Every year, my father really hopes I come to SC for Christmas. Every year, I really feel like I let him down. I've said my reasons before--logistics, time, distance, and taking care of pets. The last one is probably the one that is the hardest for me. Call me weird, but I really do have a hard time leaving them during holidays. I guess it is the whole notion that yes, they are like my "children." This is kind of ironic since for years I took care of many other people's pets during the holidays. Originally, I did think our boarding facility would be open, but it will not be for awhile. I checked out other boarding places awhile back but wasn't very thrilled with them and don't know enough people around here to take care of my animals. Yes, I am choosy and particular when it comes to this.
The last time I went to my father's house, my late Baxter and his Coonhound did not get along despite already knowing each other previously. (my step-brother originally adopted the Coonhound from a friend of mine here) I think that kind of scarred the whole holiday experience for me, even though I know all of our dogs are sociable. Then, there is also Clover to think about which adds a notch to pet sitting, especially after I learned my parents fed her dog kibble for a week while I was gone!
Anyway, for several years we (my dad, his wife, his dogs; my mom and her husband) had talked about meeting somewhere halfway. I thought maybe this would be the year. My logic was, if we wanted, we could all bring our pets--but if one did not get along, they could easily stay in their motor home. I had it all planned out, and it seemed like a win-win for everyone. But then, my father was worried about the weather.
We talked about other suggestions, and again my father just kept reverting to the idea that I should come there, demanding me to find someone to take care of my animals, that he would fly me to there. I was really uncomfortable with this idea on such short notice, so his wife jumped at the suggestion to have them all come here. She really liked this idea, because then, she could spend the time with her son and his girlfriend without any worry of conflict or argument between my father and her son. My father has what I call the "testosterone" complex. I love him dearly but for whatever reason, he does not get along well with other males in the household, despite growing up with 3 brothers.
I was a bit hesitant on this as it would make my mom and her husband drive here (they would be driving anyway) and my dad to have to get a flight. But at the same time, the last time my parents were here back in late October, I saw them very minimally. In some ways, this was good then.
However, there is a feeling of stress. It's not like I have not spent time with all of them in one place--it's been awhile, but rather not in my own home. It feels strange. There is a subconscious expectation to be merry, to have decorations up (no, I normally don't put much up at all if anything), to make sure the holiday dinner turns out right, to make sure all my appliances are working (recently, I was out of power for 3 days due to my main electrical breaker going out. This required a complete new fuse box), to make sure I don't make dumb turns in direction (I do this more often than I care to admit), to make sure my appearance is okay (it is inevitable someone will not remark about my face, body, etc.), and to make sure everyone has a good time. I realize this last one should not be on me, but as a "host" of sorts, there is that feeling of obligation and entertaining.
So to assuage my fears that this will not be a complete disaster, I've been trying to think of things to do while they are here. So far, I've come up with going to the International grocery store, a local aquarium, or the Zoo Festival of Lights. This does not feel like enough, however, so for the next few weeks, I will likely be racking my brains of other options just so I have plenty to choose from even if this may only be for 4 days.
I'll keep everyone posted on how the first Christmas in my own home goes. (I realize there was last Christmas but I mourning then over the loss of Baxter, so that wasn't really a holiday at all)