THE HOLIDAYS—MAY THEY REST IN PEACE

Bah humbug

I can’t lie—I’m glad the holidays are over. Yes, I’m one of those people. But when you have no family to spend Christmas with and no significant other to kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, the holidays blow. I survived by drinking more than I should and religiously following the posts on a site called Emerging from Broken. It was on this site I learned I was not alone. There’s many, many more like me who either have no contact or minimal contact with their terribly dysfunctional families.

Every day I’d peruse Facebook even though I was continuously assaulted by happy people getting together with their families. Even worse was seeing photos and postings of my own happy family. It stung. A lot. It wasn’t so much the lack of them I was missing. It was the lack of a family to call my own. Most people who are estranged from their family have chosen to create their own—usually through marriage. In my case, it’s only my son and I.

At some point in December, my son threw out those dreaded words no single mom ever wants to hear: “Why can’t you marry Daddy so he can come live with us?”

“Because Daddy is engaged to be married to another woman,” I told him. The boy is 11. Sorry, but I’m just not sugarcoating it anymore. At least my response succeeded in halting the conversation in its tracks.

We spent Christmas day with my friend’s in-laws who have graciously “adopted” us. There are advantages to celebrating with other people’s families. In between the ham and the pumpkin pie, the conversation turned to religion (a big social no-no) and ended with my friend’s husband banging his fists on the table and accusing his father of refusing to acknowledge his nephew’s homosexuality. “Why can’t you admit your nephew is gay, Dad? Say it!” he screamed.

This drama didn’t faze me in the least because hey—it ain’t my family. So I got up and went into the other room with the kids. It was very freeing. But New Year’s Eve was a completely different story. Who wants to go to a party where everyone is coupled up, or worse, there are 3 token single men all vying for my drunken attention? No thanks. Plus, everyone’s an alcoholic in my neighborhood, or a meth head (or usually both), so if driving is especially dicey under normal circumstances, can you imagine on New Year’s Eve?

But after a meh Christmas and an utterly craptastic New Year’s Eve, the Gods of Fair Play decided to reward me with a book contract for my hot mess that took me over a year to write and edit. It’s called THE MEATBALL MISTRESS and it’s about a sassy Italian girl from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn who flees to the Jersey shore after finding her fiancé in a compromising position. She’s, of course, bitter and cynical about men (I really had to stretch to write about that!) and meets her match in a guy who’s probably the biggest commitment-phobe in Jersey. So how do they wind up falling in love, you ask? Hmmm…

Since I literally thought I was going to end up burying this one in my backyard underneath a mound of compost, I’ll admit I’m pleased. Hopefully this recent euphoria will work to balance out the emotional upheaval I’ll be experiencing next month when I turn 46.

So how were your holidays?

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. igneousidol
    Jan 12, 2014 @ 01:32:54

    You have nothing to envy here, except I got to see my Granddaughter and older kids, my kids are the family that tolerate me. I like my family, but we don’t all get together, except for funerals.

    Reply

  2. menopausalmother
    Jan 13, 2014 @ 17:29:11

    Next year you’ll just have to plan to spend the holidays with us. I promise you’ll have fun and there won’t be any heavy conversations at the dinner table. We just talk about FOOD. Hey, congrats on the book–it sounds awesome! I’m really happy for you <3

    Reply

  3. RisingSong
    Jan 14, 2014 @ 07:56:39

    Only one year to write an entire novel?!! Not bad. Congratulations on the book contract! That would be enough to make happy my new year!

    I’m sorry about your boy’s candidness. You can’t fault him, but I understand how it stung. Believe me, these are precisely the words that I would dread to hear from my kids if…you know what.

    “Why can’t we all just stay together?” Why can’t Daddy just move with us to the new house?” “Why can’t you just let Daddy come back?” “Don’t be mad at Daddy, he does nice things for other people.” (This one I’ve already heard)

    So hard for them to understand…so hard for you not to sound like the bitter bitch. Good for you for answering with nothing less than the truth. Yes, he is old enough. I’m sorry you had to go through the moment, though. All I can say is that I can relate.

    Raise a glass (of something strong!) to your new book! I will look for it :)

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jan 16, 2014 @ 09:17:20

      Thanks for the Congrats! I have to say I am always very conscious to not badmouth my ex to my son, even though I have to bite my lip sometimes. I remember reading somewhere that a child knows he is half of each parent, so if you badmouth the other parent, the child takes it personally. That concept has always stayed with me. It’s so hard though–esp. when my son wants something and I say no, and he says, “Well, my dad would buy it for me.” I want to scream, “No, he wouldn’t, because he doesn’t have a freaking job, but maybe if he paid child support I could buy it for you!” sigh

      Reply

  4. Damien
    Jan 19, 2014 @ 03:00:42

    T – I very much understand your holiday frustrations. I love the holidays, to be honest, and I do have a huge family – brother, sisters, parents, extended – to spend it with. However, I am the oldest of four and the only unattached in terms of relationship. Also, I have a wonderful career, but in a field and place which means so little money that it’s as if I have a college job at times.

    So you can imagine the questions. When are YOU going to settle down? Do you think you’ll have kids? The girl you’re dating is HOW old?? Aren’t you a bit old for her? My father tries to be more subtle than my aunts, but he ends up looking like a drunk guy on Wheel of Fortune.

    As for the New Year’s Eve parties, I have a similar dilemma. I have an attractive “resume” for women, but when they find out I live abroad, they don’t bother. What could I possibly offer them in the long run?

    In any case, the holidays are great in some ways, but when I leave and head back I feel like a slacker who doesn’t have much to show for his life. And really, this just isn’t accurate. Try – as I do – to focus on the positive in your life. You have a great kid, obvious talent and success in a field that is next to impossible to succeed in. Health. Sense of humor. Oh yeah, and another publishing contract!

    So, smile.

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jan 23, 2014 @ 22:56:53

      When I look at your life I think it is completely glamorous. You are living a dream. But I understand the parental pressure you must feel. The older I get the more I realize it’s MY life and no one else really has any say in it. I’m too old to be concerned with pleasing my parents.

      I’m becoming more positive this year, more in charge of my destiny. Trying to bash myself less. We’ll see how it goes. It is only January, after all.

      Reply

  5. Grief Happens
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 09:52:40

    I’m catching up on blog reading and your posts are always some of my favorites! Congratulations on the book contract!!

    Reply

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