Playing Pretend

I think I am invisible to my mother. I don’t exist.

First she invited me to Thanksgiving at her friend’s house. Then she uninvited me because I am a pain in the ass and no one wants to eat with me. It’s not like I was going to go anyway. She could have kept that to herself.

Today, she decided to invite herself to my place for Thanksgiving. You can’t really tell mom “no”, right? So I said I’d cook something. At least this way, I have some control over what I eat while being forced to observe a holiday I’d prefer to pretend doesn’t exist.

But, it gets better!

Not only is my mother coming for Thanksgiving, she is also bringing turkey, cream cheese dip, chili, and egg kugel to cook “all together, like a family” in MY vegan kitchen.

She’s also planning to watch movies, play games, and go shopping together. It’s brilliant really, especially given that I haven’t owned a TV in about 10 years, and don’t think people should shop on Thanksgiving.

Do I not exist in this scenario? I’m just a character in some dumb movie that she has to make up, because her real children don’t fit the bill.

I get it. Dad died, our family fell apart, and she wants some kind of nice holiday memory. Except, real life isn’t corny TV movies. Her children are neither happy, or perfect. But we’re both people, that she created, who would also like to have some kind of charming reply when folks ask “any big plans for thanksgiving?”

She could realize that her son is supremely depressed, and desperately wants to know about the dad he hardly knew. She could acknowledge that her daughter has an eating disorder, which makes holidays terrifying. She could remember that even when my dad was here, we didn’t do the stupid picture perfect pig out thing. We went to Disney, so dad could eat one of those giant turkey legs from the kiosk in Tomorrow Land, and I could get through an entire day without screaming, or throwing things during meal time, because we had special Disney/birthday rules for eating.

She could find a way to make the holiday special and enjoyable for the family she really has, instead of forcing some facade, that’s guaranteed to blow up.

I wish I had a real family, that I really mattered to. I wish I could be good enough, just the way I am.


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