My husband heard the loud howling noise coming from upstairs. Unable to place the ungodly sound, he ran up the stairs taking two and three at a time. He searched frantically from room to room, fearful of what he might find.
It was in the last room that he unearthed the source of the wretched noise. I was all balled up on the floor in something of a crude fetal position. I was methodically rocking back and forth. It was a sight that my husband said he would never forget.
“Is she sick?” he wondered to himself. “Perhaps it is food poisoning?”
“Then what has taken my poor wife and reduced her to this??”
To put it simply… I was about to go HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
This seasonal affliction began a week before we drove south to see my family. There was a rabid exchange of emails between my mother, three sisters and me the week prior. I came to the conclusion that conversations that are had over email are not that dissimilar to the way people “communicate” with other drivers while behind the wheel of a car. People tend to be a bit less polite, perhaps even arrogant. Alright, let’s speak plainly: if there were not a keyboard and hundreds of miles between us, there would be some serious hair pulling and girly punching going on between us sisters. As my husband eloquently put it, “These emails make me want to stick a fork in my eye.” Tensions were already high and no one was giving anyone else the “right of way.”
Upon arriving home, I was immediately confronted by the sister (let’s call her Gertrude) whom I found most offensive in the email war. Long story short, Gertrude, per her usual style, imposed a list of conditions that needed to be met in order for us to go out to celebrate another sister’s birthday.
So, Gertrude and I stared each other down as we circled the room in a manner similar to that of two Olympic Greco-Roman wrestlers. I asked her to simply apologize for being a pain in my %#@ so that we could proceed with our Christmas gathering that would surely be yet another attempt by my mother to look like a Little House on the Prairie episode. Gertrude told me where I could put my request for an apology and then lunged at me with her newly manicured nails (a heinous color, I might add). My two sons toddled in to see what was going down in the living room. They got a glimpse of me holding Aunt Gertrude in a half-nelson and yelled, “YEA! Tackle game!”
It was at that moment when Gertrude began to plead for her life, admitting to defeat. I forced her to repeat a mantra that I quickly concocted, “I am selfish and deserve to be punished. I will no longer act as if the world revolves around me.” I was happy for the progress we were making.
I thought the weekend might be getting better, but was promptly corrected when my mother entered the scene. It was at this point that she claimed she was “not getting involved” in the situation.
I said, “Good. That’s for the best.”
Then, in less than two seconds, she proceeded to give her impression of the disagreement. She told me that I was being “too hard on Gertrude.” It was then that I body-slammed my mom to the floor and told her to take it back.
From that moment on, the weekend improved markedly. I believe I heard some whispers here and there about prescriptions and therapy, but I am sure they were just discussing my crazy great aunt in Florida. I was relieved to find that I had such a relaxing time during the rest of our visit. It seemed that every time I walked into a room, it just cleared out immediately. It was kind of nice.
I think I am over the stress of the holidays with family now. In fact, I am already looking forward to next year!