Monday, December 27, 2010

For God's Sake who invited the Athiest to Christmas Dinner?

Before I even go into this- I hesitated sharing for a number of reasons, one being the three posts about vehicular whining- let me tell you that all in all my real Christmas with my family was a good one. Everything went well and anything that was awry I was able to sweep under the rug. Kind of.

So we all have something in our family closet, right? Divorced parents remarried to bimbo's or bimbette's. The funny uncle. The Aunt who used to be an Uncle. Well, right now my sister thinks she's an Athiest who celebrates Pagan holidays but not regular ones. Fine and Dandy. I really don't care about your religion as long as you are not asking me to drink the purple kool-aid or chicken blood. And ever since we made that pact a few years ago where in I promised to never help her out/screw up her life again- my life has been easier.

I needed her to watch the kids over Christmas break and asked her to come Wed and Thurs. She asked what the plans were for Christmas. I told her that the husband's whole family would be there for dinner and that Grams and Gramps would be staying over Christmas Eve in the guest bedroom. No prob, she said, she'd bring her air mattress and sleep in the pool room. I hoped the lack of a direct invitation would be enough but apparently not. I winced a little, ok a lot, two days where in I spend minimum of time in near proximity is just about all I can handle of her. This, then would make four. She was great- cleaned out the girls closet, etc. I was very busy- wrapping or cleaning so don't think I didn't appreciate the help. But, its still hard to be around her- sadly, it just is.

Christmas Eve came and she disappeared conveniently about the time we were to leave for Church service. Bernie, the patriarch of our Catholic family, cautiously informed me that he had invited her to join us at mass but she declined. I matter of factly validated that and then quickly moved on. A touch uncomfortable to explain that Sis would prefer not to celebrate the birth of our Lord because she was ATHIEST. YES, I said ATHIEST, no, not a, she wouldn't be sacrificing anything while we were gone and no there wasn't a pentagram drawn on the floor under the guest bed. ARRGH! Couldn't she just take her uncomfortable religion or lack there of (which if you dedicatedly believe against religion- isn't that still a form of a religion???)and go elsewhere on my Christmas?

Again, everything was going smoothly Christmas, presents were given and received. I loved my jewelry box I picked out and the bracelet that hubby picked out. Everyone behaved. We cooked, we set the table, we called Aunts and Uncles far away. We decided to eat buffet style- food in the kitchen, guests at the table- we were running out of space. So while I was taking the rolls out of the oven someone asked if we minded if we gathered in the kitchen to say Grace all together. Awesome, I said- thinking 'oh yeah, gather up, ye minions, and dance to my tune' when the only other awkward moment of the day occurred.

Patriarch Bernie realized that Sister wasn't with us. Everything halted. I started to sweat. Now I was in a room full of Catholics who didn't know about the Athiest in the closet. It was at this time that I wished she was a lesbian in the closet. Then she could be there to pray with us and run off to see a girlfriend later. Damn it all! I said "Yes. We can pray with out her." "No, we couldn't do that!" was their aghast reply. There was this split second of ...nothing....then I turned and RAN down the stairs. Pretty fast, too, for an out of shape 42 year old woman.

She was lurking around a corner. "Please come up stairs, the Catholics want you to say grace with them!" "No" she said in that same stead fast, brick wall, I will stick to this until you stick a pool stick in my eye- voice that I'd learned years before would take at least an hour to beat out of her. (I considered the pool stick option.)

So somewhere between a scream and a whisper and between gritted teeth I replied "What do you want me to do? Tell them you're a Pagan?" She threw up her hands and said "Tell them I'm in the bathroom- I don't care!" Really? The bathroom is the best you can come up with? Thanks, cuz that's what I want to mention to my guests, on Christmas, in the middle of the kitchen right before we say grace and eat a lovely dinner. I just can't win. I was born into the wrong life. Surely I was. I stood there for a milli-second and whirled around and bolted up the stairs. I rejoined the circle, grabbed the hands of the people next to me and stated in the calmest, matter of fact- let's not continue to debate this- voice that I could muster- "She's in the bathroom and asks that we go ahead an pray with out her, she could be awhile."

