November 28, 2005

A New tradition is starting.

I’m here, I’m here. I’m sure none of you are wondering where I’ve been for the last 4 days. Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. While I hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving, I did not. Nope, Thanksgiving day itself was just filled with irritance, anger and scathing words.

We spent Thanksgiving Day at my parent’s house with my sister. Mom also invited many of my aunts, uncles and cousins. This has been their tradition for many years. Notice I say “their”. Why is it their? Growing up my mother would either invite her whole family over to our house or we would go to one of my aunts. They traded off every other year. Not all of my mother’s brothers/sisters would show up being as they were married and would spend it at their in-laws. My father’s family lives way up in Minnesota and upper
Wisconsin and they never wanted to travel north this time of year, thus we were always there.

Now that I’m older I do not want to spend time with my aunts, uncles and cousins on the holidays, I want to spend it with my family. My wife and kids in our house. Maybe we visit my parents, maybe we visit my sister, but I don’t want to spend it with my mother’s family. I just do NOT like them. They are the touchy, feely, gossipy, prime and proper type of people. Where I take most if not all of my traits from my Father and his side of the family. We are distant, loud, obnoxious, tell you how it is kind of people. We just don’t mix.

Since I told my mother I would go, we had to go. Everything was going okay, at first. I tried to keep my mouth shut and not get irritated by some of the hippy “save the environment” BS that was thrown my way. Of course I had enough so I spouted off, “My view on the environment is ignore it, it’ll go away.” And “If I cared about the effects of cars on the environment I wouldn’t have bought a 10mpg beast just to drive around town.” Hey, I said I tried. I didn’t say I succeeded. Apparently my mother’s side of the family has some very hippy tendencies. The funny part is that all stemmed from me throwing away a beer can!

Dinner is served and we all sit down to eat. Clone is up to his usual, “There’s new people around, and how much can I get away with.” He didn’t eat his dinner. We’ve been having a problem with this. He only wants candy and desert. When he said he was done after only a couple of bites, I told him, “If you don’t finish your lunch there will be NO candy, cookies, pie, cake, anything. Am I understood?” He gave me a chipper “yes” and bounced on his merry way to go gamble. (My father has a slot machine; the boy loves to play with it. Sadly enough he’s won more then he’s lost) That is the standard rule in our house, no meal, no dessert/snacks.

After a couple of hours it’s announced that they are cutting the pies. Yes pieS, French silk, pumpkin, banana cream, key-lime, etc. My mom’s side of the family does food in huge and grandiose style. No one ever wants for anything. Clone decides he wants pie. NO! You did not eat your lunch, no pie. He’s only upset for a moment then goes back to trying to get three sevens. While getting my piece I’m asked if I’m getting one for Clone. I advise everyone in the kitchen (most of the family) “He did not eat his lunch, he gets no dessert.” For the first time I hear. “But he’s been eating carrots all afternoon.” Apparently he’s been running up to the veggie tray and snagging carrots. That doesn’t bother me, as it’s not candy/cookies/pie/etc. It is the holiday so even though he shouldn’t be snacking on it, I let it go. “Fine, I don’t care if he has carrots, but no pie.”

When I go back downstairs after getting my own piece I see my father feeding Clone pie. “Dad, he didn’t eat his lunch. He gets no pie.” My dad looks at me and says, “Sorry, I didn’t know.” Okay… fine. Sitting down to eat my pie Clone comes up wanting a bite. “Nope,” I announce, “You did not eat your lunch. NO desert!” Everyone in the basement heard me.

A lot of my relatives have heard this declaration three times now. After watching the Lions get manhandled for a while, I go upstairs and what do I see? One of my cousins feeding Clone pie with a couple of my aunts. Again, for the third time I announce. “NO, he did NOT eat his lunch. He gets NOTHING sweet.” I get the excuse back, “But he’s been eating carrots all afternoon.” To which I respond, “I don’t care, no pie.”

