Christmas as an American Black Family

We never watched Miracle on 34th Street or A Christmas Story when I was a kid. I still have never seen them.

Other than the animated classics like Year Without a Santa and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, as well as the Christmas-Carol based ones, we always watched The Preacher’s Wife, which is a remake of the classic The Bishop’s Wife.

Why? Probably because it had Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington. Which, being a child of the 90’s, they were A HUGE DEAL.

Oh, and probably because of the not-so-secret campaign to make sure that we always had stuff that reflected us as a black family. (Which is stupid, because if you wanted to ensure that then it probably would have made more sense NOT to raise us Catholic and send us to Catholic elementary schools…Seriously, mother.)

I mean, we had an a black angel on our Christmas tree, at least one black Santa somewhere, and an “ethnic”-looking Nativity scene. The Nat King Cole Christmas album plays non-stop at my Grandma’s house every year. We never celebrated Kwanzaa, though. We acknowledged that it was a thing amongst many of our peers, but it has always been kind of an insult that people assume we celebrate it just because we’re black.

I also remember us all sitting down to watch the Proud Family Christmas episode. That show was a pretty big deal in our family.

My super-religious, really spacy/unhinged aunt wants my cell phone number.
I feel really, REALLY uncomfortable with that.
So I lied and said I don’t know it off the top of my head.
She told me that being too independent is a bad thing because the world is too scary. What even the fuck?
Can I just remove myself from my mother’s side of the family?  At least after my grandma dies?

Any family-size bag of chips can be a personal bag of chips eaten in a day….If you are my mother.

Those chips were for everyone, because you never buy food or cook.

I don’t really care if you’re fat or not…

But there really is a limit to how much I can accept the “Fat Acceptance” movement.

That limit is when it starts ignoring what doctors say or telling people to ignore doctors…Or that “being obese isn’t a problem and if it is, it is only something that affects you”.

Nah, my mother was really obese until I was 19. It affected what we could do.  If it involved a lot of walking (like going to a park or something), she didn’t want to do it. She never really played with us much…Wasn’t able to. No soccer, frisbee, running around, riding bikes (or even teaching us HOW to ride a bike), pushing us on the swings…We would have to wait for my father to come home for those things.  

But that wasn’t the worst of it.  Before she lost like 110 lbs, she used to have really bad sleep apnea. Like, they couldn’t even do surgery for it because her weight put her at a high risk of dying on the operating table. Her snoring was so loud that she slept in the basement with me because it kept everyone else from sleeping. I could have my headphones cranked and still not be able to hear my music or Netflix  The worst part was suddenly hearing her stop breathing in the middle of the night…I would either shake her awake so that she started breathing, or just wait and make sure she started breathing again on her own in less than a minute, sometimes waking herself up and gasping. Do you realize how fucking terrifying that is for a teenager?

Most of my family on my father’s side is generally bigger people.  I’m no twig myself (but I could stand to lose some weight and gain more muscle, especially because I had the hardest time with my crutches when I sprained my foot…That’s not good, and I was no newbie with crutches). However, diabetes also runs rampant on that side.  My father’s brother had gastric bypass a few years ago, my paternal grandmother died of diabetes complications when I was about 5 years old (she had also had a leg amputated). Literally the majority of my immediate family on my father’s side is overweight and has diabetes…Including my cousin who is in high school (they really have to monitor her because she has very poor impulse control with food and is mentally handicapped). My father makes sure to exercise as much as he can, gets regular check-ups, stays away from things he shouldn’t eat, and takes his medication.

Like I said, it affects other people as well. And there is a world of different between “I’m a bigger person, but I still lead an active lifestyle and my doctor’s say I’m doing well” and “You can’t play with your kids and we don’t know if you’ll live to see them hit 30, you really to lose weight for medical reasons”.  And the fact that the latter is a reality for a growing number of people, is really something that needs to be addressed seriously, just like being underweight (by the way, there is far too much harassment of thin people and it really isn’t okay).

The situation with my mother as it currently is…

I am going to spend this 4th of July with a hard cider or a cocktail attached to my mouth the entire time.

