The goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny in old man's hat.
If you 'aven't got a penny,
A ha'penny will do,
And if you 'aven't got a ha'penny,
God bless you!
This is sung with a strong Cockney accent. Usually it's sung repeatedly around my house right before Christmas.
But I am not really in the mood to sing right now.
See, my gran sang that song all the time. It was her thing. Every year, we all made a big deal about going up to my aunt's house (because she won't do Christmas anywhere else, the meanie) where we would all cram together and open gifts, eat too much (usually ham and lasagna...I know, but I would choose one or the other), and play board games. These games usually kicked off when Gran took out her hearing aid and put it in its little case, because she knew we'd end up loud enough to hurt her ears even though she only had about 20% hearing in one ear and none in the other.
After Gran died, we tried to do something different for Christmas. That is to say, my family decided it didn't matter to be together anymore.
It matters to me.
Not only do I not get to see my grandpa, aunt, uncle, and cousins on Christmas, I probably won't get to see them afterward. Because I just discovered that my cunning plan of taking off the whole week of Christmas wasn't good enough. Even with two month's worth of notice, no one on that side of the family can muster up enough time in their days to get together for one evening. Even if that evening happens to be not-Christmas.
I understand that we're not kids anymore, and that Christmas changes when you get older. That's just fine.
What I have a problem with is that no one else cares.
I keep thinking that Gran would be so mad at everyone right now...oh, she'd be seething. She'd make sure everyone had a night off together. One that we'd all come to, because you didn't say no to Gran. But no one's saying yes to me.
This isn't the first year that this has happened, though. So I was ready for it. What I wasn't ready for was this...
My aunt and uncle are coming from Colorado with my cousin. I'm excited about this. This will be fun.
But when are they coming? Oh, Christmas night. So, I have no time with them before I go back to work. But that's fine. We can get together some evening for our family Christmas, right?
Here's what Dad decided to do.
Lunch in Shipshewana. The Monday after Christmas. At one.
Right when I'll be peeling the top off a cup of mandarin oranges in the break room at the library.
Which he knew when he set the whole thing up.
I am told this today, despite repeated requests for times and places. Dad's response was that it was convenient for him.
I asked if he had considered going on Sunday.
"Oh, that would be too hard for me," he replied.
Boo-hoo, I thought.
"I told you she'd be upset," Mom called from the next room. Apparently we just aren't telling Laura things anymore, because what she doesn't know can't hurt her.
"Okay," I replied. "I guess I just won't see my family at Christmas."
"We can go up together on Saturday..." Dad called. I work on Saturday. Because I took the week of Christmas off. To see my family from Colorado. Or Chicago...Anyone?
I went off to wrap Christmas gifts I won't get to give to anyone in person.
Ho Ho Ho.
And I swore this would be a Christmas on which I wasn't depressed. Seems like that won't be true after all.