Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fuck Santa, Fuck Rudolph, and Fuck the Fucking Christmas Tree

This year I’m telling the holidays to fuck off. Usually I just think such blasphemous thoughts, makes some wry comments about how I hate the holidays, and then do all the present-buying and cooking and planning and fake-merriment and shit like that.

Let me preface this post with some background: I have always had problems with the holidays. Christmas is supposed to be about family, and my family (at least on my side) is royally fucked up. Christmas tends to be when my narcissistic bi-polar mother gets depressed and paranoid. Sometimes there is hate mail. Merry fucking Christmas. Oh, and did I mention my birthday is the day after Christmas? Crappy birthday, made even crappier by constant reminder of ticking clock.

As the years leak by without any luck on bringing a baby home, Christmas is progressively sadder. I’d love to be all melodramatic and say that this is because my first baby was due Christmas-week two years ago, but the truth is it isn’t really about that. (Oh wait, writing that just made me get misty, so maybe it’s sort of about that.) But it’s much more than a miscarriage. I don’t want to suggest that everyone else should feel the way I do, but I really think that if I’d had a child anytime in the last three years I wouldn’t really mourn my lost pregnancies. None of them seem like real babies to me, any more than my embryos seem like babies. I never heard a heartbeat, never saw them in a sono, never even got morning sickness. The most pregnant I ever felt was when I was losing it. To me, my miscarriages (4 in total, if you count chemical pregnancies––I do––2 if you don’t) aren’t so much lost children but lost chances. I feel sad for them the way I feel sad for my embryos that don’t survive (okay, a lot sadder, because they were farther along, but the same idea). But what I really feel is sad for me, sad that my first miscarriage was more than two years ago and I still don’t have a toddler, sad that my most promising pregnancy (ended in ectopic) was well over a year ago and I still don’t have an infant, sad that after three and a half years of struggling, Jason and I still don’t have a child to love, to nurture, to grow. Sad that my fantasy of having two kids is virtually gone, and that my fantasy of having a 100% biological kid is hanging by a thread, that my fantasy of having even a 50% biological infant is fading.

So I don’t think Christmas would be any better even if it wasn’t a miscarriage milestone. What matter is that the holidays are all about family, and I can’t get mine off the ground.

Last year it all became Too Much. Probably because in addition to the other crap, J and I had to give up drinking (him out of necessity, me out of solidarity). So now we can’t even muster merriment from a bottle. And we’ve been having the same Christmas, with the same four grownups (J, me, his mom, his aunt) for the last 10 years. The tradition was nice for awhile, but the sameness of it all is killing us. The same foods (J’s mom and his aunt have certain favorite dishes and won’t let me cook anything else); the same conversations—verbatim; the same stupid pretend jokes about who’s got the biggest stocking and who’s trying to steal whose presents.

And don’t even get me started on the presents. For some reason, Christmas at J’s house requires so many presents that we literally, literally spend all day opening them. All Fucking Day. It’s unbearable. All that money spent on all that crap, which isn’t even crap that we want (or, in the case of gifts to them, crap that they want). And all I can think is what I really want no one can give me. Every year, as everyone whines about how we’re never going to get through all of the presents, I loudly suggest that we should buy less next year, that perhaps we could focus on one really great present for each person, something like that. And each year I am told that I don’t really mean it, and that if we cut down on presents I would be the first one to complain, and then it’s the same old jokes about who’s stocking is bigger and who’s getting the most presents, and who is trying to filch things from whose pile of loot. And remember, last year all this was with no booze (at least for me and J—his mom and aunt were as lit as the Christmas tree).

This rant (an oft-repeated rant, I’m ashamed to say) came bursting out of me on New Years Eve last year, and I made a solemn promise to myself: I swore that this year, if I wasn’t safely pregnant or on an adoption list, we weren’t going back to J’s mom’s for Christmas. Now to many of you, this might seem like no biggie, but my MIL spends her entire year thinking about, planning for, and bitching about Christmas. But considering the fact that Christmas was less than a week over and I already was having a panic attack about the next one, I put my foot down.

I got my most recent BFN in August, my last chance at being pregnant before Christmas. That same day I started making plans. I booked a cabin in the mountains of VA for four nights, and a couple of weeks later J and I had The Talk with his mom, where we broke it to her that, for the first time in her life, she was going to have Christmas without anyone but her sister.

The funny thing is that she took it really well. Like a grown-up. I tend to forget (in light of the aforementioned batshit-crazy mother) that parents can actually act like adults. She’s disappointed, of course, but she was also really cool. We told her it was just too sad, and that we didn’t want to pretend to be happy, and that it would just be for this one year. I thought it was odd that she needed us to tell her why it was so sad, but once we explained it she didn’t argue with us.

So here’s the plan: 4 days in a cabin in the mountains: hot tub on the deck overlooking the valley (J will probably not be allowed in, given sperm count issues, but I’m the one that lives for the hot tub, so it’s not that big of a deal); wood-burning fireplace (J and I are both certifiable firebugs); DVD’s and good music; great cooking (and I can try out NEW recipes); a visit to Luray Caverns; and maybe an afternoon massage.

