Last night, I was sitting on the bed, watching YouTube videos, and fretting about Arran, who has his first chemo appointment on Thursday. I got an email from my eldest sister. I haven’t heard from her in months; although in fairness, she also hasn’t heard from me. It was a message about Christmas. She wants to host it in her house, and has invited us to come to her home in North Carolina for it.
My sister is 13 years older than I am, so we’re not very close. Moreover, I haven’t celebrated Christmas with my family of origin since 2003. That Christmas, which was held at my parents’ former house, was a disaster. Bill and I ended up leaving after one night. The following year, Bill’s ex wife “invited” us to spend Christmas at Bill’s father’s house. Because of the previous year’s disastrous gathering with my own family, I wisely opted out of attending Ex’s holiday soiree. Although we did have Christmas dinner with my eldest sister in 2012, when Bill and I lived in North Carolina, it was not an overnight affair. Aside from spending Christmas in France a few years ago, Bill and I have done Christmas on our own. We both much prefer it that way.
This year, though, it would be difficult for us to go back to the States for the holidays. First off, Arran is starting chemo on Thursday, and that will entail needing weekly visits to the vet for nine weeks, then, if he survives, monthly visits. I don’t know how he’ll do on the chemo. It’s possible that it won’t work at all, and we’ll lose him very soon. Or, it may work beautifully, and we’ll have him for some time. Right now, my goal is to get him beyond Bill’s two TDY trips this month. I would love to see him make it to January, so he can celebrate ten years of being in our family. After that, any additional time would be golden. He’s an old guy, and he can’t live forever, especially with a lymphoma diagnosis. He is starting to get sicker, though, so I don’t know what will happen. Hopefully, we can get him some temporary relief, at the very least.
Also, since it’s almost mid October, my guess is that our usual boarding spot is already fully booked for the holidays. We would still have to board Noyzi, even if we lose Arran. And even if we don’t lose Arran, I don’t want to board him anymore. I think it’s too hard on him. We do have a trip to France planned next month, for our 20th wedding anniversary. But we plan to take the dogs with us for that trip. We have stayed in the apartment I booked several times before. The landlord is very dog friendly, and we know the area well. I think it will be okay to go, even if all we do is sit there and drink wine.
I find Christmas pretty stressful, anyway, especially when it’s spent with my family of origin. I am the youngest sister by eight years, and my family seems to find me burdensome and obnoxious. Although it might be hard for some people to believe, I don’t enjoy being around people who don’t enjoy being around me. I’m not one to put in an appearance, either, because at 50 years old, I’ve done it for too many years. From my earliest days, I’ve been told by my family members what a pain in the ass I am, and criticized for everything from my appearance to the way I laugh. Add in the fact that my sister’s husband seems to enjoy watching my family fight and is a Trump supporter. There’s a tendency for people to drink too much and be rude, and I just don’t think it would go well. I mean, who wants to be on a plane eight hours at the busiest time of the year for that?
I do love my family. I especially love my mom, even though she’s the source of a lot of trauma. She’s in her 80s, and I haven’t seen her since 2015. I’ve lost quite a few relatives since I was last “home”, back in 2014. I’m sorry that I’ll never see them on Earth again, but I don’t think any of them really wanted to see me again, anyway. And, to be frank, I don’t get the sense that my immediate family wants to see me that badly, either. Like I said… we’re not that close. From the earliest years of my life, I got the impression that I was a “mistake”, and that I inconvenience people. Christmas should be a time of peace, love, and joy. Frankly, being around certain family members doesn’t make it so for me. I’d rather sleep in my own bed, listen to my favorite music, and be with someone who loves me for who I am… cackling laugh and barrel butt be damned.
It was nice to be invited to the gathering. I do appreciate the invite. But I think I’ve sworn off family holiday gatherings. I’ve had enough dysfunction to last me the rest of my life. At least this year, I do have a valid excuse to skip the trip to the USA, though. I can’t just leave my dogs here. Especially Arran. But then, I also don’t know that he’ll still be with us at Christmas. I do know, however, that he’s been more of a loving presence in my life and a real family member to me than most of my relatives have been… especially my immediate ones. Sorry to make that statement, but it happens to be true. At least from my perspective.