in the new year with you but ill be in boston till the 22nd, so can we squeeze in as much holiday lurve as possible?

the holidays always bring out the shitty, but it also brings out the best. the sweet just aint as sweet without the bitter, right? haha. we can thank my mom for that one.

love you lady. can we please get some yo!berry?! :)

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