Then, the week after Christmas, J’s mom and aunt come down for dinner and present-exchange. And here’s the beauty of this: I have to work the next day, so we can’t do a late-night thing. This leaves one hour, maybe two, for opening presents. If they decide to go present-crazy, so be it. After 10:00 I’m kicking them out and whatever isn’t opened doesn’t get opened while they are there.

And due to this, I am totally blowing off the rest of the holiday obligations: super easy (if not original) presents for extended family, very few (and very nice) presents for J’s mom and aunt, and nothing else. I’m not cooking for any parties, I’m not getting a tree (though we did do outdoor lights at J’s request, which make me happy), I’m not going to any dress-up events.

I wish we were in the type of family where we could completely boycott Christmas. But we’re not, and it would cause more trouble that it would be worth. That being said, I think I’ve come as close as I can to a true fuck-off to the holiday.

Anyone else telling Santa to fuck off this year? We got enough troubles, fat man, without you adding to them.


Seriously? - Erin said...

This sounds like DH's family. Not only do they buy ridiculous gifts (in amount and type) but they take forever to open everything. Everyone has to watch while someone opens their gift and it goes round and round in a cirlcle forever...

Last year was the worst. My m/c was just two months before and what did my MIL give my DH? Children's books about being a firefighter. I almost lost it. Somehow all the other daughter-in-laws got nice stuff (vera bradley bag, gift cards to gap/victoria's secret), I got one to shoprite.

Enjoy your trip. I envy it.

Lisa said...

I understand and I'm sorry the holidays are so hard for you. I agree. Holidays are about family. Yes, without chilren we still make up pieces of a family unit, but, it's just not the same and, despite what anyone else might say, it will never be the same. Removing the religious aspect of Chanukah, the fun part of the holiday just feels stupid to me when the youngest person in the room is 29. And, let's not even talk about Passover, where there is a ritual that is performed by the youngest person in the room (supposed to be a child) and last year the youngest person in the room at ours was 28.

I all just sucks and I wish you could get out of more of it. We don't celebrate Christmas, but, some of Glenn's family does and I want no part of it this year. We're going to Atlantic City 12/23-26!

Wishing 4 One said...

I loved this post in a strange way. Sorry it sucks so bad for you around this time, but great that you will get away and enjoy yourselves.

Peeveme said...

Good for you. Fuck it. Take care of yourself. Establish new traditions 9one that don't make your stomach turn). And hey, if they think you are a Grinch who cares. What's the worse that would happen? They'll get you fewer gifts which you wanted anyhow.

And I am so sorry you are no closer. To say it's unfair is such an understatement.

Malloryn said...

I'm sorry that the holidays are so tough for you ::hugs::

I am trying to hammer home with everyone that we are cutting back this year (saving for adoption), and we would appreciate it if people would keep things simple. I hope the message gets through. My FIL in particular loves to overgift, and with little regard to buying things people would like... it drives me crazy sometimes.

If it were up to me, particularly given the economic climate, I'd rather have people give each other gifts through different charities.

I think your get-away over the holidays sounds wonderful! I'm a bit jealous, frankly :)

Jaded Girl said...

I found out that I was pregnant just after Christmas last year, so yeah Santa can f*ck off. i plan on driking.

Happy f-ing Holidays!

Anonymous said...

Good for you! I don't feel that I can actually say, "F Santa!" being that I'm Jewish and all. It might not be appropriate, but I am totally w/ you for doing what YOU need to do to take care of yourself. I think it's awesome!!

Heavy heart said...

I just felt really sad after reading your post..I wish I could hug you and tell you stuff that will make you feel better and mroe in control about everything..I hope and pray there is somebody out there who will hold your hand and let you vent..and feel lighter..I wish you will have the heartiest laugh this christmas over something silly..I wish this is the last christmas you would ever have to go through this much - HH

Nikki said...

Hehehehe - yup, we got enough troubles already, fat man!

Do what brings you and J peace and calm. The holidays are so much about family (and I think the pressure is so much higher because of all the commercialization and commodification of the season)

Take off, do what you want to, not what you are expected to. Sometimes we have to take it upon ourselves to make ourselves happy.

Make your own list - do your own "naughty and nice" things and have a blast!

Hugs to you!

Barb said...

Your plan sounds truly lovely. Holidays should really be about what makes you happy with your family (your spouse) and it sounds like you're really doing that. We do very humble, but very loving Christmases, so I don't dread it. I might be saying things differently if I were at home though b/c my Mom and step family tend to be yellers and stressers. But I love my xmases with the Hub.

Ally said...

I'm proud of you and lifting my middle finger to Santa in solidarity. :) I am sad at the holidays but I don't mind doing the presents thing with my family. With my husband's family? God help me. Seriously.

E said...

So sorry the holidays are hard. I have a son and still feel the same way. Have a great get away with your hubby. Now that will be a great memory, start a new tradition!

Your last line made me laugh out loud. Screw the fat guy!

Pepper said...

My version of eff the holidays is to spend my money on myself instead of a bunch of preteens and teenagers (nieces and nephews) who have no holiday spirit, no desire to give anything to anyone else, and who can barely muster a thank you. Why bother thinking of something affordable to give each of them when it obviously doesn't even make a difference? And of course, I'm blessed with the single gift from the entire family.

