In approximately 48 hours, I will be boarding a plane headed to the Deep Red, where I will spend a week with the family--all of the family, including divorced parents, sister, brother-in-law, and their children.
On the one hand, I am excited. I only see my family twice a year. I have warm, fuzzy Christmas feelings. As I do every year, I optimistically anticipate a warm, fuzzy visit.
On the other hand, I am panicked. I know my family. We are a moody bunch. There will be drama. By day three, I fear I will be hypervenilating through much of the day and will be slugging wine (as my mother and sister will be) by 4:55. I will become Medusa the Mediator. Sis will be bitching to me about Mom. Mom will be bitching to me about Sis and Bro-in-law. Bro-in-law will seek me out to bitch about Mom, who will have been tipsy at dinner and will have found the perfect stinger to direct at Bro-in-law--in front of the children. Dad will take me on daily guilt trips involving my inconceivably stubborn reluctance to live in the Deep Red, but most of the time he will stay out of the way--making trips to the grocery store, washing dishes, and mopping floors. I will listen to all, but disappear frequently to hang out with the nieces and nephews (until I hear: Where is Medusa? Why does she keep disappearing? Is this her water glass? Is this her wine glass? Is she smoking again? Medusa!!!!).
Maybe none of this will happen and maybe I am being self-fulfilling prophet/Scrooge. I hope so. If it does happen, I have several coping strategies: 1. "Fogging": a technique prescribed by ex-shrink, by which one listens to complaints but remains disengaged (mentally and psychologically) and only offers stock sympathy answers such as "I am so sorry you are feeling so angry" or "Yes, I know that is hurtful." My family is likely to catch on to this pretty quickly, but I will try it; 2. Retreat: I have a hotel room this year. Do not know how I am going to explain retreat to room, but it worked when I was a teenager; 3. Important-work-to-do excuse: I have tried this before, but I am going to try to institute new have-to-work-on-upcoming-article-for-two-hours-per-day policy; 4. Walking: The kids and dogs love to go for walks. If I can get past Dad (who has strange notions about fresh air being somehow dangerous--which goes a long way in explaining my frequent feelings of suffocation and subsequent hypervenilation), this might work.
Now that I have explained my crazy family dynamic and my own craziness, I am feeling a bit guilty. Unsure whether or not to post this. I hope I do not come off as a nasty, ungrateful twit. I love my family. I do. I want to spend time with them. My biggest fear is that I will not be able to return to my work when I return home. I am feeling so excited about it right now. I am finding CFPs, writing abstracts, starting research on the article and the conference paper. I want to do the research and the writing and to post about writing/research. (I don't think I will have access to the blog while in the Deep Red.) According to ex-shrink, spending time with my family often puts me (for weeks after) in a "whirlwind"--a manic pattern of insecurity and guilt which makes it difficult for me to work and which I usually deal with by going out every night, drinking heavily, dallying with my boys, etc. Must remember this and must try to avoid this. If this happens, must remind myself how happy I was thinking about and doing my work.
OK. I feel better now that I have blogged this out of my system. Sorry, though, for the dark holiday fare.
Time to TCB. Final grades are done (YAY!) and ready to be submitted. Will do last-minute (read: all of my) Christmas shopping and laundry for trip today. Will do packing tomorrow. Should I go to favorite WPAS's show tonight? Hmmm. . . will consider.
Will miss blogworld. Happy holidays to all.