That’s Not Awkward At All

Since my sister refuses to be around me and I was told by my mom and step dad that since “Christmas is mostly for the kids” and since I don’t have any kids of my own, I was left out of Christmas Day festivities. The first option put on the table was to have me over for Christmas Eve on Saturday night. But, since I had already committed to closing the store for the other two managers who have children, that wouldn’t work out. So, we compromised on Friday night. 
Going into it, I was under the impression that this would be just like Christmas Eve. Well, without the traditional Christmas Eve church service my grandmother likes to attend. It ended up being about 75% like the normal Christmas Eve thing. 
In speaking with my mom earlier in the week, we talked about them picking me up at my house on Friday morning. I would spend the night up there. And then they would bring me back down to Wheat Ridge before I had to be at work at 4pm. I wasn’t too keen on this nonsense of them driving me around. I made the choice to go without a car. So, I called and offered to come up early on the express bus on Thursday night. I, very briefly, brought up the idea that I could just ride my bike. But, they said that they had offered to drive me home on Saturday because riding my bike home with my presents would be too difficult. I don’t normally get too many or too big of Christmas presents. But, in the months leading up to Christmas, we had talked that I really need a mountain bike to get me through another Colorado winter. Or a couch for my office. So, I understood that it might be a bit hard to get two bikes home without some assistance. Thursday afternoon, I took a shower and got the necessary toiletries and extra clothes I would need to spend a couple of nights up in Westminster. I said my goodbye’s and Merry Christmas to my roommate and headed out the door to the bus stop. 
Thanks to the very handy bus routes in the maps application on my phone, I was able to avoid standing outside at the bus stop very long. After no more than five or six minutes, I was aboard the bus heading for the downtown bus depot. And once again, after no more than 5 minutes after taking the escalator down into the belly of Market Street Station, there was the 120x bus rolling up to take me to Westminster. All told, it probably took less than an hour to travel 15 miles. I enjoy riding up there. But, not so much when there is snow on the ground. So, I live with the bus system. 
Upon exiting the bus, I could see the headlights from my parent’s SUV waiting for me not too far away. My step dad came up by himself. It’s only about a mile from the park and ride to my parent’s house. When we got there, I said hello to my youngest step brother who I only see about this time of year. He’s now working in Florida. And he’s one of the only members of the family not to have lived in Colorado at any point. Wow. Has he lost weight! I had heard that he was working on losing weight. But, I didn’t expect him to be so skinny. Good for him. 
Since my step brother was staying in the guest bedroom in the basement, I got the trundle bed in the guest bedroom next to my parents room. I didn’t mind. It was a little cramped. And it’s not my own bed. But, it was ok. Both mornings, I woke up with the electric blanket cord tangled up around my feet. I’m a bit of a frenetic sleeper. 
I awoke to see my step brother doing some work at his computer in the office and my parents in the kitchen cooking. My mom was working on dinner. And my step dad was making my favorite dessert, fudge. We left the house at 11:30am to go see a matinee showing of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Yes, I was able to hold on until Friday without sneaking into the nearest movie theater. I’m a big fan of the Swedish version. And my step dad had read the book. The big question mark was my mom. I wasn’t sure if she would like it. It’s a bit dark. And it’s directed by David Fincher. But, I hoped she would be hooked by the compelling murder mystery storyline. She ended up saying the she liked it. I liked it as well. We all agreed that it was long at 158 minutes. But, it’s very well done. I had heard that one scene that I won’t talk about here would be more graphic than the Swedish version. And it was. But, not too bad. It’s just a little weird sitting next to your mother during said scene. 
I think we got home a good hour before my other step brother, uncle and grandparent’s arrived. I’m not out to my grandparents. And thus, I worried that they might want an explanation for why I won’t be there on Christmas Day. My grandfather didn’t mention it. But, grandmother seemed to understand that we were doing this since I wouldn’t be able to attend Christmas Eve. And didn’t even bring up Christmas Day. Right before dinner, my step sister in Illinois called. I chatted with her for a few minutes. But, I had to cut it short since I was trying to talk to her while putting food on my plate. 
Dinner was very nice. As usual, we used the good china, enjoyed each other’s company before, during and after the meal. Say what you will about how hard it is to get along with family, I do love getting together like this. My mom and step dad have been together since I was 15 years old. So, there has been plenty of time to blend this family together. We all know each other very well. There was lots of stories told and much laughing. And while cleaning up in the kitchen, we all stood around listening to my grandmother talk about her grandfather and father who got in trouble for running alcohol during prohibition. I stood directly across from her, my arms folded with my phone recording the video for posterity. My grandparents are in their mid to late 80’s. There is only so much more time to enjoy time with them. I’ve tried to remember their stories. But, video recording, even on the sly, is the best way of saving these memories for future generations. I’m trying to get them down before they are lost forever. 
After all the dishes were clean and put away, we made our way to the family room for present opening time. Apparently, I was the one not aware that I alone would be the only one opening presents this night. Yeah. That’s not awkward, or anything. I even half joked about it. So, Christmas is “mostly for kids”. But, not solely. I sat there reading cards and opening presents with everyone glaring at me. Even without receiving a large gift, getting back and forth on the bus and my bike would have been difficult. I ended up receiving the following: 
*A big bag of home made chocolate chip cookies from my mom
*A small bag of theme gifts. A candy bar, popcorn, two cans of coke and a movie theater gift card
*New pajama pants
*A somewhat purplish sweater from my grandparents. Knowing that my grandparents are hard of hearing, I mumbled to my step brother sitting next to me asking if it was really purple. The light wasn’t so good. I smiled and accepted it with thanks. Later, I got it into better light to find it not as purple as I initially feared. I’m not a fan of the purple hue. 
*And, in the very nice card from my grandparents, was a crisp $100 bill. I know what I can use that for! 
*Last, but not least, my step dad went out into the garage to fetch a nice mountain bike. It turns out, they had it sitting in the garage since Black Friday. It’s nothing high end. But, that doesn’t matter. I’ll definitely give it a good work out this winter. It’s greatly appreciated. I was wondering how much longer I could ride the Langcifer on snow covered streets. 
I’m extremely disappointed that I wasn’t able to spend time with my family on Christmas Day. But, this more than made up for it. Even having been the only one opening presents, I felt included and happy. It was very nice and thoughtful of my parents to include me in so much. And to have the rest of my family move their schedules around simply because I couldn’t make it on the actual Christmas Eve was more than nice. 
After I had loaded everything into the back of the SUV for my return trip to Wheat Ridge, I gave my mom a big hug. We both shed a few tears. It’s been a tough year. We both expressed confidence and hope that this won’t go on too much longer. I’m well beyond doing this for my sister. I’m doing this for my mom. My parents been so great to me. I’m trying to give back in patience and latitude. 
I’m not out to my roommate. When I got back, we talked for a few minutes. He knew I was doing this early because I had to work. But, he didn’t know that I wouldn’t be there for Christmas. He expressed hope that I could still get back up there after work on Saturday or even Sunday morning. I nodded my head in agreement even as I was wondering what I would be doing on Sunday. He then said something I should have seen coming. He lost his father to a car accident earlier this year. So, at times like this he’ll often talk about the need to spend time with family now. You don’t know when or if you won’t have tomorrow to spend with your loved ones. 
Sad. But, very true. 


About Frogtosser

A former sailor and pizza maker who is done hiding from the world and is now living life to it's fullest extent. I'm a single speed bicycle commuter who enjoys writing and photography. I'm a voracious reader. And a huge geek!
This entry was posted in Christmas, Family, Gender Stuff and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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