Eff that. I'm changing my holiday traditions this year because the old ones just aren't working for me anymore.

Ms Heathen said...

We opted out of the whole family Christmas thing several years ago, but I do appreciate how difficult it can be to extricate yourself from these situations.

I'm so sorry that Christmas brings up so many painful memories, but am very glad to hear that this year you've decided not to put yourself throuh the additional stress of spending it with family. Good for you, babychaser! That log cabin sounds pretty amazing!

Kara said...

I love it. This was so comforting to read.

The holiday season is just so kid-centric, it is really difficult for those of us who have experienced a loss. For the most part, people in our lives JUST.DON'T.GET.IT. and there is such little sensitivity and awareness.

The cabin sounds perfect, especially the hot tub and the fact that there are no relatives around you. I am envious.

Shinejil said...

Your Christmas sounds perfect. Who needs all the crap and obligation? This is supposed to be about celebrating the return of the sun! Or the son, if you're so inclined.

I've avoided all the holiday parties I was "supposed" to attend. A fucking waste of time.

Our xmas was going to be something similar to your and J's--except at my parents, who live in a lovely place and are very low key when it's just us.

But then, DH's relatives stepped in and basically invited themselves (though, of course, they did have a standing invite of sorts). Anyway, I've gotten over the initial shock, but it looks like I'll have to be festive.

Thank the gods for booze.

jodie38 said...

Good for you. I'm not totally boycotting, but I'm not very actively involved. Xmas is out of town, so I'm not even decorating. Well, unless you count a few red tea-lights and egg nog. Can't believe you handled all that sober. Horrors....

I'm sorry things are where they are for you right now. There is absolutely no justice.

Boycott all you like. It all sounds good to me. You guys will have a wonderful time, and you enjoy that hot tub!

Merry F-ing Xmas!!

Rebeccah said...

Amen, sister! Christmas with either of our families makes me *nuts*. Last year I was a wreck by the time I got home. This year I told the Mister we're not going anywhere. I had visions of us putting up a tree and having a quiet Christmas, but neither of our families are giving us a break -- one side is drowning us in mailed gifts and long-distance guilt and the other is hounding us to come see them. (And of course dad is off his meds again.) We should have planned a trip somewhere ... probably too late now. And oh yes, the fact that I was supposed to be hugely preggers right now is not helping a bit. Fuck Rudolph indeed.

kate said...

Oh, dude. I feel like I could have written parts of this. What a fantasy to go away to a cabin in the woods instead of dealing with the stress of family. This year I am quite excited to be going home for the holidays, but less for family and more for the fact that I'll be in my home city where many of my old friends live (and where one or two of my favorite haunts might still be in existence...).

You are extremely lucky to have a MIL who even attempts to understand your sadness. My MIL just yelled at me yesterday to GO AHEAD AND START NOW!!! NO MORE TRYING! JUST HAVE ONE ALREADY!!! Um, yeah. Sure thing, Inga... That woman obviously has NO idea what I've been telling her for the last few years, which is that it will take us a little longer, will cost us a bit more and may fucking NEVER HAPPEN, so chill with the begging for a grandchild already.


Oh, well.

I think I agree with you. Fuck all this holiday shit. I mean, the intent is good, but the actuation SUCKS...

La La said...

Sounds like a great plan hun, you have to do what you have to do...ya know?

Last year on Christmas morning I woke up to my period (several days late). Nice, huh?

Enjoy your holiday your own way, everyone else will just have to understand.


Natika said...

I'm not sure where you stand on a gestational surrogate? I know it's none of my business and I don't want to pry...I'm just curious?

luna said...

just catching up with you here.

good for you for doing what you need to do this year. your time away sounds awesome.

Good Egg Hunting said...

Well, I had a miscarriage (my first pg) on Christmas Eve this year so I don't need to tell you that I wasn't exactly in the holiday spirit either. I am comforted to hear you talk about your miscarriages in terms of not seeming like real babies. I was just saying to my DH tonight that I feel guilty for thinking the same...that I never felt connected -- was too nervous -- and now it's hard to even think of it as having been a real baby. Nice to know I am not alone.

Fighting Fibroids said...

I see you had a myomectomy in Dec 07. I'm recovering from my myomectomy right now and was interested to read your story... I just started a blog to chronicle my fibroid recovery and will be continuing to tell my story about surgery and eventually trying to conceive. It's nice to know I'm not alone. I'm wishing you the best of luck with everything...

Choicemumtobe said...

I agree Xmas by and large blows thanks to my royally screwed up family and my own 'social' if. My sister, her little family and I bailed out last year and it was the best xmas yet. Stupidly we chickened out this year, had a big xmas which was expensive, time-consuming and completely droll. So much so that although I could drink I just couldn't be bothered. Yesterday we booked 2 beach chalets for next Christmas :)

I hope your trip was empowering and even moreso I hope 2009 brings you the baby you so desire.

Choicemumtobe said...

Oh and by the way - I LOVE the title of this post!