I have to move my truck so an uncle of mine can run home for a moment. When I come back into the house, sitting at the kitchen table what do I see? Clone sitting there eating a huge piece of French Silk pie, with my sister watching him. Walking through the kitchen exasperated I say, “He’s not supposed to be eating pie, he didn’t eat his lunch.” This is an excerpt of the following conversation:

Sister: “He’s been eating carrots all day, what is it going to hurt if he has pie? You need to lighten up.” (This finally breaks my patience)

Me angrily, “I’m his parent, if I say no, that means no. If you are going to undermine my authority as his parent, I can make sure you never see him again.” I start walking down stairs.

Sister, upset. “That’s not funny, you shouldn’t say things like that!”

Me, “I’m not joking, I’m dead serious. I’m tired of having this family continually disregard what my wife and I say about raising our child. Maybe it’s time I did something about it.” There was more, but you get the idea.

My sister goes stomping off. I go back downstairs to watch Denver and Dallas. First Ktreva comes downstairs and tells me not to be such an arsehole to my sister. Apparently she was outside crying. (Side note: I made the same threat last year when my mother and mother-in-law did a similar thing to her. Last year I was a good guy, this year I was the villain.) Then one of my cousins (One that my wife and I both think is a shallow beotch) comes down to yell at me, because she was the one that gave Clone the pie. She had heard me say he didn’t get any three plus times. I told her that from my sister’s comments, she gave the impression that she gave Clone the pie. Secondly, the same still applies. If this family cannot learn to abide by my wife’s and mine decisions then they can go with out having my family around. At which point she said I was a bigger asshole then she thought I was. To which I responded, “I don’t care.” She stormed off.

Since this has happened two years in a row. I’ve decided I am not going to do Thanksgiving with them next year. My family and I will do our own thing, start our own traditions, and actually enjoy the day. Not deal with a family that is so wrapped up in what it wants that it disregards everyone else.

Posted by Contagion in Family Life at November 28, 2005 01:42 PM | TrackBack

i'm with you. None of them has any idea what's going on with your kid. What if he couldn't have the pie because of an allergy? You'd have a hospital trip on your hands because they were stupid.

Good call.

Posted by: caltechgirl at November 28, 2005 01:49 PM

Good job. Spending Thanksgiving with your own immediate family sure beats the heck out of fighting with relatives all day. Go for it.

And we will try and remember to point this post out to you come November next year.

Posted by: Ogre at November 28, 2005 01:55 PM

That's one of the things I hate... my sister and b-i-l will tell their boys not to play with something, or eat something, and then others will let them.

They're your kids, it's your job to raise them as you see fit. Just because it's a holiday doesn't mean all bets are off.

Hey, it sucks that it may come down to not spending the holiday with them, but you've got to do what you see as right.

I hope you guys can work it out, but if not, screw it. Stay home.

Posted by: That 1 Guy at November 28, 2005 02:04 PM

Yep. My family does the same thing, only I am infinately more vocal about it, oh and I would have thrown the pie at the cousin who had the nerve to question my authority. Also, when she called you an arsehole, i would have said "you say that like it's a bad thing. . ."

Posted by: Oddybobo at November 28, 2005 02:29 PM

I'm loads of fun at those gatherings -- I tell other kids what to do -- but instead of being nicer than their parents, I'm ALWAYS meaner...

Posted by: Ogre at November 28, 2005 02:59 PM

Good on ya, dude. I had fights like that with my and The Wife's family, too. My family *finally* understands that what me and TW say regarding our kids, goes, and we love visiting. TW's family has not, ergo, we don't go there no more. ;)

Posted by: Wes at November 28, 2005 03:53 PM

I think this is a universal thing. The relatives think "it's family" so then they decide they don't have to pay attention to what you say... GRRR!!!

Personally, if I had EVER been that close to home when my kids were small - I would have packed them up and walked out the door after the 2nd time people didn't listen to me. As it is - when my kids were small and this crap would happen... I'd just have to wait until we got back home and then try to break bad habits the kids picked up.

Have I mentioned lately that I am SO happy my kids are grown up.

Posted by: Teresa at November 28, 2005 04:14 PM