I am old enough that I no longer feel the need to do everything that everyone else wants me to do. In fact, I will no longer do everything that everyone else wants me to do. I figure that at 47, with the way I have lived, my life is more than half over. I am just being realistic here. I have lived far too long driven by guilt. I am letting some of that shit go now. I can no longer be responsible for everybody’s feelings 100% of the time. Y’all are gonna have to take some responsibility for your own shit. It’s not all my fault. I realized not too long ago, that I am one of the only people that I know who never put her foot down when she had kids–over the holidays! Most of my friends started having babies and told their families that they were no longer going anywhere–their family could come to them. Not me. No ma’am. I was never allowed to do that. God forbid! I have never been in charge of my own holidays! I have always done what everyone else wanted me to and expected me to. My divorced parents quadrupled my family and expected me to make myself available for everybody-on Christmas Day. It has never been a question of me not wanting to see any of them, so please don’t misunderstand me. I love my family—every single last crazy-ass one of them/us. In the beginning, when I was 25 and a newlywed, we made the rounds-no sweat. When I was 27 and Mini Me was a baby, it was a little more of a challenge. All of the grandparents wanted to see him-and rightly so! I understood! He was a sight to behold! I never even considered telling any of the grandparents that they must come to us. When The Middle Child was born, as much of a task as it was to pack all of us up, I was so proud of my family, I wanted to show us off–so I happily packed 50 bags of shit. By the time The Baby was born, I was 37. The newness of showing these masterpieces off was waning and I longed for a Christmas at home-with no traveling. I was exhausted. The birth of this latest masterpiece had nearly left me for dead. I had been somewhat psychotic for 6-8 months. The last thing I wanted to do was pack our asses up and travel over two fucking states for Christmas. Damn Christmas. Seriously. Who needed it? I was done. I could have been perfectly happy at my rental house on Harbour Oaks Lane, cooking a turkey in a bag (my specialty), for my family of five, and not given anyone else a second thought. Except I couldn’t. Because that’s not my M.O. It wouldn’t have mattered if The Baby had been a week old. I would have packed our asses up and taken us wherever we needed to go. I would have bitched about it behind the scenes-like I do-because that’s who I am-and it would have been perfect. It’s always perfect. It doesn’t matter how we do it anymore. Traditions have changed since I was a child. I didn’t think I would survive those changes, but lo and behold, I did ! Christmas and Life are always there. They may be a little different, but they are always there. All we have to do is show up.