Tuesday, 30 December 2008

At bl**dy last

Christmas is over, and I sigh of relief. I have always hated it, and this year it's been as awful as ever.

Normal people spend this time of year back home with their parents, eating lots and complaining about having to deal with inappropriate questions from aunties and being hassled by parents on a general level. For me, it's a time of dread and fear. In part because my family is more complicated than those combined of Dallas and The Bold and The Beautiful. When I was young, as the time came near, so came a whole range of issues, going from "how to split our time to celebrate it with two families who loathe each other?" to "what to do when your mother has a nervous breakdown on Xmas day?". All this in an atmosphere where you are pressurised to be happy happy and Christmassy. While comparing yourself to the other families out there who are gathered together, and behaving normally.

I thought this year would be different. Because it was going to be just my mum and me. Because we would be in Hong Kong. Because we had not seen each other for six months and would probably not get into a fight.

But no. We got on each other's nerves. I felt she was nagging me to death. I think in retaliation I was a pest, despite trying to be nice and get the Christmas spirit going. We said awful things to each other. It resulted in her having a nervous breakdown. It was fantastic.

The two days after that, we avoided the subject, we just went in autopilot mode, went out to eat, went to see touristic sights, as if nothing had happened. And now she has flown back home and I have this awful sadness because things will never change. No matter how old and adult I will be, no matter how much water flows under the bridge, deep down our relationship will always be superficial and full of tension. And Christmas together will always be rubbish.


Anon Y Mouse said...

I have a number of theories about parents and coming to stay. They are

1) Parents, despite evidence to the contrary, always subconsciously think of you as a child. This is despite the fact that you know live by yourself in a country half the way around the world. An example of this is when I borrowed my (somewhat older) sister’s Saab Turbo ragtop to go on a road trip. She rang me up the evening of the second night to see how I was doing but when questioned closely actually wanted to know if her car was OK. This is because, in her mind, there is, in me, still some of the 3 year old that sat and watched her hair catch fire without telling her. It didn’t matter that I had been driving accident free for 15 years at this point.
So, however grown up you are, you are never grown up.

2) Living in the same house as someone is difficult. How often have we moved in with good friends only to have it go horribly pear-shaped. Having a parent come to stay in YOUR house is a completely different dynamic to you going to stay in their house. The mismatch of expectations between the parent and the child can be very trying. (Also see 1 above. A parent will never believe that you can wash clothes, clean your flat, go shopping etc etc unaided).

So, it doesn’t surprise me that things were a bit tense. I also read somewhere that people feel worse about themselves when they think other people are having fun. For example, you are more likely to feel lonely if you stay in by yourself on a Friday night than a Monday as you think everyone else is out at some fab party). Having a relative come to stay at Xmas is doubly stressful due to the expectations surrounding the holiday period.

In summary, I am sorry to hear it didn’t go so well. But I can offer the small consolation that others find it difficult also. I don’t know if that helps at all.

Lola said...

Hear hear Anon Y Mouse!
Yep Evie... you can take consolation in the fact that you are DEFINITELY not alone on this one! Your post gave me such a twinge I felt like I could have written it myself...the key to happiness and parents is 1) short doses and 2) hotels... for everyone's sanity.
Happy New Year - hope 2009 will be a fabulous one for you

Anon Y Mouse said...

Haha, very succinctly put, Lola. Wish I had the gift of your brevity.

Evie said...

Guys, in a way it does help to know there are lots more of us who have issues like this, why can life never be like on TV??
Anon, your theories are so right, parents will always feel they have a right over us, despite us being adult.
Lola, sorry to hear it's a bit the same for you. I will try to test out your hotel idea. (though the scenario won't repeat for a loooooong while now)