As I just told my Dad, I'm not heading to Florida for any of the upcoming holidays or his birthday. Then again, it's not like he's even thought about coming to DC for Thanksgiving or my birthday.
Secretly, I kind of like being on my own for the holidays since my mom died. There's no disruption to my life. I can do what I want, with whom I want -- and if that involves sitting in bed eating pie, so be it. I am beholden to no one. Plus, there's no sense of urgently trying -- and horribly failing -- to recreate the family feeling that died along with her.
Even if we tried, it would be impossible to recreate my mother's version of the holidays. She loved any holiday that involved her getting to have her entire family around her. She would get super busy with the planning and the cooking -- and, as a result, was more than occasionally crazy -- but she loved it. All of it. I have video evidence to prove it.
She also got super weird around the holidays. One year, shortly after they moved into the current house, I was visiting over Thanksgiving and wanted to go out for breakfast. She agreed, and said that we might go with some of her new neighbors. I got up that morning, and as is my custom, threw my hair in a ponytail and put on a ratty old t-shirt and jeans combo. She saw me and said, "You're going out LIKE THAT?!?", with an incredulity that belied the fact that she had seen me go out LIKE THAT almost every day of my life that did not involve (1) office work or (2) a formal occasion.
I chalked it up to the fact that she either really wanted to impress these new neighbors or was clearly losing her marbles, and promised her that I would at least brush my teeth before we left. (Basic hygeine FTW!) My dad was laughing in the background. I interpreted that as a sign that either he thought I was funny or that he knew that asking me to dress up for breakfast was as ridiculous as asking him if he wanted to go to the mall.
We got to the restaurant, and the neighbors were there -- with their age-appropriate Jewish-y son, who, "coincidentally" also attended one of my alma maters and lived in the metro-DC area. It was a surprise set-up -- FOR BOTH OF US. And, as luck would have it, we were both hungry, tired, and completely disinterested -- and, as a result, spent the entire breakfast focusing almost exclusively on our eggs and bagels while our parents gossiped about the goings-on at the clubhouse and the homeowners' association.
I miss my mom, even if she was insane.