It is my worst nightmare, that I marry into a family where the wrapping of the Holiday Gifts is a Big Deal. You know, the type of family where the women all shop Michael’s Craft Stores in July looking for satin ribbon sales. That way come December 25th, they have these super-dee-luxe packages wrapped all perfect and purty in shiny red and gold and silver paper with perfectly crafted handmade satin and clothe bows all in an elaborate and matching manner lined up under the tree.
All of this effort mainly put forth, of course, for some sort of unspoken Wrapping Competition to feel superior as they play a little game Christmas morn’ called “Spot the Inept-In-Laws” where my tired little Charlie-Brown-of-a-Christmas-Tree-wrapped presents stick out like a sore thumb.
To spot an ann-frank gift, one only has to look for the abundance of tape and the standard shiny store bought stick-on bow on any package with a freakishly unnatural bubbly-bulge protruding out the side.
I swear to god, if it is not square or rectangular or have perfect edges I am not buying it next year!
Oh look everyone. It’s another ann-frank wrapping paper rant!
Don’t mind me, ‘tis another Holiday Freak-out courtesy of my place of employment’s Super Busy Time of the Year, which means 12 hour days and not so much time to be jolly.
But, hey, know what? Soon, I will be jolly. I will be spending Christmas Eve and morn’ at my brother’s which means lots of fun time in the watching the nephew get buried in paper and bows and silly toys that make little ones squeak with joy. That is the best.
On the other hand, not so much fun, is calling my brother tonight to find out what the Holiday Deal is. That is, when I should show up, what I should bring etc. etc. And so, before I can ask, the brother tells me, hang on! The nephew has a question to ask you!
So of course I am all excited thinking he will be all “aunt ann-frank! Aunt ann-frank! When will you be coming to see me!” or “aunt ann-frank! Anunt ann-frank what lovely gifts will you bring me?!”
Instead, I hear his lovely little voice on the phone say, “hi aunt ann-frank!”
Then I can hear my lovely and retarded brother whispering, “go ahead –ask her.”
Pause. Whisper from my brother, “go ahead, ask her!”
Nephew says, “aunt ann-frank! How come you aren’t married? How come you are not married?”
And I say, “because, little man – my therapist* says I am probably a little bit borderline, and a wee bit histrionic but I most certainly have solid commitment issues plus a neurosis the size of Mount Rushmore.”
But, you know, kid’s not even five yet and I knew he might have a hard time translating all those subtleties to my brother, so instead I say, “tell your dad to mind his own business.”
Which he did.
Which really, is the most effective comeback because nothing is more fun than hearing an almost 5-year-old yelling in his deafening squeal across a room full of relatives, “Dad! Dad! Mind your own business! Mind. Your. Own. Business!”
The laughter. It was deafening.
My brother. Not my nephew.
My life among The Marrieds. I tell you.
Merry, merry, y’all.
* sadly, I don’t really have a therapist. I know, I know. I am sure if there were therapy gift certificates to be given away, my family would never have a problem shopping for me again.