I spent Thanksgiving being the good daughter while my brother and family decamped as always, this time for a "hockey tournament" somewhere in the Adirondacks.
I put up with Mom's fussing over the turkey. I managed to cook the stuffing in the crockpot so that the bird cooked a lot faster, and put it in the oven when she decided it was too wet. I got the Man, SC and JR to help with preparing the apple pie she was laboriously making.
Instead of going downtown with the Man and SC, JR and I stayed home with Mom the day after Thanksgiving. We went to Wave Hill, the beautiful garden on the Hudson we all visited the day of Daddy's funeral. We walked a bit--Mom can walk slowly but well, though she does use a cane a bit outside, then went to her favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch.
But then she started talking about taking SC to the theater--"And I suppose I'll have to take JR too, she's old enough."
She favors SC. Always has, which is ironic because SC loves her, but doesn't love her the way she loved Nanay, and Mom doesn't get her at all. Wheras JR was never close to Nay and has a lot in common with Mom. But Mom imposes her poor relationship with her own sister on SC and JR and thinks we favor JR. And refuses to admit it.
She is really not that up to a theater trip. And it's expensive, and
it's highly unlikely that we will both find something she and SC want to
see AND get tickets for it. So I told her it might not be possible. Our time in NY at the holidays is limited and we need to try and get together with the Man's remaining family in NY. And she sniffed about how we're spending time with "them" and SHE needs to do something with the girls too!
We are THERE. We are at her house. We will be there several days, THERE AT THE HOUSE WITH HER!
My brother-in-laws and niece no longer have a family get together place in NY. My sister-in-law, now the family matriarch, lives down here in NoVa and they can't get enough time off from their jobs to do a family get together. So when we come up, we try to take them out--as we did at Thanksgiving.
If it weren't for them, I wouldn't want to come home for Christmas.
I miss my dad. It is hell being there without him, trying to celebrate a holiday and feel happy.
I miss my mom. She's there, but it's not my mom. She is alone. She is dealing with her illness. She is still dealing with the pain of her recovery from the broken femur.
She is cranky and querulous and fussy. And I have to be there and cosset her and put up with it and be the good daughter.
My brother gets a damn "get out of jail free" card, and she makes excuses for him and gets pissed at my kids because they don't think of their cousins as family. Relatives, not family.
But it's the same for me. My brother in laws, my sister-in-law, my nieces and my great nieces and nephew are my family. My brother has become someone I am just related to, with whom I share a past, but no present and not much future.
And I fucking HATE being the good daughter.
But I'll keep doing it--and that includes Christmas.
Because that's what I need to do. For my mother. For my father. For my daughters.
It's the right thing to do.