On my way to work this morning, I was listening to a comedian on the radio. He said, “I was having dinner with my wife and kid. My two-year-old daughter had food all over her face and she’s laughing – we were having lamb shanks – she was waving a bone in the air. And she says, ‘I am happy.’ It made me realize: me too. I am happy. But you never think to broadcast that. Everyone is more comfortable saying, ‘I had the worst day, listen to what happened to me,’ but no one will just come out and say that they’re happy. I think I’ll pick a guy on the street today and walk up to him and say, ‘I am happy,’ and then he can go tell all his friends, ‘I met a special man today.’”
Well, call me special, but I am happy. Oh you know, I go through the same struggles that all couples do, such as:
RB: “I really want to buy a gun.”
Me: “How about you play more golf, and rent a gun when you feel like going to the firing range.”
RB: “Alright, let’s say I wanted to take up skiing and get really good at the sport. You wouldn’t have a problem if I wanted to buy skis, would you?”
Me: “We don’t have anywhere to put skis; I would tell you to rent skis, too.”
RB: “You think I’m a lunatic, don’t you.”
Me: “Maybe? Look, golf clubs are just as lethal as guns. Why don’t we get a stuffed fake body and let you practice beating it to death in the living room.”
The point is, we bicker about the usual stuff that people in relationships argue about, like weaponry. But I’m happy.
Last night when we were settling down into bed, Red Beard with a plate of lemon meringue pie and me with a glass of wine (yes – I cheated. I had a random two glasses of wine with my dinner, which was cooked in a white wine sauce. I suck at staying on the wagon.) Anyway. So we’re lying in bed with pie and booze – I mean really, who wouldn’t be happy bedding down with pie and booze – and Red Beard says, “We need to figure out what we’re going to do about the holidays.”
This came as sort of a pleasant surprise to me. Yes, we do live together, but we’re not engaged or married. So I didn’t think our status as technically single meant figuring anything out about holidays aside from when we would each be coming and going from our respective families’ gatherings.
I told him, “Well, I know you would probably like to spend Christmas with your family. My parents are having a big blow-out party on December 30th, so we could party with them, which means you’d get to see them between Christmas and New Year’s. Then we get to come back down here for our own New Year’s plans. Since your parents live nearby, I can pop in at anytime around the holidays for a visit and then we get to see each other’s families.” Problem solved, I thought.
Red Beard said, “I was thinking that we could drive up to your parents’ house after work on the Friday night before Christmas and get there late at night, maybe 11. We’d hang out there Saturday. Then we’ll come to my parents’ house for Christmas Eve and Christmas. That way we’re back down here so we can get to work the day after Christmas. The party sounds fine, but I really want us to see each other’s families closer to the actual holiday.”
I felt conflicted and thrilled all at once. On the one hand, I’ve never spent a Christmas away from my family. I’ve never been in a relationship serious enough to consider spending a holiday with someone else’s family, mostly I feel like, because I’ve never been engaged. I thought that’s when that problem cropped up, and not before then. Besides, I love Christmas with my family. They love Christmas with me. And they will most likely feel slighted if I leave them on Christmas Eve and spend the holiday with my boyfriend’s family instead.
On the other hand, I felt a twinge in my loins. This man was asking me to spend Christmas with his family. How incredibly flattering. And we do live together. What are the rules in that case? Are we as good as married? Would it be strange to split and say, “See ya!” as the holidays approach? I think the answer to that is a, “Kind of, yes, maybe?” Because I would really like to spend the actual day of Christmas, at least in part, with Red Beard. Worst case, the imperative is that we go to sleep in the same bed together Christmas night.
Families, shmamlies. I don’t feel like he should want to see my family, which he has pointed out, is made up of a bunch of lunatics. Short-statured, weird, lunatics – myself included. Even though he claims to enjoy spending time with this bunch of weirdos, I understand, however, that given the choice, he would prefer to spend Christmas with his own family. Maybe that has to do with the fact that his family is local and mine is a haul and it would be worlds more convenient to spend Christmas with his family.
I don’t know. All I know is that I want to spend Christmas with Red Beard. That might mean following his plan. But more likely, it will mean that I spend Christmas morning with my family, and I drive back down Christmas afternoon to his parents’ house. As I said, I’m conflicted.
I don’t know what the right thing is to do. I don’t want to flounder around in front of him with this debate, because the last thing I want to do is hurt Red Beard's feelings. At the same time, I obviously need to get this worked out smoothly and quickly.
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