Apparently, I have holiday amnesia.
My recollection of my last two holiday gatherings—Dan, me, and all five kids—is that they were family bliss. So much so, that I didn’t want to tell too many people about it because I worried it would sound like bragging.
When I thought about sharing my family’s Thanksgiving story for the Holiday Edition of Your Teen Magazine, I was a little thrown. I did not want to flaunt how wonderful my recent holidays had been, but I couldn’t come up with any horror stories.
The Forgotten Holiday Disaster: A Bad Thanksgiving
At a loss, I asked my kids if they had any good stories to share. I texted, “Any holiday disaster stories I’ve forgotten? Fighting. Bad company. Terrible relatives. Or just total perfection.”
One daughter Jessica wrote, “The Thanksgiving blow-out this past year (too soon…?).”
Huh? I tried to recall what happened last Thanksgiving. I couldn’t remember anything unusual. Oh yeah. I was really mad at my husband. Oh, right, I was really mad at my kids. Oh right, I stormed out of the house. A true holiday disaster. I guess I have a full-blown case of holiday amnesia.
It must be contagious because I told my husband what my daughter wrote. “What happened last Thanksgiving?” he responded. “I don’t remember anything special from last Thanksgiving.”
I mentioned a particular incident. He started to remember. I also reminded him that everyone was playing a game together while I cleaned up the kitchen—all alone. Then I reminded him about the “final straw.”
Holiday Stress: The Details of the Blow Up
My daughter’s car needed the switch to snow tires before she returned to college. The appointment was the next morning. Despite my better judgment, I relented and agreed to take the car to the mechanic on the condition that she put the snow tires in the car. After a tense day (most of the tension was mine), I reminded my daughter that she needed to put the tires in her car, so that I could get up early and take her car in. She argued that point, “Can’t you put tires in my car?”
I can say with certainty that no one expected my response. I blew my top and laid into everyone. Loud. Nasty. Disappointed. Hurt. Spoiled. Entitled. And then I got into my car and drove. For a long time. I wanted to drive somewhere. I wanted to sit with a cup of coffee and nurse my wounds. But it turns out that nothing, nothing, is open on Thanksgiving evening.
After driving in circles for way too long, I gave up and returned home. A few kids ignored me and sent vibes that I was insane. The other kids seemed contrite and remorseful (I love them best).
And that’s our truth. Some holidays are perfect, with everyone bringing their A-game. Other holidays are awful with everyone focused on themselves and impatient with everyone else.
Collectively, we’re just your average family with both good and bad times. And thanks to selective memory, we can write out the bad times from our family history. (At least until one of our kids reminds us of that time when …)