My extended family is converging on Southern California
for my grandfather’s memorial.
Among the ridiculous things I have done to prepare for this onslaught:
1) Situps and pushups every night because my family is a family of skinny asses, except for me and my mom (thanks for the thighs, MOM)
2) Squats in the shower (see above)
3) White strips for my genetically murky teeth (DAD)
4) Frenetic face washing in the hopes that those pores will shrink (MOM!)
5) Spanx dance
6) Trying on every. single. piece. of. clothing. in my closet because showing your collarbones in my family is immodest
7) Realizing that I own ONE boat-neck blouse, and it is probably “informal”, according to the Boyo
8) Panicking about the correct date to get a manicure, since I will be making floral arrangements for the services
9) Putting a tablespoon of coconut oil on my morning toast, because
Someone Said it will make my skin prettier
10) Dropped almost $300 on a haircut and color so at least
my head looks presentable
11) Started counting calories again
13) A lot.
And if all of this sounds like just so much sturm und drang…
You haven’t interacted with my family.
Because what I should be thinking about are the
memories I have of my grandfather.
What I should be thinking about is how much I’m looking forward
to seeing my cousins again.
What I should be thinking about is how to help my grandmother.
I am not.
Because I am not good enough for my parents.
Never have been.
Never will be.
Nor am I good enough for my grandmother.
I was never defended from her acerbic tongue by either of my parents,
not as a child,
certainly not as an adult.
I could show up at the memorial,
dressed to the homeschooled nines
(because we’re not legalists like those Mennonites!)
in an ankle-length jumper,
with my hair hidden under a long-ass wig,
and my family would still find something to criticize.
That’s just what they do.
Thirty years of this,
and I am still voiceless.
So I will do what I have always done:
Wear something reasonable.
Say very little.
Find a corner to hole away into every couple of hours.
I wish my sister was coming.
Update: Sister was able to get a ticket after all!
I am so, so grateful that she will be there.