This Christmas, I sent my parents a gift box of nuts and a fruitcake. This isn’t because I’m making fun of dysfunction or mental health. It’s because I’ve gotten my dad a fruitcake every year for as long as I can remember.
“A fruitcake for the fruitcake,” my mother has always said whether my dad is in the room or not. Actually, no matter who was in the room, she’s said this even as he pulled out his buck knife and cut away the plastic and ribbon to his fruitcake. Even as he sliced a piece for himself and offered to share the rest all around.
You see, we’re not just being irreverent or politically incorrect when we can be secretive. It’s all out there like laundry waving in the breeze on a clothesline. This family laundry is more like underwear and we may have forgotten to wash it. No, more like the washing machine is broken because true story…it is broken. And somebody had to reach in there and swish the underwear around with his hands and then squeeze out the excess water, and then, pin it on the clothesline, each pair of fruit-of-the-looms heavy and hanging low, low enough for the dogs to jump up and grab ’em and drag ’em around the yard, giving them a good shake with his head, tossing them in the air with glee. This is not just a blog about family dysfunction, mental illness, dirty laundry, a broken washing machine, or even Christmas presents.
This metaphor is my family in a nutshell. The fruitcake, the dogs, the mud, the swish. All of it.
But I digress. The fruitcake is legitimately explained. Why the box of mixed nuts?
Well, obviously, my mother is diabetic and I can’t just send them a tin of cookies and a box of candy like most families do at Christmas. I was trying to watch out for her sugar levels so I sent protein and healthy fats.
We’ll get into the story about healthy and non-healthy fats later because this blogger is among other things, a flawed fitness enthusiast always looking for the way to better health. For now, it’s important my reader know I had not spoken to my parents since September, and when Christmas rolled around I wanted to offer a way in to forgiveness, an olive branch so to speak. What better way to do that than food? And the Christmas spirit?
Did I get a response? Did anybody call and say, “thanks?” Did I expect anything in return? The answer to all of these questions is: no.
That doesn’t mean that we’re not speaking now, currently, in January 2018. We are. Were there apologies all around? Nope. Was there any resolution to the fight from September? Nope. Did we mention the fight in September? Nope.
Do I have hope for my family’s well being and mental health?
Here’s the thing. I always have hope.
Christmas 2017 is so last year. But the fact is and will always be we’re a family of mixed nuts and a fruitcake.