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 witch....no, 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.