there are no figs in figgy pudding

Here we are just two days left in November and I feel so conflicted. I think part of it is just having everything up in the air regarding the holidays makes me edgy. Having plans and being able to make a to do list would keep me busy and out of trouble. But of course I know it goes deeper than that.

Here are things in a nutshell: B's sister sent him an email suggesting she spend the holiday in LA (she has a husband and two children under 3). B was a bit surprised, and my initial reaction wasn't much better. B replied back trying to dissuade her, believing that if she came, his parents would also join them. His concern was more how I would react to being together under the same roof. And unfortunately I share his concern.

So last night, we talked about it AGAIN. Keep in mind, we still have no answers from anyone, AND our initial thought about the holidays was to go away as Thanksgiving kind of sucked donkeys. The bottom line is that I asked him if my issues were taken out of the equation, how much would he want his entire family (his other sister would also likely join in on the festivities) to spend the holidays with him. His response: "a six or a seven". That's out of TEN, by the way.

That's pretty high. I didn't expect a 10. I was hoping for a 2, but I figured maybe a 5. B loves his family, but he also has issues with them.

So now the big question. Do I try and push for this to happen? There aren't too many Christmas holidays that this would work out? Or do I push for us to make plans to go out of town?

I should step back here and talk about my concerns about being under one roof for the holidays. Me and B's family are like oil and vinegar. We just don't like each other. In my defense, I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that we don't really know each other. Some of it has to do with the fact that B tried (and succeeded) in separating us. Another part has to do with obligation, and how his parents feel none towards me. And another part has to do with a theory that a friend of mine has that when you meet your potential in-laws at a young age, they always see you at that age (or at least it is a very difficult thing to overcome).

The first meeting of B's parents was memorable, although to this day, I don't think they realize what happened. I will repeat this story, but long time readers can skip if they like. Here is how things went down:

B and I had been living together. His parents didn't know it, and he was going to make sure they didn't find out. So as his graduation approached, I found a sublet and moved my stuff there, although I didn't start spending the night there until they came (and eventually kidnapped him).

B and I knew they would start their trip to the US in Los Angeles, but they wouldn't give him a date as to when they were visiting him in Berkeley. We had gone out shopping (it was a weekend afternoon) and returned to B's apartment to find a message on the answering machine from his parents. They were at Harris Ranch (the midpoint on the 5 between LA and SF), and planned to be in town in a few hours. According to the time stamp, that would be any minute, and so I panicked. I was certainly not dressed or in any way ready to meet these people.

Soon thereafter, there was a buzz on the intercom. Holy crap – they are here! No way!

Thankfully we were on the fifth (top) floor of the apartment, in the back. B didn't have a car. So there was no way to tell if he was home. I said we should just wait it out and they will go away. Ha! You won't believe what happened next, but I assure you this is true:

When the buzzing stopped, I breathed a sigh of relief. Then a few minutes later, the phone started ringing. I thought if we didn't answer it, they would get that B was not home. I figured they would leave a message with their plan and I could go shower and change (at my apartment).

Apparently this is not how these people worked. Now not only was the phone ringing, there was now knocking on the door! Simultaneously!! The building wasn't very secure, so clearly one of our lovely neighbors had let them in.

The ringing, buzzing and knocking, simply wasn't going to stop. These people weren't going to go away. So I did the only thing I could – I HID IN THE CLOSET.

This whole thing probably lasted about 15 minutes, but it felt like an eternity. B eventually did answer the door. He said he had been taking a nap. Oy!

The good news is he got rid of his parents quickly. He lived in a tiny studio apartment with no real furniture to speak of, so it wasn't like he could invite them in and chit chat. It still doesn't make sense to me why they didn't just leave a message, or better yet call from the hotel and make plans to meet for dinner.

Honestly, I never saw anything like this. Who treats their son like this? This was a behavior of a scorned lover, not ones parents visiting from out of town with no itinerary. The banging on door while the other is downstairs calling from a pay phone on the corner was kicking things up. I almost never wanted to come out of the closet. Who were these people?!

But this was my first impression of them, and it has been a hard one to break. I don't think that they have changed much. They are still about control. They don't act like adults. They don't respect their children. They still don't tell us when they are coming to visit until the very last second and then more than likely change their plans anyway.

So while I know what I am up against, I need to decide what I am willing to do this Christmas. I don't want B to miss out on an opportunity to spend with his family. Part of me knows that I will be missing mine again this season, and certainly wouldn't wish that on anyone. At the same time, I am not sure how I wouldn't be miserable while they are around.

I wish I knew the answer. Of course, they could make it easy and make other plans. I just want to know what we are doing so I can move forward.

(cross posted from my my blog

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8 Responses to there are no figs in figgy pudding

  1. Katiebell says:

    Oh My…I feel sorry for you that there is such a difficult decision to make. And I think it IS a very difficult decision.
    Since I'm not married etc….My only real experience is my parents and My Sisters. My Sister chose to marry someone who lives in the same town that his parents do, so there are the usual conflicts over all that…
    My Mom and Dad on the other hand have had trouble over the years with each others family. They did tolerate Holidays with Grandparents probably for "the kids" sake. I often wonder how my Mom tolerates my Dad's parents because they are difficult people in the same sense of lack of privacy etc etc. Even last year when we ALL wanted my Dad's parents at thanksgiving, my Mom really had a Cow and actually acted like one.
    Is it possible you could make a compromise….rather than have everyone come to your place (Is that B's sister did, invite herself???) Have them have the Holiday somewhere else…you and B visit for a day or two on the pertinent days, and then go away.
    I wish you a lot of luck with the decision and the outcome of it!

  2. HapaLove says:

    I feel for you, too and I hope everything works out. I've seen a lot of tension between my parents and sister-in-law and have been stuck in the middle too. My only advice is to relax (as much as possible) and let things work themselves out. Maybe the easiest thing would be to let B make the decision… answer any questions he has, but not push one way or the other. And if the in-laws do something that bugs you, try to just let it roll off your back and say "whatever." I know, easier said than done. But anyway, try not to let them ruin your holidays. Good luck with whatever you decide!

  3. Owen Thomas says:

    I would do 1/2 and 1/2, but that's just me…
    go separate ways. Me and my bf are going separate ways this holiday and it's totally fine with me! 🙂

  4. chris says:

    One of the things that complicates this further is that 'our' place is actually B's parents place. As B was between gigs and we are renting out our home, it just worked out to stay here. It makes it all the more a slippery slope. I am grateful, but it makes the boundaries very hard.As always, I appreciate the good thoughts and support.

  5. chris says:

    Thanks for the support. I love the idea of being all teen agnsty and saying whatever under my breath. 🙂

  6. chris says:

    I suspect that if they come we will end up going off on our own for at least a couple of days just to get away. I have no real family to speak of, so it isn't like I could just go spend it with them, or I just might.

  7. Katiebell says:

    Any progress made on a decision?

  8. chris says:

    Nothing to report. I had B call his sister while we were driving last night. He got their answering machine, but left a message asking for an update.

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