I honestly do not want to deal with my Trini relatives and the awkward undercurrent about the situation with my mother that exists whenever I am back at home and deal with my family.

Especially since the Trinidadian side is really religious and always tells me they are praying for my mother and the family, or they try to give advice and suggestions.

Because I am not allowed to say, “I don’t fucking care about her in the least, we’d actually all be better off if she fucking died…She’s basically some kind of smelly phantom that exists only to ruin the rest of us, watch TV all day, and eat yogurt”.

Apparently in that confrontation a few weeks ago that caused my mother to try to chase my sister as she was driving away, my mother actually said that she didn’t want to be a parent anymore. Now, it would be easy to blame the batshit crazy if she hasn’t had a history of saying things in that vein before for at least the past 14 years. Guess what, mother? You haven’t been a parent to any of us in the least for quite some time now…And you were a pretty craptastic one to me starting from the time I was born (there are some lovely stories).

Whatever.

My mother might have reached a new level in the crazy

So, I may have just solved yesterday’s mystery of who threw my clothes and stuff in the hallway.  I thought it was just my sister deciding to pull off one last bitch move before she left.

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There is a thunderstorm outside…

And therefore it is raining rather hard.

I want to go tell my mother to go and stand in the rain for a while, because she hasn’t showered in about two weeks. Blech,

But I will say nothing to her. Because basically I say as little as possible to her to keep myself from giving her even a piece of my mind…Especially since she wouldn’t even TRY to pull it together (knew this day was coming, the exact date has been known for MONTHS) to go to my little brother’s high school graduation or the graduation dinner at Grandma’s house for him.

If she is able to actually leave the house in May of 2014, I am telling her point-blank next year that I don’t want her at my college graduation. You can’t do that to my brother (the last of the three of us to graduate and leave home, the one who always loved her) and expect me to allow you to play parent at my graduation. I won’t her her get away with that. 

Mother’s Day commercials on TV

Fuck that shit.

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Well, I just learned that my sister has a navel piercing.

I only learned this though Facebook because she posted a picture of herself in a club bathroom with her midriff showing.  Mind you, we’ve both been back in the same house for a couple weeks now.

I think that’s kind of an indication of how close our relationship is.

(Meaning barely existent, which is for the better)

She has far, far more of a college social life than I ever had and ever will have. My  father and  had a conversation a few days ago about how straight-laced and boring we were/are in our teens and 20’s compared to our peers and my sister.

Then again, my father still had plenty of girlfriends before he got married.  He’s not a social butterfly by any means, but he’s not socially inept (like I am).  He’s smart and charming. I’m…Smart, but charming only in intellectual capacities.

Those Awkward Christmas Moments…
Here’s to hoping that Mom goes to the psych ward for Christmas…

This is probably going to be the worst Christmas since that one in 2nd grade where we had to move cross-country on Christmas (because my Dad got laid off and we had to go live with Grandma).

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My Holiday Plans For This Year Onwards
Fun Fun Family Fun

Apparently my mother hasn’t been taking her medication for WEEKS…And doesn’t know if she’s going to start taking them again.

Uuugh, it would be so much easier if she would just consent to going to the goddamn hospital. 

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These Next Few Days Are Going to Be Awkward

So…The rest of my family has various out-of-state things that they need to do (father and brother going to check out a college, sister going to set things up in the off-campus apartment she got), which means that it is just going to me and my mother until Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Normally, I would just go with my father or stay with friends in DC…But that’s not possible this time.

a.) I can’t take Ezra with me on the metro, and I don’t trust my mother to remember to feed or interact with him.

b.) I really don’t think that I can leave my mother alone. I mean, considering it is an ordeal just trying to get her to do basic things, I might be the one who has to remind her to eat and not to lay in bed all day.

Ergo, I’m stuck in this very uncomfortable and potentially hostile situation, because there’s really no telling what she’s going to say or do…She might do absolutely nothing, she might actually make food or drive me to get food, she might scream and berate me the whole time. No idea.