Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bah, Humbug and Happy Halloween

Q: Why can't witches have babies?
A: Because ghosts have Hollow-weenies!
 
Bad joke? I thought it was funny.
 

Today is Halloween, and other than my excitement to join Stacey & Tyler for Blake's first legit Trick-or-Treating, I am just not feeling the holiday spirit this year. I think it has something to do with not having a place of my own to pass out candy at, and not feeling the major party vibe at all, and just feeling blah about the whole thing. I am, however, LOVING all the pictures of everyone's adorable babies in costumes on Facebook today.

Halloween is usually the kick off to the holiday season for me, since next comes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve, and I tend to get pretty excited for it all. I love the busy hustle and bustle of the winter holiday season; it helps get me through the winter rainy-day blues by always providing a holiday event or party to look forward to, even when the weather sucks and I want to just hide under the covers at home. I enjoy the extra time spent with my family, the busy days, the loud dinners, and all of the traditions that come with the holiday season.

Probably my favorite fall tradition is going to the pumpkin patch at Sauvie's Island. When we were little, our entire family would go, and it was usually followed up with a BBQ at Grandma Stacey's house. Even when most of us were too old for it, we all still went and had a great day together in the rain and the mud. In the past couple of years, as my cousins have started to have babies of their own, we've been going in smaller batches and not always at the same time or to the same patch, but I was still really glad to get to take Blake this past weekend to pick out his pumpkin. After trying to sneak out with one far too large, we were able to reign him in to one small enough to carry himself, as that is the Stacey Family Pumpkin Patch Rule: carry it your damn self.

In the last few years, my mom's family has stopped having our big Thanksgiving dinner each year and have started a bi-annual dinner instead, as with over 60 people, the dinner tends to be a ton of work and a large expense. I won't complain too much about it, because I am not the one that the work load or expense falls on, but I won't pretend to like it either. I hate it. On the "off" years (this year is an off year), I feel like Thanksgiving isn't really coming. I'm single, I don't have kids or in-laws, so without my big family holidays, I tend to just feel like it won't be much of a holiday. But until I have a house and table that sits 60+ and a budget to cook 10 turkeys, I can't complain. And there is my dad's family as well, but being brutally honest, I hate spending holidays with them anymore. Several years ago, my dad's siblings had a few ridiculous fights leading to my big loud happy family basically splitting apart, and now most of them don't talk to each other. The last couple of Thanksgiving dinners at my aunt's house have just left me feeling sad - we all fit at one table last year; that has NEVER happened at any family dinner I've attended in the 30 years I've been alive. And I hated it. I like my family dinners loud and fun like they used to be. Unfortunately that will never happen, as my dad's family hates each other and is far too proud/stubborn/full of ass holes to ever mend the fences.

This Thanksgiving, I think I will opt to cook dinner with Kattie and some friends who's families are out of town. Watching football and drinking beers with friends over dinner sounds like a relaxing new tradition that could definitely work for me.

Will I stop by at Barbara's to see my grandma and my parents? Probably. But will I stay to hang out and be reminded of why I can't stand being around my dad's siblings? Probably not. I have spent the better part of ten years trying to stay neutral, trying to be supportive of all of my family and to maintain my relationships with everyone, but what I have learned is, that's not what they want. They want to be mad, they want to hate each other, and they want to not give a shit what affect their petty crap has on the rest of us. So unfortunately, it just is what it is: a small dining room table where only 8 of us share a meal instead of 38 of us.

Christmas, on the other hand...I love Christmas. I love taking kids to look at Christmas lights, I love to get my own Christmas tree. I love to get out all of Grandma Stacey's ornaments, her tree topper, some of her lights, and think of her while I listen to Christmas music, drink wine, and decorate my place. Last year, in my little condo, I got my own tree an put up a stocking for me and a little one for Juno, and even though I think Mark was the only person to see the tree, I was just so happy for it. It was mine. I paid for it, I bought the stand, I bought the ornaments. I decorated it, I wrapped presents and spent weeks chasing Juno out from under it. It was perfect. And I am excited to do the same in another new apartment this year. I have a fireplace even for stocking hanging, which is amazing.

2 years ago, my mom and I started a new Christmas morning tradition that involves mimosas for breakfast. That will happen again this year. And every year.

My mom's family doesn't cancel every other Christmas, so even though we're skipping the Thanksgiving feast, we do get to have Christmas together, where we draw names and exchange gifts, where we get to see babies be excited about first Christmastime things. I love it.

My dad's family, or what's left of it, will likely do Christmas as well, and that for some reason doesn't upset me the way Thanksgiving does, so I'll go and I'll have fun with the few people I still call my Whitmore family. It won't be as loud or as crazy as it once was, but I will have a beer and still enjoy myself.

I was just talking with someone last night about how New Year's just isn't the same big thing it was when I was 21, when all that mattered about it was being wasted. I've spent the last couple of years with small groups of family, and it has been fun, mellow, and a great way to ring in another year. Last year was spent playing cards at Kitty and Stu's, and the year prior was spent dancing in Stacey and Tyler's living room. Both fun, neither too wild. I like to make silly resolutions, take a shot or kiss a boy at midnight, and move forward into another year of growing happier and healthier, but there is something about New Year's Eve that also just kinda kicks a single lady in the ass. So there's that.

The best part about the holiday season is staying busy and making memories with the people I love, and regardless of what traditions are started, changed, skipped over, or ended completely, I love having the memories that I do of the holidays with my family. I may be feeling a little Scroogey lately, but I think getting into my apartment next week, where I can decorate, unpack, and settle into a place to call mine, will help immensely to shake that grumpiness. And if nothing else, my fall and Christmas deocrations will force me to cheer up. Afterall, they were Grandma's, and they're beautiful.