It’s All Relatives

Dr. Öz at ServiceNation 2008

In a recent Facebook post, Dr. Oz cautioned readers to beware of the sodium in your holiday foods because they could raise your blood pressure and “negatively affect your health.”  Well, Dr. Oz, it ain’t just Aunt Edna’s Mac n Cheese that’s raising blood pressures at all these family gatherings.  Often times it’s Aunt Edna!  Or Uncle John or Mother-in-law or Sister-in-law . . . come to think of it most of the time it is “Someone-in-law”.

Have you ever heard that verse, “It’s the most, wonderful time of the year” and thought “yeah buddy, you don’t have to spend it with my family!”  If you haven’t then yea for you.  Probably time for you to leave this blog and go find one about how to turn the simple act of wrapping a present into a 4 hour ordeal which includes weaving your own ribbon.  This ain’t that blog.

When you Google “Families and Holidays” the first several results are along the lines of tips to reduce family “burdens” and “stress” around the holidays.  Doesn’t something about that seem off?  Aren’t these supposed to be the people you hold most dear?  Then why do they irritate the living fool out of us?  I remember reading an interesting article 20-25 years ago either in Seventeen or Cosmopolitan magazine.  It was geared more towards romantic relationships but the part that stuck with me the most was that the reason someone could exasperate you to the point of insanity was simply because they mattered so much to you.  You don’t spend as much time annoyed at someone you don’t care about.   This person is so important to you and you love them so very much that every little annoying thing they do can infuriate you.  That explains a lot, but doesn’t exactly warm the heart.

Back when “Home Improvement” with Tim Allen was on, I didn’t watch it regularly but I did see a Christmas episode when one of the kids wanted to go on a ski trip instead of spending the holiday with his family.  Tim Taylor, the Dad, comes home to find him sneaking out while the rest of the family was at church.  Tim says, “Christmas is not about being with people you like, it’s about being with your family!”  (So is Thanksgiving)

I love that line!  Because the truth is we don’t often like all the members of our family (or our spouse’s family), but they are important to us.  And truthfully, more important than a lot of people we call friends.  It’s hard because most of us spend much more of our time at work with co-workers and bosses and people who “need” us than we do our families these days.  But if I die tomorrow, while I’m sure several people at work will miss me, within a few weeks they will hire someone else to take my place.  My family isn’t going to hire another Mom, or daughter or niece or Aunt. 

So, whether you are headed home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, Google all those helpful hints about dealing with family stress and take deep breaths when Aunt Edna comments that your turkey is extra dry this year, or when Uncle John has a little too much holiday wine and starts snoring in front of the TV, or when your mother-in-law corrects your children’s table manners then makes a comment not completely under her breath about “blame it on their mother”.  Put on your rose-colored glasses and maybe invest in a good pair of ear-plugs.  Relax and enjoy the family drama – heck maybe even blog about it.  There are people throughout our country who are all alone this Thanksgiving and they would give anything to be where you are.  There are soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq who would love to experience the holiday with their irritating, overbearing family.  We have the distinct honor and privilege of being with ours.  And it’s not all bad, there’s Aunt Edna’s Mac n Cheese after all.

Recipe for Mac N Cheese

I’ll be away on Thanksgiving Day with family.  I’m sure I’ll have plenty to rant and rave about by Friday.  Take care and Happy Thanksgiving.

18 thoughts on “It’s All Relatives

  1. K.S. Schultz says:

    Thank you for making me smile about my dread regarding family interactions this Thanksgiving. It typically does involve an “in-law”, doesn’t it? Perhaps we can brush off our own blood’s idiosyncrasies more easily because we share them. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Yep! You nailed it! That’s why my wife and daughter and me go to Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving Dinner. We tell the relatives to join us if they want. No fuss, no muss and I get to eat breakfast at 2 in the afternoon! (and I’m napping by 3!) Glad I found your blog. You’re one funny, angry lady!

  3. RVingGirl says:

    Loved this post and you are so right. Are you sure your mother in law isn’t “Marie” from Everybody Loves Raymond”? lol
    And as for Dr. Oz, I have a bone to pick with him. A few years ago, though we never watch him, my husband ‘happened’ upon one of his Declarations, shall we call it? In it, he said that husbands should have LOTS of sex. Wives should ‘give it up’ at least 4 times a week. They live longer blah, blah, blah.
    Well we laughed about it for awhile and since my husband and I actually really love each other we thought we’d give it a try. I was just shy of 60 then. Well the long and short of it is, WHO IS SPEAKING FOR THE WIFE here???????? I mean it was killing me. He was happy and I was exhausted. At first we tried one night on, one night off but you know what? Dr. Oz can go screw himself!!!!!!!!!!! LOL
    Like your style!

    • Yeah, I don’t know what fantasy land Dr. Oz lives in, but 4 times a week is crazy! I don’t watch Dr. Oz regularly but for some strange reason I felt compelled to “like” him on Facebook. I also “like” Total Wine and Grey’s Anatomy so I guess I’m just not picky about my Facebook world huh?

  4. Thanks for a great post – I think you really nailed it. I love my family more than anything but there are constant annoyances…and we don’t even have an Aunt Edna. We all drive each other crazy because of all the baggage we bring whenever the occasion arises – especially a holiday get together!

  5. katecrimmins says:

    I think they invented holiday wine for just this reason!

  6. You know, I just heard a story on the morning news about the increase in stress/anxiety levels of holiday travel (in combination with the fact that folks are heading home to be with those above-mentioned overbearing family members). In short, the LAX security team has received extensive training on customer service for handling the holiday crowds. For example, security will be handing out coupons for a free coffee instead of parking tickets to those who erroneously park at curbside “DROP OFF” points!

    This ‘being nice’ thing just might catch on if they’re not careful. ; )

    Great post!

  7. littlesundog says:

    You crack me up!! I love your style… it’s my reality in words!!

  8. You know my thoughts on the issue (turning liver to pate). On a different note, I’m prepared to blame everything on Cosmopolitan and Seventeen; Oh how I wish I had enjoyed every bite of Mac -n- cheese back when it really didn’t matter instead of taking the Cosmo quiz or reading a 17 article on how to be a better fill in the blank by not eating Mac-n-Cheese.

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