Now before I move on I want to make sure anyone reading this knows Im not a racist nor judgemental person. Of course I get all codgery sometimes and rant and rave but there is no one I hate just because _____. Trust me, I hate everyone with equality.
But my father, he is very very racist and judgemental. So Thanksgiving and X-mas 2005 was bad enough. My sister had married a black man. My oldest sister. C Ill call her. The one who had married, had two kids and gotten divorced because her husband realized he was gay. (For the record I knew he was gay when I was 12, so I was always mystified as to how she didnt know) So my sister, who already had earned herself a few hate points that year for remarrying (which is stressful enough for someone as intense as my father) but she married..... she married.... SOMEONE NOT WHITE.
Dear God In Heaven
So I barely make it through Thanksgiving and X-mas of 2005, even though I was suddenly not getting the glares and the expectations of ruining the holidays right off, they still... really thought I would somehow manage to outshine the fact that there was a non-white person in the house.
Then last year, even though my father is extremely racist, my mother is extremely christian and does not pass judgement (on anyone but me) she invited my old bro-in-law and his 'friend' to X-mas dinner. M Ill call him. M was always a great guy. He always knew what to buy the kids, he always brought my mother and father lavish gifts and was always always very kind and gentle to us all. He was still GAY. He wasnt just GAY but he was bringing what my father knew to be a GAY friend to X-mas dinner. So even though I lack judgement over the situation, I still silently giggled to myself, in a more then slightly evil villianous type way. tee heeeeee, I wont be ruining X-mas this year either!!! Thanks be to the gods.
So I went and enjoyed yet another X-mas that I didnt ruin. I didnt even get the looks this time. There was NO way in hell I could ruin Xmas with my sisters non-white new husband, and her now gay ex-husband + his 'friend' in the house. Even my 5 days in jail just before X-mas wasnt brought up. No one even bothered to shun me. Not once. Life was sweet. I had a record now, 2 years of not ruining the big 'family' holidays.
*sidenote* Remember I said my dad was italian. Well two things you dont do to italians. 1) Make them uncomfortable in their own homes and 2) Do anything to make a 'family' meal uncomfortable, shady or have anyone questionable at the table.
God was I set or what?
So Im talkin to my niece a couple of weeks ago. Ash, little Ash. The sweet sweet innocent one. She is 23? 24? now. Daughter of Alice Ill call her. Alice, she was the ONE. The good child, the one who never ever fucked up as a kid. Did the band thing, moved out early, NEVER came back home... oh she was the dessert of daughters. (well she did have Ash when she was 15) (which by the way wasnt even in the least as bad as me having my son at 15) I dont know but she breaks this out on me as if she was talking about an errant neighbor or a Jerry Springer episode.
Ash: Hey! Guess what???
Ash: Get this, my mom... my mom is dating a new guy.
Joy: Maybe she will let this one stay a while.
Ash: She says hes really really hot.
Joy: Means nothing unless he is also blind, deaf and mute. (ash knows I have issues with her mother)
Ash: Well thats not the bad part. (now Im fading out as I always do when someone trys to drag out a surprise, Im paying more attention to the crunching noises of eating and the sound I can hear when I swallow the Kool-Aid she gave me)
Joy: mmm hmm
Ash: He is mexican
Ash: He is hispanic.
Joy: Does Pawpaw know? (i call him that now since im used to like 25 years of grandkids)
Ash: Nah not yet
Now Im almost choking on kool-aid. I dont know what to do, its fuckin March and Im thinking OMFG, X-mas will have to be canceled this year. Maybe something tragic will happen. Maybe Ill lose a leg or something on the 23rd and it will just have to be canceled this year. Okay, calm down, calm down, maybe there is a chance.
Joy: So, uhh, I mean does he ... erm... look spanish? What, whats his name? Tell me its Brian or something. (dear god let his name be Brian Johnson or Dave Brown. Even I cant revel in this X-mas not being ruined by me. I think my Dad will actually explode this year, I cant bear to watch it. I mean, if he is racist and doesnt like gays, being mexican is the equivalent of being someone who picks their teeth at the table. Being spanish is like, the guy who chews with his mouth open. Jesus H. Christ its just not acceptable. Suddenly being black or gay or even black AND gay is soo sooooo sweet)
Ash: You're gonna love this
Joy: Oh god, I bet I wont.
Ash: Yeah, isnt it great. Pawpaw is going to shit himself.
Joy: No, pawpaw is going to finally wig out and kill us all.
I looked at her and seen the mirth in her eyes and was floored. Had she no clue?? Speaking of shit, I swear, Ive seen my father slap a strangers kid out of his chair at a dinner table for chewing with their mouth open (You do NOT do unacceptable shit at an Italians dinner table) but if we invited a bum to X-mas who immediately climbed onto the dinner table and SHAT directly on the X-mas Ham, it wouldnt have been as bad as this) As a matter of fact its like I can almost hear my dad at the last couple X-mas's thinking to himself. 'Well, there is a black man in my house.. at MY TABLE, and a gay man and his gay lover... but ... okay well I guess I can cope with this, I love my daughters... but whew.. jesus, I guess at least none of them have brought home a mexican.'
And suddenly Im so curious and scared at once. Im guessing this might be what it felt like the first time I got on a rollar coaster. And Im elated. Suddenly, out of nowhere, and 33 years in, I am THE BEST DAUGHTER EVER. Dont mistake this, I am a brave and straight up girl. But if I was dating a mexican guy, I MIGHT just wait until my dad was incapaciated (god forbid) in some kind of way before I told him.
I can hear the convo now, driving down the road, probably glaring at me cuz hes taking me to do a drug test for the courts.
Dad: I heard you were dating a mexican.
Joy: What??? Me??? No way, thats crazy where did you hear such insanity???
Dad: Your mother said you told her you were dating a mexican and his name was Jorge Rodriquez.
At that point Im 100% sure Id tuck myself into a ball, open the car door, roll out, wish for the best and hope I didnt break my legs so I could jump up and run away once I came to a rolling, bouncing, bone crunching stop, all the while thinking...OMG my mother must be PISSED at me for something. So now Im really worked up and I look at Ash and I toss in my one last hope.
Joy: So, does ..uhh.. Daddy know his name yet?
Ash: No, you know how my mom is, shes just gonna end up showing up at X-mas dinner with him.
Joy: I have to go now.
Immediately I pick up her kids and kiss them and put them down a little faster.. a LOT faster then normal. I want to get home, I want to find cover, maybe a bomb shelter before X-mas because Im sure something is going to explode this year BIG TIME.
So Im driving home, nearly hyperventilating, and Im picturing a new X-mas. M and his lover passing around the nicest matching X-mas gifts. C and her non-white husband, my father probably staring lovingly at them both. And Alice, with Julio, maybe a couple of those lil mexican candles burning on my fathers sacred X-mas dinner table, and me sitting next to my mother. Looking like an angel suddenly, full wing span and halo on perfectly. Then I had a thought, I know what I can do. Ohhhh, I got it. I SO GOT IT.
This year, for the first time ever in my life, I am going to say grace. I will bless the food. Never has this been done and I bet even my mother who cant walk anymore will help my father in making an effort to lift me upon their shoulders and carry me around the table, singing some new song made up about the Best Daughter ever. It is over. Another chapter in my life. A chapter that began 33 years ago where the new screaming redheaded baby started ruining X-mas with her antics and sacrilege at the dinner table. And here, 33 years later the chapter ends. Never did I once even consider this a possibility, never did I comprehend this could happen. I FUCKING WIN. I WIN the best daugther contest. I win LIFE.