Monday, December 26, 2005

The grinch who stole Christmas and ruined an engagement

A lot of my childhood is a blur in my mind of memories melding together: catching worms in the backyard, hiding on the top bunk bed because we were afraid of our first dog, dressing my brother up as a woman and my dad telling me that we would ‘make him gay’, and of course, Christmas morning. My father, who gets easily excited, would wake all 4 of us up at 4am, before sunrise, because he couldn’t wait until a normal hour to see our faces when we would open the presents of Barbies and Tonka trucks. Every year, Christmas morning, my parents would reverse roles and my mother, the easy-going parent, would chide us for leaving wrapping strewn all over the living room while my dad told her to ‘relax and let the kids be kids’.

In those days, we always had a wonderful Christmas morning, presents perfectly planned for us—I got Barbies and Rainbow Bright and my brothers got Ninja Turtles and board games. Dolls and action figures transcend time, my mother and father seeming like experts in the hot toys of the season.

Until adolescence and the world of electronics, gift certificates, and a huge bosom making buying clothes without having me trying them on impossible. My parents’ fared well the first few years, but as Santa Clause became revealed and my mother had to consult with us for presents that she would buy, the time that my father would wake us up became later and later, until we hit the age where it was 10am and I was telling my family to open presents without me because I wanted to sleep.

With my father away this Christmas, my brother at his fiancé’s family, only the 4 of us remained—my mother trying to make up for lack of family involvement in the form of presents. For the last few years, I’ve told my mom to give me the cash and I will buy what I want myself or to consult with me so that we don’t have the endless stream of returns Dec. 26.

“But you won’t be able to open presents with everyone else!!” she exclaims.

“Mom, every year you hype up Christmas and every year I am disappointed and offended by the presents you get me. Acknowledge that you don’t know what I like and we’ll call it a day.”

“Oh Shannon, this year I went all out.”

My sister chimes in telling me that my presents are perfect and that I will be excited.

“Could you please hyping this shit up? I am a practicing Jew now and in all seriousness, every year I get disappointed and offended and could we just end the fucking charade?”

Well with everyone telling me how perfect my Christmas presents are going to be, I started to believe that maybe, finally, they got the subtle contradictions of my personality, and got me a gift card to Barnes and Noble, a bliss spa gift certificate, and a nice pair of shoes.

I take Christmas personally, because every year I buy presents that are perfectly thought out for my recipients. This year I got my mom a Tiffany’s ring she’d been eyeing (fine, it was a returned vendor present, but still), my brother and his fiancé a gift certificate to the movies because they enjoy going but they complain how expensive it is…I know I sound like a snob at times, but I would rather have a cheap thoughtful present than the generic seven jeans my mom bought me.

So, my brother comes to my parents’ house at 10am, 2 hours later than what he originally said because his fiancé runs his life. My mother’s cursing ends when she puts on a smile to greet both of them at the door.

We all gather in the Christmas tree-less living room, around a broken fireplace, and begin to open presents. My sister got a pair of Seven jeans. My brother and his fiancé opens their present and thanks me. I open my present from them, cashmere slippers! Not that practical, but the thought counts. I move on to my second present, unwrap the present and my mother got me this:

What the fuck?!?

My mother got me a girdle for Christmas?! I know I’ve gained some weight because I have been working 12 hours a day, and going to class…but I don’t think this is the best way to tell me! And even if I didn’t mind a girdle for Christmas, it is 100% spandex. What does a woman with huge boobs need with a spandex top? Mom, I swear I am not a lesbian and really don’t think the best way of introducing me to the male species is to parade me around hoping I get raped!

I fly off the handle.

“What the fuck?!” I scream “That is the most insensitive present I have ever seen!! I know I’ve gained weight but that is just fucked up!!”

“Shannon, its all the rage right now! A woman at work told me it’s been featured in the fashion magazines”

With tears in my eyes, crying, “Buying your daughter a fucking girdle!?!? You are a sick fucker! When have I ever wore fashion magazine crap? You use Christmas to make me into the person you want, another fucking Kay!!!!”

I begin to throw the Christmas presents around the room, crying hysterically, and wail.

My brother’s fiancé is frightened, sitting on the couch cowering.

“I fucking hate you!!! How could you do this to me?! I am buying you motherfucking Slim Fast for Christmas next year!! I HATE YOU!!!!”

I take my presents and storm up the stairs, crying hysterically, exacerbated by the hormonal fluctuations of PMS.

My brother's fiance watching in horror the scene that I am making. Later I learned she is threatening to call off the wedding because she doesn't want to be part of a family that celebrates Christmas like this

I cry. My tears punctuated with running down the stairs to tell my mom how fucking insensitive she is.

Now, I know it seems like I am over-reacting, and I could have chalked this up to my mom just not thinking, but she said something very interesting on Christmas Eve, “Shannon, you are either going to love or hate one of the presents. Actually I don’t even know if it is going to fit you. HAHAAA!”

And another reason for me to begin therapy when I get back to the East Coast. Well after I join my boxing gym.

I am in Boise as I type this, waiting for my connecting flight to Sun Valley having spent the night in the Super 8, corporate discount of $3 and all. I am in desperate need of this active vacation to clear my head, and connecting me to a reality not based upon Prada, Grey Goose, and star-fucking. But instead celeb spotting, champagne drinking, and snowboarding on some fucking amazing snow.

I don’t think I will ever live in a reality.


At 12:24 PM, Blogger MyChinadollShandoll said...

And that'w why jews don't celebrate christmas

At 10:06 AM, Blogger AWE said...

My sister gave me hell about wanting to give her a gift card, so I went shopping. I bought her a really nice shirt and sweater, it shows off your belly, she was thrilled.

She bought me a buffer for my car......I have a company car....I don't have to wash it.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Hæ★ said...

One of the gifts I got my mother was a cell phone case, because she keeps losing her phone, and it's made in France and has a gold sheen to it. . .

She complained it was too "tacky." This coming from a woman who has a whore-red cell phone embedded with dozens with cubic-zarconia.


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