tortured holidays at nautilus teachings

Malaysia, Borneo, Sabah, Sandakan, Sukau, Kinabatangan River, fauna, wild, mammals, primates, monkeys, Macaques, Pig-Tailed Macaque, Macaca nemestrina

dealing with the holidays
can be pure torture
especially if you have to spend
time with relatives
you do not particularly like
and would never be friends with
were they not related by blood.
but we do!
we go to the gatherings
bring stupid presents
paint on a smile
wear the ‘i like everyone here mask’
drink one too many drinks
and fall asleep quickly
in our soft beds
hoping
next year
we will be strong enough
to say,
‘i am sorry, i have to go to….’
or even just a kind and simple
‘no, thank you’…
but it’s the stress!
we are expected to do
exactly as our parents did
go to the same places
build like memories
and love them all,
just because they are blood…
well,
i learned long ago
blood is
NOT
necessarily a connective bond
and that
is
OK!
i left some of my blood family behind
in 2005.
i know that sounds harsh
but i had no relationship
with any of them
their spouses or children
for my whole life,
so why now?
we had all exchanged forgivenesses
all accepted our childhood was
basically f’d up
and we had no bond.
the only thing we really shared
was parents
and since our mom
had died so long ago
we all just drifted further apart.

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mom was the glue
the bonding agent
the one who called you and said,
‘he’s your brother, say you are sorry,
forgive him…’
she’s the one who planned events
you could never say no to
because,
well,
she would be there
and we all loved mom…
my husband and i were discussing the fact
that neither one of us
have any siblings
we can talk to
celebrate with
cry with…
so there is this weird understanding
that no matter what
we keep all our kids
as close as we can…
we have a few resistors
and we have accepted that,
but it doesn’t mean we like it
we just let all the hurt go
knowing the small moments
we get with them
have to matter
whether we are screaming mad
hurt
confused
or feeling abandoned
we are their parents…
whew!
was it this hard for my mom and dad?
harder!
this is fact.
for only in my mothers dying
did it reveal all the
unsettled
conversations
which never took place
while she was alive and well…
we take for granted
tomorrow.
that it will be here.
but it’s not promised.

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in my new book,
the girl and the box
which will land on shelves
by mothers day
i talk about the need
to have the conversations
while there is still
breath in our lungs…
the holiday come in
with a rush
we run here to there
eat to much
spend to much
we are exhausted
frazzled
in need of some
ME time…
yet,
we go to all the functions
wrap presents
listen to people share stories
count to ten
before walking away-
we.
be.
good.
because,
after all
santa knows if you’ve been good or bad
and we really, all want to be seen
as a good person…
aging changes that.
you get to a point where
you accept reality
and then
you very kindly
and quietly
do what mom does…
you put up your two
middle fingers
and whisper
fuck off…
i hope your holidays are good
i hope you have fun
and i truly hope
you are someone who
wishes people
Merry Christmas
and not
happy holidays…

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