Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Grandmonster Comes for Thanksgiving (11/23/05)

The worst part of Thanksgiving for me is the Grandmonster. She is our only guest for the day; the rest is just our immediate family. Honest truth? Half the reason I'm more than happy to handle the meal tomorrow is to be able to avoid the Grandmonster as long as possible. My mother realized this strategy yesterday.

"I'm not going to sit in there with her the whole time while you cook," she said. "That's why you volunteered to cook again, isn't it?" Well, I told her, for over 2 decades, she has been able to hide in the kitchen the whole time. Now it's my turn.

Until I took over cooking last year, we girls would all have to take our turns sitting in there with her and my dad making painful conversation. Now, I informed her, you must do your time too.

What makes her the Grandmonster, you may ask. Judgemental, self-centered, way, way, oversensitive (the most sensitive person I have ever met, in fact, and if you knew my family, you'd know that's saying quite a lot), snobby, control freak, the list goes on and on. Perhaps a real life example would be better. Here's the day I had enough of her:

It was this past spring. My mom, fighting cancer, sick from chemotherapy, graduated college. She's the only person in her generation of the family to have achieved this. We had a party for her, not only to celebrate her graduation but to celebrate her life. She's never been the center of attention like she was that day, not even on her own wedding day (another Grandmonster story).

Grandmonster shows up a little early as we're still setting up and walks in, we say hi to each other but my arms are full of stuff so I can't give her the obligatory hug. I put the stuff down, turn around, and she's gone. So I finish getting set up then go downstairs because our present to my mom is a memory book with a page from each guest about how much we love her, etc. And of course some people didn't finish on time so I'm putting it together and wrapping it now.

Dad comes down a few minutes later to tell me Grandmonster is only staying an hour, which I already knew, which is why I'm trying to get the book together so I can go up and put in face time before she takes off since she can't handle my mom's family for too long. I get up there only 30 minutes after she arrived and she's gone. Apparently she came in, pulled a chair into the middle of the dining room (where no chairs were today bc it was all buffet style due to the large crowd) and sat there ramrod straight staring straight ahead and holding a Diet Coke. When she finished the soda she got up and left, not saying goodbye to anyone.

But that's not the end. Next day, it had already been planned that my dad, mom, and 2 friends from out of town were taking Grandmonster to brunch. He calls to say they're heading to the restaurant and she says, oh, she's too tired to drive, just go without her. He says he'll pick her up bc they really want to see her. Oh really? she says. I don't know why anyone wants to see me now when obviously no one wanted to see me yesterday. No one could even be bothered to say hello to me yesterday.

Okay. We all said hi to her. We were still getting things set up. When my mom's side of the family gets together it is incredibly casual and we all help with everything. Also, why couldn't she just get up and mingle on her own? When you go to a party of 50 people, you don't expect the hostess to spend all her time with you or even to be responsible for introducing you to everyone. Why didn't she hang out with the out of town friends that she also knows? My questions go on and on.

Then I started thinking about the way she's treated my mom since she met her. The explanation is too long to go into in this already lengthy entry. Suffice it to say, like a second class citizen that isn't worthy of her son. And here is my mom, sick with cancer, on a weekend that is supposed to be only about her and Grandmonster manages to ruin it and pull the attention back around to herself.

That was the day I decided I'd had enough of her. She's hurt me many times and I learned to stop listening to what she says to me but I can't tolerate her hurting my mother anymore. She's my dad's mother so she comes around still when it can't be avoided but I keep her at arm's length from me, my mother, and my sisters. My dad has to deal with her. We don't. We have to love her and bring her to the hospital if she gets sick, etc., but I no longer let my mother try to go out of her way to win the Grandmonster over like she used to. It's a pointless exercise and all our time could be better spent elsewhere.

Keep in mind this is just one example of many I could give. So yeah, I'll be cooking. And drinking. Mom will be too. And of course she can spend as much time in the kitchen as she wants. I was just kidding about throwing her to the Grandmonster as a sacrificial lamb.

I'm going to get through the day just fine. Thanksgiving is much more bearable around the Grandmonster if you start the day with a little Kahluah in your coffee and keep plenty of wine in the fridge.

No comments: