Confession time… The unsolicited holiday advice that I issued in this sub-par post got thrown out the window the day after I wrote it. My patience evaporated. My kindness turned into silence. My love was still there for certain family members, but I started to crave my normal cushion of 1700 miles… I feel bad for needing my distance.
My family and I must have all been on our best behavior with each other over Thanksgiving. We got reacquainted. We got comfortable again… This Christmas trip familiarity has bred bravery. In true family tradition this vacation has been full of passive aggressive comments, refusal to share real feels and thoughts and a lot of feeling alone while surrounded by people that I love. This is not really different from almost any other family right?! This is the stuff that holiday movies are made out of.
The comments of a few family members seemed designed to induce guilt and remind me of my testimony which is surely buried down deep in my heart somewhere. I can take a lot. I did not even feel bad about the comments for the first few days of the trip but it is the repetition. Its that the comments keep coming. At some point the comments started to bring out my emotions… I have been really good about not showing my hurt, anger, frustration, annoyance and even some pity. I hate these feelings. I don’t think these feelings are helpful to relationships but nonetheless they have been there.
The change in décor of the family room should have been a predictor… When I walked in the first night, proudly displayed on the mantel was a new picture of me. Actually, not a new picture… A mission picture. Right in the middle of the mantel... It has been over five years since I returned. At no point either during my mission or after my mission were mission pictures displayed. We are not one of those families that cover their walls with family pictures. In fact we have almost NO family photos up at all. I found it strange to see this new addition to the mantel but tried not to think much of it.
I know that the comments, the mission picture, and other things are said and done out of love and concern for me. I really do believe that is at the heart of family members’ motives, but it does not take away the bad feelings or tension that these things cause.
I write these sorts of posts and I hate the way they make family members look… I love my family. They are incredible people but the need to vent is just sooo vital sometimes. In some ways blogging to vent instead of attempting again to talk things out is a passive aggressive act in and of itself… ARRRGGGHHHH. I wish I were a better person. I wish I did not care what they said or thought. I wish that I were secure enough in “me” that their comments did not threaten to swallow me.
I have learned from this… Next year I will come home JUST for Christmas and not both holidays.