New Year's Resolutions: My Family's Story of Torture
In two days on Christmas 2012 I'll be at my moms house. Me and my family will do the customary exchange of gifts, eat a fabulous dinner and finish with dessert: left over cookies and cakes served the night before at my cousins house. Everyone is relaxed. The stress of shopping, wrapping, hiding presents is over. After two days of celebrating Christmas Eve and Day, we're all kind of talked out. I have the kind of family that can endure silence. Small talk. We watch the kids play with there presents which tire us out. Round two of eating commences. Leftovers are served and more coffee is poured. This time also signals the end of relaxation. New Year's resolutions must be made. Not silently to ourselves. No, proclamations must be made by all around the table. Thank God for the coffee because this is where the fun starts.
My mom started this tradition years ago. She offered to have Christmas at her house every year. She and my dad cooked and cleaned up the aftermath so my mother was damned sure the New Year's resolution game will be played. Every year the family hopes she would forget; liquor her up or ask her to break out her accordion. This was to no avail. My mom can remember her first steps as a ten month old baby. Short of a lobotomy she would remember this.
We are ordered to remain seated at the dinner table and the kids at the kiddie table. Mind you, any child who can speak in full sentences is required to resolute. When they do, it gives us a little reprieve and a chuckle. Typically the kids will vow to beat up their siblings, avoid broccoli or quit school. My mom enjoys this too. Giggling over what her grand kids have to say. Usually this is the period when someone tries to use the bathroom or get a breath of fresh air. These are exercises in futility. The bathroom door is locked and my mom will guard the front door like a linebacker from the NY Giants. Yes, clever readers, there is a back door and subsequently a plan of attack. She slips a grandchild a few bucks and makes him hang out at the back escape route. Should a guest make a break for it, the lucky kid gets to scream at the top of his lungs "GRANDMA, GRANDMA, UNCLE TODD IS TRYING TO GET AWAY!!!"
We sit pouting, waiting to be called upon. I must mention that new guests and non-family members are subjected to the Resolution Interrogation. You can bet money that some unsuspecting phone caller, say Aunt Joan from Florida will promptly be put on speaker phone to fess up; they usually do it quickly because the longer they take the higher the phone bill. Mom will then pounce and pick a newbie. Our family gets a major kick from the look on his face. We're a shady bunch; we tell no one about moms plan.
So the newcomers say the old standard, "I want to lose weight." Not so fast new fish. That one is twelve thousand years old has the originality of a cracker. You can hear us chuckle. We can almost see the cogs moving in his brain as he searches for plan B. He says "I want to spend more time with my family." Mom accepts this response as dull as it is. Now mind you, no one else is allowed to repeat resolute. Auntie Debbie's response of "I want to be with my family more" is deemed unacceptable, null and void. "Oh Christ" she blurts out. "I will get promoted to Head Nurse!"
Mother is pleased. She will not be next mind you. She gets the last word/resolution and it's usually a doozy. Anyway, I've noted some of the New Year resolutions from the archives of family Christmas holidays. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that me and my family are under no circumstances to give the same resolution twice. I volunteered and created a family user friendly database of responses. Each person can go online and access their past answers.
- I'm going to be a Notary Public
- I will switch to the Republican party.
- I will use my slow cooker to prepare every meal. Even Filet Mignon.
- I am going to switch from oil heat to natural gas.
- I'm going to be a gestational carrier!
- I'm going to buy the new Fiat death trap.
- I will never buy anything made in China again!
- I am going to live a month in the Alaskan bush.
- I vow to listen only to Country music.
- I am going to skip Christmas Day at your house and subject myself to water boarding!
Then we wait anticipating Mother Superiors approval. She doesn't need a database. Her mind is wired to embed every resolution ever uttered. After years of exposure to this nonsense, we are on pins and needles waiting to be admonished for only a few seconds. We breath a collective sigh, fill up our glasses with wine and kick back. Mission accomplished. We all met the requirement for originality and thoughtfulness.
Mom starts to clean up as the party is ending and says not one word about her resolution. You see, we fear my mother's wrath. We don't want to each have to say a prayer or anything going forward so we eat some more until she's ready. Honestly we're all buzzed and tired. We want to go home. But, my mom is a wonderful loving person. I love her so much it hurts. We watch her scurrying around tidying up, we help her. She's tired too and wants us all to get the heck out of her house. She times it perfectly. Before the menfolk catch up on football on ESPN she makes her announcement. My mother has the soul of my grandma. She gathers us around her. She kisses her grandchildren and the tears flow. Every single year we wait for her New Year's resolution. Every dang year we are once again disappointed when she opens her mouth. You see my mom is a shifty character. My mother, my angel is twisted.
"I treasure each and everyone of you" she tells us. "I am grateful to God that he's granted us all good health, me too. I wish each of you the Healthiest, Happiest and Blessed New Year! I love you! Ready, set go! "This year I want to lose weight!" Good night everybody!!!!"
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