Dear Family: An Open Letter for the Holidays

love holidays just as much as the next person, especially Christmas. Well, my mom “hates” Christmas so hopefully she’s not next to me… (I’ll get to that in a second), but Christmas time is my favorite time of year. I love the Christmas caroling, decorations, adorable couples smooching under the mistletoe, and of course, the holiday break (all you college kids, ya feel?). Glancing through all the beautiful Christmas cards, mostly from people I don’t know – parents’ friends or something, watching old Christmas movies, and the family get togethers? What could be better?… hooray.

Family “get-togethers” in my household are… interesting. No, that’s an understatement… Truthfully, there’s really no way of describing them, but I’ll do my best.

My mom always says to us, “every family has something,”  in other words, she means every family has a secret, or a problem, or some sort of thing, whatever it may be. Our family is no different. We have many the things, but for the purposes of this post, I’ll only discuss one, and that is: family…especially on holidays. *Lord help us*

In short, my mom, sisters, and I are not very “close” to my dad’s side of the family…So when family holidays roll around the corner, we look for escape plans. You think I’m joking. Oh no, that I am not. My sister and I almost feigned illness to get out of Christmas dinner (mom’s idea…not mine), but neither one of us had the courage to do so. *cough cough.* And like any good parental protector, my mother prepares us by roll-playing “typical” conversations that my relatives would ask me. Constantly, she reminds me saying “you’re too open and honest, make sure you quiz them back! Like, “how’s your job going? What have you been up to then?” It goes on, and on…She also warns us about holiday weight. *ugh*. “Don’t eat anything there, especially the desserts! Pretend it’s like poison. DON’T eat it.” “Yes mom…” Please tell me you laughed at that, don’t feel sorry, the food is actually a little on questionable…

Finally by the time we’re in the house, somewhat settled down between an aunt pretending to have Alzheimer’s and a grandmother who legitimately has Alzheimer’s, you can quite say the festivities have begun! Not to mention the typical questions: “How’s college? You’re at OSU right?” “Yes, Ohio St- “(Dad interrupts): “THE Ohio State” *everyone laughs, mom rolls her eyes* “Yes, that’s correct. I love it there, it’s absolutely wonderful.” “Great! What’s your major? Do you have friends? How long of a walk is it from one end of campus to the other?”

mother hawk swoops in to “save” me, switching subjects: “How about that WI vs. OSU game?! Quite a shocker.”

FYI: I rooted for OSU. *I’m from WI? Oops.* I love my Buckeyes too much more.

After what seems like an eternity of small talk and catching up, I hear my favorite question of all time: “SO Beth, where’s your boyfriend?”

(Oh my boyfriend? Funny you should ask! He’s currently in the hospital with a horrible case of nonexistent.)

“Oh, I don’t have a boyfriend.” (Thanks for the reminder, family…)

To all my single ladies and gents: It’s ok to be single. You’re better off being in no relationship than any sort of toxic relationship. Been there, done that…unfortunately can’t say it won’t happen again, I’m just a bit too naive when it comes to love. *sighs*

My mom wants me to find someone from the Naval Academy…Or of course to sit next to some cute guy in church, but let me give you fair warning: just because he wears a cross around his neck, doesn’t mean he carries those values outside the Church doors…You have been warned.

To be quite honest, I don’t mind being single. I’ve been single for so long, I’ve grown quite fond of my independence. Then again, I wouldn’t mind having someone’s hand to hold, or to cuddle up with on cold winter days…or to tell me I’m beautiful even if I look like I’ve been asleep for a century. Not even that. Instead, dance with me, splash in the rain puddles, log roll down giant hills, gaze at the stars and admire their beauty…We all get so caught up in the physicality of relationships, but what about the simple aspect of just being together?

*Side thought: Gosh! I’m starting to come up with a bunch of new post ideas…man oh man.

Back to the story:

By the time all the questions have been asked and answered, the watches checked (we’ve stayed longer than desired), and goodbyes said, we’re finally in the car on the way home. FINALLY. But to be quite honest, it’s a sad thing, feeling happy saying goodbye to family. (Don’t get me wrong, I was happy, more like ECSTATIC, once I was out of there, but still…it’s not right.)

Family time is a precious event. Even if it’s with people who you don’t know that well, or get on your very last nerve…These are people who care about you, and are there for you in time of emergency. Although my family dynamics may not change, ever for that matter, especially with my dad’s side of the family, that doesn’t mean that [neither] I [nor you] can’t make an effort to change it [with your own family]. We have so much to learn from one another, so why not start learning from the closest people around you – with family?

Happy Holidays everyone, stay safe and stay sane.



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