grace in the midst of insanity or trying to remember the words in thanksgiving

Julia posted about holiday stress and some tips on how to avoid those unpleasant questions that nosy relatives ask, I think to make themselves feel better about their lives. Unfortunately the questions she talks about feel familiar and are the kind of thing I'm hoping to avoid tomorrow.

You know it's kind of sad that I both look forward to and dread tomorrow. I dread not only the annoying questions but also they level of stress the holidays bring out in others, particularly my mother who seems to be at her most pessimistic this year. Don't get me wrong her mother learned guilt tripping from both her Catholic and Jewish friends in her bridge group and lays it on thick. So I understand the stress my own mom is under. I hate that it brings out the worst of her passive aggressiveness, her "I can't do anything right" attitude that I have been known to adopt. It seems so not worth it; so why do we do it to ourselves? Why can't we be more honest with one another: I would visit you but you stress me the f out?

Instead, we endure because we're family or because it's the holidays and we feel particularly guilty about something so we punish ourselves.

Even getting ready for the trip as quick as it's going to be was stressful. I became the pessimist as I packed. Insert cliché about baggage here. But it shouldn't matter what I wear or if I've gained 15 pounds since my family saw me last. I shouldn't need to impress everyone. I should not feel small because I'm not married with 2 kids and a 2 car garage. I should be looking forward to visiting with relatives I don't see often, to eating good Southern food and thinking about all of the things that make me happy.

I should be thankful, grateful for the life I have. I should as Julia suggests, be graceful.

And I will try. But come on you guys, most of you know my family or at least the stories about them. How long do you think grace will last in the presence of a tired and petulant 3 year old, or for that matter an 83 year old?

My goal is to remind myself of all that I have beginning with my family by choice: M, my friends, Midori and ending with my electronics. Hey what can I say I'm all about high definition these days. Come over to my apartment and you'll see what I mean. Is anyone up for a superbowl party?