Obligation with a side of Stove Top, please.

Fall has fallen early this year. We have had a nice cool summer, little to no humidity. Lots of rain. Cool breezes. Exactly the kind of summer big girls like myself enjoy. Another sure sign of fall is the Starbucks fall flavors. Pumpkin Spice to be exact. Everyone and their baby’s momma’s cousin loves the PSL.

The PSL aside, early fall makes the holidays seem like they are on their way that much faster. Like, a NASA toilet reentering the atmosphere faster. And I will go ahead and put it out there. One of my favorite lines ever from a movie came from the Goddess of Snarky Working Class and High End Elegance, Anne Bancroft. She plays Adele, a long suffering, exhausted, angry and bewildered matriarch of a bizarre although seemingly normal family in Home for the Holidays. She describes how much she hates Thanksgiving, and she says “I’m giving thanks that we don’t have to go through this for another year. Except we do, because those bastards went and put Christmas right in the middle, just to punish us.” Truer words have never been spoken here, people. From my heart, to Adele’s lips.

I love my family. I do. We are broken into a bunch of separate pieces, and the holidays don’t really bring us all together. And that sucks. But guess what? The survivors of the family’s slow burn do get together, and that sucks too. No room to sit. Experimental stuffing. Five different tables filled with five sections of the family tree. We even sat in the back porch once. My husband whispered audibly that he thought my cousin’s girlfriend was kind of whorey. She wasn’t, still isn’t, and it was clearly stupid for him to say. But he was on the back porch, for fuck’s sake. And she was at the head table. At my mother’s house. We got into a huge fight that night, by the way, because it was during The Great War of 2006, the stuff in my house that legends are made of.

I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of my in laws. And I am not going to until after Thanksgiving. I got roped into cooking dinner for my in laws. They are a small family. A quiet family. A family that really cannot be explained in one paragraph. In one post. In one novel. In one lifetime. My husband barely likes them. But they are his kin, and with kin comes the main reason I find the holidays troublesome: obligation.

I am obligated to spend time with people I don’t want to spend time with. I am obligated to cook food that really isn’t to my liking because of bland and borderline infantile palates. I am obligated to clean my house and we already know how I feel about that. And on top of it all, I am obligated, by sheer humanity alone, to be grateful that I have a home, a family, and food to cook. Well of course I am, humanity. Of course I am. But fuck if it’s going to make me do the electric slide in my kitchen! I don’t care how many Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Holiday Stuffing Extravaganza movies come on cable.

I want to travel for holidays. With my family. My immediate family. I think that it would be incredible. Or, I would like to have a holiday with my close friends. My friends who also feel the sting of obligation coursing through their veins. How fun would that be??

But if I did these things, when family members started passing away, I would be a spiritually corrupt asshole full of regret and heartache. I love my family. Even when I don’t have to love them, I do love them. I love them because they are fully aware that every new family has to create their own traditions and their own stuffing experiments, and they are okay with it as long as some compromise is factored in. Well maybe not stuffing experiments because my husband and his family only like Stove Top so there are restrictions. What kind of person only likes Stove Top? I mean, I know it’s good but hell. Innocent Native Americans died and all I can do is serve Stove Top in my bountiful harvest? Where did I go wrong in life?

So, Thanksgiving is coming. But it’s my son’s birthday the week before. And during that party, I am boss. It will ease the pain of the coming holidays. The epidural to labor. The Monistat to the raging yeast infection. The Tucks to the flaring hemmoroids. And so on and so on and so on. My one and only obligation is to my boy. And when he wants to escape me years from now on Thanksgiving, I will dust this post off and read it to myself over and over again, until it sinks in. Then I will cry, and call him a spiritually corrupt asshole and remind him of the lifetime of regret he will experience if he doesn’t do the electric slide with  me in our kitchen.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Big City Copper
    Sep 02, 2009 @ 16:16:38


    If we weren’t already related, I would fall in love!!

    Chinggow! ( crude peasant spanish for “F..k”) I wish I could express myself like you.

    Dogass Copper


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