As the youngest of four, I’m used to watching my siblings begin new chapters in their lives way before me. I’m younger than my oldest sister by almost ten years so it was obvious she would be a college graduate before I even had my first boyfriend. What I wasn’t at all prepared for is that hell that is being the only single sibling during the holidays.
“I’m getting everyone one personal gift and one couple gift. Natalie, I have no idea what to do for you.” My mom told me this three separate times in the two weeks leading up to Christmas; twice she made it a point to say it in front of other people. Every time she would go shopping, she would make it a point to let me know that she has “struck out” finding a gift for me, but that she found the perfect gift for my brother’s wife’s grandma! Or that she bought her only grandchild her 14th present.
I have a fantastic relationship with my brother and sisters. I wouldn’t change it for the world. But now that they each have/are starting families of their own, I have to fight their significant others to spend time with them, or else I just end up as a third, fifth, or seventh wheel.
“Wanna catch a movie?” “Sure, my fiancé has been dying to see that!”
“I have a Chipotle BOGO and no one to really share it with (PGP), wanna meet after work?”
“Yeah! Let me call my wife!”
Christmas is no different. What started out as everyone planning to meet together on Christmas Day after spending the morning with their own families began to turn into something much more insufferable.
My family has always gone together to Christmas Eve mass at the same time in the same place for the entirety of our lives. It’s tradition. Well, things changed this year. My grandma, unfortunately, came down with a sinus infection leaving Christmas Eve church up in the air for her, but she was set on Christmas Day mass. Guess which boyfriend-less sibling had to sit out Christmas Eve mass to “make sure the (my parents’) house isn’t robbed” and wake up at the ass-crack of dawn to pick Grandma up? Ya girl of course. (I love my grandma and would do anything for her, but the hangover I had Sunday morning was enough to make me want to curl up under the pew with a bottle of Pedialyte and ibuprofen).
Once we arrived back at my parents, I immediately spiked a cup of eggnog and sat down to watch A Christmas Story to kill time before tip off of the Cavs/Warriors game. “Natalie, don’t even think you’re not helping set the food out before the rest of the family gets here! Oh, and the toilets need cleaning.” My mom thinks she still needs to impress her own children with a clean house despite the fact that we all lived there for 18+ years.
I finished everything on her checklist right as the sibs arrived. It was only 12:30. Time for some whiskey.
From being the designated photographer when every family had their own damn photo shoot throughout the house (Fireplace? Check. Christmas tree? Check. Front porch? Check.) to ensuring my niece doesn’t topple down the stairs because everyone thought it was a brilliant idea to allow three dogs of various sizes in the house, I was ready to rip my hair out. I needed a stronger drink, preferably in IV-form.
Throughout the day, I had Bud Light, Yuengling, Baileys, Jack Daniels, and some homemade Apple Pie drink my sister’s fiancé made that was strong enough to put my dad to sleep. But do you know what was worse than having to take a family picture and not make it to my spot in time before the timer, thus being excluded from my mom’s Facebook post? Worse than the fact that it was nearly impossible finding a place to sit down to eat dinner? Worse than my dad and great uncle asking if I was actually a lesbian who’s afraid to come out? I was sober as a judge. As if the universe didn’t think I suffered enough, the big Man upstairs thought there was no need for the alcohol to take effect in my system this day.
Happy birthday, Jesus. Maybe next year I’ll have someone to bring home to the family. Better yet, just please let me get drunk. .
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