Category Archives: fam

When to Opt-Out of Thanksgiving

It’s relatively well known that I got engaged a week after my parents split up. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to plan a wedding OR had your family break apart, but I would advise against experiencing both in tandem.** My job was also at an all-time low. We are talking peak stress five days a week.

For the first six months of this strange new world, my brain seemed to shut down. I had a hard time remembering things. There are dinners I went to with people whose names and faces I can’t recall. There were meetings I forgot I attended within 24 hours of attending them. When I wasn’t forgetting things, I was fretting that I had some sort of early on-set Alzheimer’s. I may not have appeared to be a hot mess, but a hot mess I was.

Which is probably why I’ve never told this awesome story from the first Thanksgiving without both of my parents.

My parents separated in July 2009, and by November, they were still living in our house together. A couple weeks before Thanksgiving, my dad had had it.

“I just want to let you know that I’m moving out,” my dad said to me over the phone. “I am still trying to figure some things out with your mother, but I’ve just come to the conclusion that I can’t live like this.”

We’re either together, or we’re not is what I heard, and I didn’t blame him. He had an apartment and would be moving into it two weeks before Thanksgiving.

When I asked my mom what our holiday plans were, she quipped that they’d be the same as always — my aunt, uncle, cousins, their kids and my aging grandparents all staying at our house. My brother, my dad and I were disheartened. I think were hoping to find a way to work through the first Thanksgiving apart, together.

But on we trudged. And we were low on drama until the day after Thanksgiving. I walked into our house after dinner with D’s family to nobody talking to each other.

“Uh, hi. What’s up?”

My mom topped off her wine glass and led me out of the kitchen and into the home office. She looked like she’d just done battle.

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Why Parents Shouldn’t Get Divorced

D: I feel about you like you felt about me after I got robbed.
M: How is that?
D: Like I’m waiting for it to hit you and for you to get upset.
M: (to self) Come to think of it, my mom having a possible boyfriend is kind of like getting robbed. OF MY SANITY AND FREEDOM ONCE I GO DATELINE ON THIS GUY AND STRANGLE HIM.

It’s OK to laugh about this stuff, you guys, I promise.

The Real Gems

“I like to call that shitting in your own bed. I think I’m ready for a beer.”

Sometimes my grandparents want to talk about my parents’ split. I usually just listen and scribble down gems like this. Never a dull conversation.

Mama Bear Visits the District

My mom was here over the weekend and we had quite the itinerary. On Friday, I sent her to my friend and hairstylist who gave her a sleek new ‘do, and then it was off to my second dress fitting—which was the first time my mom had seen the dress. Can’t share photos from that, obviously, but I was happy she was finally able to see it. This time next month, the dress will likely be hanging in my apartment, ready for its trip to Iowa!

Saturday morning we got up bright and early and headed out to Annapolis for a morning of water skiing with D and our friend C (whose house I lived in last year while she was away). I stayed out of the water (cold + afraid of hurting myself six weeks before the nuptials), but we had a great time touring the river and watching D take his first dip.

We ate some fresh seafood before coming back to DC and doing a bit of shopping, while D and one of our very best men rounded up groceries for a home cooked meal. I wish I had Mom’s photos; we didn’t ham it up or anything. Mom and D ended up beating the pants off of K and I in cards, which meant treating them to gelato. (Which makes us all winners, right?)

Sunday we took Mom around to the National Cathedral and down to the White House and took a seat on the bench from where we called our families minutes after getting engaged.

Mom departed yesterday afternoon and we tried to get back in the swing of things by doing some honeymoon planning (sofrigginexcited). This morning, D was looking at getting our flights reserved and this may or may not have happened:

I tell ya. It’s a good thing I’m taking my maiden name as my middle name. That he can remember. 🙂

Updated: The Bridal Shower

Photos from my bridal shower earlier this month are starting to trickle in, and even though this isn’t the world’s greatest photo of me (ever the narcissist), I had to share it because I adore D’s little cousin M. We got to be better buddies over the holidays and I about died when I saw her do her “Project Runway” walk using D’s parents’ hallway as a catwalk. (Her dad and little brother followed suit.)

M was a big help during my shower. Once gift opening started, sat on the chair with me and helped me unwrap. She eventually wandered off, but returned a few minutes later and stopped the shower in its tracks by standing in front of me flashing a toothy grin and holding her hands behind her back.

“Megan,” she said. “I have something for you.” She pulled out a handpicked bouquet of dandelions and there were awwws all around. She then (very politely) asked me if it’d be OK to take them home with her after I was done with them, so we put them in some water and opened the rest of the gifts.

UPDATED: Post and you shall receive—shortly after publishing this, I received a bunch of shower photos including:

Shots of our mothers and my grandma.

Me orchestrating bridal bingo (to my surprise, the bible study group was the raunchiest of them all!)

(That’s D’s sister and her little boy who just turned 1! He handled the chaos of ladies quite well.)

Me with my awesome hostesses, who are long-time friends of D’s mothers.

These ladies were total pros at the shower thing and kept my cup full of mimosa to calm any jitters. Having not met many of the people who were at my shower, I was a little nervous going in. Plus, how nerve-wracking is it to sit and open presents with all eyes on you? Turns out, it wasn’t so bad. In fact, I had a ton of fun and was overwhelmed by the generosity of our family and their friends.

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Thirty Minutes

My parents are using the afternoon to frantically pack up our house so that they can hand over the keys to new owners tomorrow. (No, my mom hasn’t really been able to get it together before today and yes, my dad has offered his assistance many times prior to today.)

It’s overcast and chilly at home today, and according to reports, the items that haven’t been sold from our garage are getting the heave-ho given there’s not time to save everything. I’m picturing this happening in our backyard where the lilac bush has begun to wilt as it can do about this time of year.

I’m going to give myself a solid 30 minutes to feel sad about this and then go back to feeling like the most fortunate kid on the block.

Wallowing soundtrack:

Vandaveer, Beverly Cleary’s 115th Dream

Bon Iver, Blood Bank (footage from the sunrise show at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery)

(Suggestions are open for a post-wallow soundtrack.)

Team Bob! (Family Email Part Two)

Some of you might remember my family email situation from a couple years back. Nothing has changed, except maybe the frequency at which I check that particular email account and the filter I created in Gmail to send any wayward messages back to where they came from. (Thanks, Google!)

And because I still get irritated when family members send racially-charged jokes, unsubstantiated health claims, ridiculous political propaganda and sappy chain letters, I cherish the days when one of my relatives actually responds in retaliation.

This time, one of my great aunts sent a chain letter of the you-just-unknowngly-shunned-Jesus-at-the-supermarket-and-now-you’re-screwed variety. But not nearly as screwed as you are if you don’t forward this message to 10 people right freaking now.

Tonight her son Bob decided not only to tell Ma what was up, but to come out of the closet to his extended family as well. You can’t make up stuff like this.

I get angry when all e-mails like this state that if you do not forward or respond, you do not care. Come on people. Enough is enough. [L]ife sucks. We all make decisions in life. Everyone’s life is different. I still get pissed off with my life and how it unfolded. My life is finally taking a turn for the better as Bill has come into my life and I thank GOD for him. I have had many problems growing up in a small town hiding my feelings and scared that someone would shoot me or beat the crap out of me but it is time to move on. That’s it… No MORE.

I’ve never met Bob, but I officially love the guy. And I think it’s time I contacted him to offer my support…and know-how of the magic email filter.