The first rumblings of Terra not having anywhere to go for Thanksgiving came a few weeks in advance–Scott, of course, was still stationed in Georgia at the time and was just home a few weeks ago, her mom would be spending the holiday with her boyfriend’s family, and her brother’s family didn’t really have any plans due to wanting a low-key holiday. Initially, her brother, Domenic, was going to have her over. And then they got invited over to his in-laws’, who Terra doesn’t get along with. Dom’s mother-in-law sounds like a more extreme version of Paul’s mom, and she and Terra have always clashed, particularly when Terra held the new grandbaby before she did.

I knew bringing her along with us would be a logistical hassle–we’d have to drive from our apartment to her house an hour away to my parents’ house an hour away from that to Paul’s grandparents’ about a half-hour away back to Terra’s an hour away then back home. But I invited her anyway. I mean, it was an inconvenience, nothing more, and it wouldn’t be right to just let her spend Thanksgiving at home alone when there was no real reason we couldn’t take her with us.

But I did start a campaign to skip Paul’s grandparents’. I had a few reasons. For one, it would’ve eliminated a trip. Most of all, though, I know how rude Paul’s family can be. It’s one thing for us to have to deal with that and mentally prepare ourselves, it’s another to take someone else into that situation. So whenever the subject came up, I’d say, “It’s up to you, Paul, but I really don’t think we should go.” The issue then would’ve been dealing with the fallout of not going–it would’ve been a nightmare, probably involving tears from his mother and comments about a ruined Thanksgiving. We couldn’t just say we were spending it with a friend instead because then they’d invite her, and you can’t exactly say, “Yeah, but you’re rude and we don’t want to bring her over.” I figured if we went with the plan to skip it, our best bet was to lie and say we were going to her place and were actually cooking. We did consider actually doing that, but it was quickly scrapped when we realized we didn’t trust the three of us to really pull it off. Although in retrospect, we could’ve. We’re not that inept.

In the end, I dropped the mission when I found out most of Paul’s extended family wasn’t even going. Well, that takes care of that. Fewer people meant a quieter, more normal holiday, so I conceded.

And so we started our Thanksgiving early, making it to my parents’ sometime between 11 and noon. Bless my reasonable parents. After five years of juggling holidays with Paul’s family, they’ve started basically revolving their holiday schedule around us. So we ate there early, hung out for a bit, then braced ourselves for disaster.

And of course, when you talk up how shitty a holiday with certain people is, that’s the one damn year they decide to behave, maybe just because you’re bringing company. I mean, my first few holiday experiences there were fine. It only really started getting sketchy with the year Paul’s grandma went to the hospital and the extended family left me and his siblings alone in a house we couldn’t leave because we couldn’t lock it, where we were trapped until 11 and had to clean up dog piss and feed a dog we realized hadn’t eaten all day. And since then, each Thanksgiving has brought yelling, a turkey that for one reason or another can’t be eaten, and at least one dish a dog jumped up on the table and ate. In fact, I had the genius idea of starting a betting pool for which dog ate which food, and turns out the dogs didn’t get into anything. I think the turkey even turned out okay.

So aside from me getting mad at Paul for getting a little too cozy with Terra, it actually went pretty well.


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