The joy of engagement is twice the number of painfully awkward family moments (oh, and true love), and the holidays are stupendous about bringing those painfully awkward moments about twice as fast. Sometimes Aunt Bertha doesn’t like the holiday beef n’ noodles and wants to let everyone know as loudly as possible because her hearing is going and she just doesn’t give a rooster’s poop. Sometimes your adopted cousin’s bratty kid #4 forgets to say thank you and can’t quite muster a thankful face for grandma’s hand-made bunny-filled sweater set. It’s just always a precious time.
This holiday season was particularly exciting and fun-filled for The Man and I. Let me set the scene.
Since I finished the final exam period at my university on December 23rd (this is always spectacularly later than any other human-filled university) my PTSD was happening in the middle of a people-filled, awkward moment inducing, holiday season.
Let me explain that I am an only child of an only child. I am loud and rambunctious at times, but people are alien to me. I am what I like to call a “social hermit.” My family holiday meals are comprised of 5 people including myself. Last year when The Man visited, he increased our attendance by a whole 20 percent! The Man’s family, however, is notorious for entertaining anyone and everyone who so much as glances at the house or is somehow a known party by some distant family member. For example, a Thanksgiving guest this year was a cousin’s ex-husband (who is now a woman)’s adopted son. Yeah. It makes little sense to anyone.
Another joy of engagement is the vast majority of the earth’s population feeling as if they can only speak to you about wedding-related things, even if those wedding-related things have already been discussed and ruled out. For instance, cake always seems to be very important —- and to some flowers are the pinnacle of the experience. To elect to use silk flowers is a slight against all that is holy, and by all power in the world they will let you know. It’s fun!
To add to the glorious tension, The Man and I have created a self-induced haze of happiness by practicing religious traditions disliked by the rest of The Man’s family. Candles are for decorations, never to be burned, and in the name of all that is good they should never be burned for an hour every evening for 8 evenings! So in the name of familial unity and support, pork is served at every spare moment. We have pork covered in bacon, sprinkled with dried bacon. Again! Fun!
As The Man and I are haters of all fun and happiness, we ended up retreating to his living quarters hoping that the 15 people downstairs struggling through the construction of Lego worlds and pork withdrawal would indeed go away soon and not stay the night.
And since The Man lives in a tiny room in the attic… we were trapped. Unable to leave the house lest being spotted and offered more pork, jew jokes, or lectured on flower arrangements. It was a terrible sight. We tried to help ourselves maintain sanity through wedding planning, music listening, even some jokes and games.
But finally I had to speak out! I chose to harness my inner Linus and tell not the traditional Christmas story… but OUR Christmas story. And it went something like this:
And that… is our Jewy story of awkward, familial, PTSD-ridden, Christmas bliss!