Home For The Holiday
November 13, 2007
I sometime feel like I have 3 mother-in-laws. My husband’s parents have both passed on. He is the youngest of 4, and the only boy. He is also 14 years older than me. So, I have 3 sisters-in-law, all old enough to be my mother. Individually, I enjoy their company. It’s the sum of the parts that is nerve-racking.
They are decsending upon my home for Thanksgiving, and I am dreading the whole fiasco. It’s my own fault. I always insist on having gatherings at our house for a variety of reasons. Our home is the largest of the four, and is equipped with 2 bathrooms, it smells better, and it is less cluttered than the altenatives.
My oposition to the holidays may stem from the fact that my inlaws do things so much different than what I’m accustomed to. If my family says dinner’s at 12, then it’s at 12. J’s family says it’s at 12, and it’s at 3. They arrive at 12, with their grocery bags, and will “just be a few minutes” because they need to cook most of their fare. Me, if I say I’m going to bring green bean casserole, I’ll bring it, hot from the oven and ready to eat. Additionally, they provide tons of snack food to tide you over. One year dinner was further delayed because someone had to go to the nearest store (15 minutes away) and get ranch dip for the veggie snack tray. A good hour is spent assembling a super snack buffet, which would be totally unnecessary if they would just have their stuff ready at the approporiate time. It’s their custom, but I refuse to fill myself up on junk when there is a wonderful meal quickly approaching.
Another tradition is the making of the fruit salad. The fruit salad is a very sentimental tradition, started by their mother. It has to be assembled through a group effort amongst the 3 of them, and we can’t eat until it is made. For reasons I don’t understand, it takes FOREVER to make. The funny thing is, nobody ever eats it until hours later, if at all, so I don’t understand why it can’t be assembled after we eat. I mean, I’m starving for crying out loud.
With my family, the meal is served when everyone arrives, and for the most part it is hot. With J’s family, by the time the snack buffet is assembled, side dishes cooked, and fruit salad is made, most of your Thanksgiving dinner is consumed at room temperature.
With my folks, you eat, you help clean up, you visit, then you leave. Three hours tops. J’s is an all day, and sometimes an all night affair.
When the “real” food is served and the mess is cleaned up, I do often enjoy the company of my inlaws. I just can’t relax beforehand. I don’t appreciate having my food contributions, which I slaved over, get cold while waiting on someone else to do their part. It’s very aggrivating to me. Espically since some of them don’t work, and none of them have small children. I feel that if I manage to do my part on time, so can they.
J laughs the whole thing off, and accuses my family of being the weird ones. “It’s like you don’t want to be around each other, you just eat and run” he says. I suppose he’ll never understand my family, and vice versa for me. They have their quirks that bond them and makes them family, just as my family has ours. It’s all part of being married.