Well, that shut them up. We said a nice prayer, had a nice dinner to which she 'appeared', I drank wine (thank God, I am Catholic) and we had a nice remainder of the day.

Its honestly the first time I have found bathroom talk the best solution during a dinner meal. But whatever. Later- I had a question rip through my mind like a tornado through Kansas. What the Hell was she doing there with us giving and receiving gifts, and supping with us-if she is an Athiest? Its not like I hid the fact that it was Christmas! Hmm, nice. Thanks for the awkward moments, Sis, did you like the shirts I bought you? This won't happen next year. Trust me.


  1. Okay, I'm going to tread lightly here. I don't know your history with your sister, it seems there is is one and that it hasn't always been positive. Believe me, I'm not trying to play Ms Manners or Dear Abby, but I like you, and I think you're a fantastic story teller-writer. and frankly I felt your anger in your post. It's good to get it out, best if you can let it go, it eats you up inside and can cause bitterness, ulcers, and depression. Can you tell I'm a nurse with a psych degree? lol
    You can tell me to mind my own business, I will, and I won't stop reading your blog. I think you handled the situation in front of the fam with dignity and grace-forgive the pun.

  2. what do you expect from someone who would let a dog die rather than think to get out a phone book and call the vet?! Ha! Oh, all those lucky people that don't know the "sister".... Don't worry people: Christine and I have made each other our sister, so we're good!
    A Classic Chris Christmas, that's what I'm calling this one!
    love your REAL sister from another mister (and mrs.)

  3. Oh, I like that- Classic Chris Christmas! Yeah, I think I was torn by wanting her to have a nice family Christmas and telling her to bug off because she sets me on edge. Huge history, and ususally I keep it private but the reality of me running up the stairs to tell everyone she was in the bathroom so I could spare them the angst of having to figure out what Athiesm meant to them, right then on Christmas Day- well it was a tough decision. Lie or let the chips fall where they may. I do get tired of trying to protect people from the truth of certain situations. But in the end its easier for me not to have explain everything "well, she's an Athiest- today- again- no animals were sacrificed!" Don't worry- its a phrase chinamommy uses to describe certain people's actions- she would never let a dog die. She'd call me and have me take it to the vet. Geesh, its my own version of 'The Family Stone" each year!

  4. Woooooooooow, am feeling the sisterly love here, good will and peace to all men.... God made sisters so that we had someone to fight with, that no matter what, they'd keep coming back. Let's face it a friend would be long gone..... Oh, and everyone knows that Christmas isn't about the birth of Christ (cos he was born in the summer). It's all about the presents..and fighting with your sister... ask my daughters. (this is all tongue in cheek - just don't know the right emoticon for that) :) I only see my sister once every three years or so.. then when we do get together, after going through each others wardrobes and swapping stories, we just want to smack each other. God I miss her...

    Your story is funny and it did make me laugh.. Hope your calmer now and have let go of your anger.. you'll need to build your strength up for next years Christmas.... 360 odd days to go...

  5. Oh- you know what relieves the stress from family very nicely? A present from me to me. Done and Done!

  6. I follow no religion. My religion is all mine and I think personal and not transferable. But I go to parties I am invited as a social act with those around me. Happy 2011. Leovi

  7. thanks for stopping by La Dolce Vita, have a beautiful new year!

  8. LMAO Chris I LoVEd this post so much!! I love the way you explained it, you are so funny i felt as if I was really there holding hands with your family in the kitchen....only i knew what was going on down stairs in the bathroom lol.

    Honest to God sometimes im tired of hearing the 100% perfect blogs that are around....You made me feel normal today and i thank you for that! hugs Emxxx

  9. I don't know which is worse-a family member who believes in nothing or a family member who thinks everyone is wrong for not believing like he does. My nephew loves to point out all the reasons he doesn't celebrate our "pagan" holiday. I made a comment to him on Facebook but then just decided to let it go. Its just not worth it.

    Your post was funny.

    I have 2 sister and I know sisterhood isn't always fun.


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