ALL IN THE FAMILY

There isn’t one celebrity interview or profile that leaves it out. Every Oscar and Emmy winner thanks it. We pay homage to it in poetry and song. And I am getting just a little bit fatigued by all of this “family worship.”

I have a family. There are lots of great people in it. But really, those same great people can be royal pains in the ass, if you catch my drift. And I think you do. Because if asked who they would most hate to be stranded on a desert island with, almost everyone picks a relative.

Mothers-in-law can be real stinkos. I know of one who insists that everyone has to eat the oyster stuffing at Thanksgiving, even though she is the only person for miles who doesn’t gag at the thought. And remember the white glove test? Ok, that was my mother, not my mother-in-law, but still.

Have you ever had a girlfriend tell you that you look like a clown in your favorite polka dot top? Of course not! Only your children will do this. And this honesty extends to critiques of what you cook (this tastes like cardboard), what you buy (only young girls should wear Uggs), to what you say (‘fudge’ instead of the F-word, grow up, Mom).

I get a catalog of women’s clothing. It’s full of cute little outfits, modeled by extremely thin young women wearing false eyelashes. The editor of the catalog got what he/she was a great idea: on every page, one of the models is asked a question—what is your favorite food? What do you love to do the most in winter? What was your favorite birthday gift? And, of course, the editor also wrote the answers. I know this, because svelte models’ favorite food isn’t likely to be their mom’s meatloaf. And sitting by the fire in the winter, playing Monopoly with the family leads to arguments, not happy memories. And as for the gift, I’d bet money that all those models have Rolex watches that their boyfriends got them. Their mother’s hand knitted sweater? Not on the top ten list, surely.

It may be the approaching holidays that are turning me prickly. It’s inevitable that family gatherings will produce: at least one slightly drunken argument, grease stains on my favorite linen napkins, marathon viewings of every holiday TV movie that the “Lifetime” channel has ever produced (ok, that’s not too bad, actually), thousands of excess calories, at least one lost gift card, comparisons between my stuffing and his mother’s stuffing, yet another horrible fruitcake from that cousin in Maine, eggnog, and indigestion.

We tried to avoid the whole thing one year. Just immediate family. Coziness. A cabin in the woods. The dog. A fireplace. Board games. Togetherness. Bonding with those closest to you.

That weekend was one of the most boring forty-eight hours I have ever endured. And you know what they say about dogs and unconditional love? That weekend proved that even dogs have family issues…

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