Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Back Home

Why is being around family, esp at the holidays, so stressful? Is it the family aspect - the fact that you are thrown in close proximity to people who you no longer share every moment of your lives with, and yet, at the same time, share your whole lives with? Is it the bubbling up of a year's worth of pettiness and resentment in one concentrated two-day period? Or is it simply sheer numbers -- too many people in too small a space that struggles to find room for them?

Our family has grown in the last few years, with new nieces and nephews in addition to the sisters-in-law. We no longer fit easily into the old rooms - someone has to bring an air mattress, another has to sleep on the couch, a snoring father has to share a room with his sleep-deprived wife and kids. In the old house, mice and squirrels hold nightly Olympics in the walls, ceilings, and chimneys, and those of us deaf to city sirens and neighboring footsteps lie awake, clutching a flashlight and a struggling-to-escape cat.

Travel, too, is stressful. Babies' naptimes are turned upside down and if they cry and scream in a closed car, we all become tired and testy, and joke about the naps we wish we could take. Catching a train becomes paramount, esp when a two hour car ride comes before it, so a sudden urgency in getting slow-moving siblings packed and loaded comes across as an eagerness to leave.

And it is an eagerness to get home - where I can wash dishes and the sink won't be filled with more dirty ones in the time it takes to play a game of hide-n-seek with a nephew. Where I can sleep without a niece (who begs for a "slumber party") kicking me periously close to the edge of the mattress. Where the shower is always free, without the difficulty of trying to grab the lone shower and finally giving up and staying slightly ripe for one more day. Where there are no long train rides, sitting across the aisle from a woman with a disturbing snore and next to a man who plays "beep-beep-beep" games on his cell phone. Where I can call my mother and actually have time for a decent conversation in a way impossible in the chaos of being in the same house with so many other people.

And, then, home, it's always a little bit of sadness, because when I wake up too horribly early and can't sleep, there's nobody downstairs sitting in the kitchen, ready to commiserate about how tired we are.


Post a Comment

<< Home

ring logo
Writing Desk Webring

Join | List | Random
Previous | Next
Powered by RingSurf
Locations of visitors to this page