Family, Self

Stop Complaining! 5 Family Holiday Problems To Get Over, STAT

karma quotes

Be careful what you bring to the Thanksgiving table this year. Karma is a powerful "return to sender" energy. How do I know? Because I started holiday drama with my family just a few days before Thanksgiving this year. Yes, as in just a few days ago!  

My partner and I plan to leave the warmth of Southern California to spend the holiday with my Mom and Pops in Idaho. But if was over the specifics of that Thanksgiving meal that the head-butting began.

You see, all was well until they disclosed the plans for Thanksgiving dinner (which were never discussed with us). I assumed correctly, that since it was just the four of us (no kids or ex-wife this trip), that we'd go to a Thanksgiving buffet for dinner.

I was partially correct. We were going out; not to a buffet, but to a plated dinner with only two entrée choices, like it or not.

I'm the first to admit that I need to slim the trimmings around my waist; however, I'm still the little boy who loves slipping into aTurkey-induced comatose state. Know what I mean? There's nothing like a full belly of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, green jello, 99 cent "heat and eat" rolls, and, of course, pumpkin and pecan pie to bring a Southern boy's foodgasm and saliva-dripping wet dream to life.

I was in utter shock at the thought of experiencing a pitiful one-plate wonder at Thanksgiving.

To top it off, the fancy restaurant with the killer lake view was charging an additional $20 for appetizers, and soup or salad. I began to wonder if the frigid Idaho winter had caused my parents to lose their minds. $60 per person for three-courses is a long way from the nightly hamburger surprise dinners I'd become accustomed to as a child.

Alas, my inner gay diva, Lemonodd Pop, flashed to the surface and began dialing my Mommie Dearest to talk some buffet sense into her. Mom doesn't like Lemonodd Pop (of course, she doesn't realize that's who she's talking to—she simply assumes it's her less-than-nice gay son flipping out "like all gay men do").

The conversation was warmly civil until it turned icily uncivil. I made  no headway with Mom. 

Grabbing a glass of wine (tempted to down the whole bottle) I huffed and puffed to my partner. Spewing forth my disdain over the stand-off conversation with Mother, I realized he was about to send me packing if I didn't zip it.

So, after fuming for 15 more minutes about "the indignity of it all", I decided to take a breath and email to the mama-matriarch of our family and try this "conversation" again.

Gracefully, without pointing both fingers, I eloquently explained that we found the plans excessive (a.k.a. expensive). Instead, I suggested we enjoy a dinner in the manner of the pilgrims, but quickly withdrew that suggestion for fear of having to hunt my own wild turkey in the hills of Idaho with Dad's rifle. The thought of that was simply too much for Lemonodd Pop, my partner and myself to endure.

Satisfied that I had said my peace, I finished off the bottle of wine and toddled off to bed.

But, as I dropped into a slumber a thought slapped me upside the head telling me to "drop the attitude and get some gratitude."

Holy turkey and stuffing with all the fixin's! I realized I was selfishly only thinking of myself, and not being appreciative for what was yet to unfold north of the California-Nevada border. Had I not heard a word Oprah uttered two weeks ago on her "Life You Want" Tour? Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude will bring you more abundance than attitude, attitude, attitude ever will.

The moment my wine-weary eyes awakened the next morning, I stumbled to my Macbook Pro and quickly pounded out a boy, am I an ungrateful son email to Momma. Of course, I've yet to receive any response from Mumsie to either of my emails; but hey, now I have fodder for an article that dissects the communication trials and tribulations between a gay son and his Mommy.

You're probably expecting me to get on the gratitude bandwagon about now, but there's no need for me to do that. Google Thanksgiving + gratitude, and your plates will runneth over with great advice on the topic.

Instead, I'm challenging you to drop the attitude you're likely throwing around this holiday season.

Drop the attitude about:

  1. Having to travel. At least you get to travel, unlike the homeless guy who's stuck on the corner looking for warmth and food. 
  2. Having to rub shoulders with your siblings who just don't get you. Remember that somebody doesn't get them, either.
  3. Jumping from one family dinner to the next just to keep peace in the family tree. At least you have a family tree, like it or not, where feathers can still get ruffled.
  4. Everyone being focused on football, Black Friday, and who's outdone whom this year on the cooking front. Just remember, those things are part of family being who they are. Let it go.
  5. Not wanting to go to the upcoming holiday parties out of obligation. Gracefully decline those that truly don't mean that much to you. But otherwise, be glad anyone wants you around enough to invite you in the first place. 

Get the drift yet? I'm suggesting you drop the attitude and show some gratitude.

It may take swallowing some pride, admitting Mom's not off her rocker, or that other relatives aren't wrong for not being just like you. Let people be who they are. Doing so gives them full permission to do the same for you. What you like is no more important than what they like. (Bet you didn't want to hear that, now did you?) 

If you're intent on really enjoying that second piece of pumpkin or pecan pie slathered in whip cream, consider this: change your attitude and ask yourself, "How can I be in gratitude, and love the dysfunction that is my Thanksgiving holiday, with my family or friends?"