Frozen on the train tracks 

My partner’s family is coming to visit tomorrow. I have been silently dreading this all week.

Dreading it because…

  1. There’s a lot of drama between her parents.
  2. We’ve got a ‘don’t ask – don’t tell’ thing going on as far as the whole gay thing. I’ve managed to keep my foot out of my mouth for 18 years, but I am about as clumsy with my mouth as I am with my feet, so the potential is always there.
  3. Her 90+ year old father is very fragile, walks with canes, and we have stairs.
  4. This is the first time we’ve really had any visitors in the house.
  5. It mushroomed from being just the parents and her sister to also her nephew and his family as well, invited by her sister without consulting us. It’s not that I would have said no, but I didn’t have time to prepare myself mentally for the extra people and small children.
  6. See #5. In general, small children cause me stress. They produce shrill noises, messes, and are complete wildcards as far as respecting boundaries. They make eye contact, and get inside personal space. Our pets are not used to them, so they will all have to be locked up. Also back to #3 – stairs.
  7. There’s no set time limit, no way to gracefully escape when I get overwhelmed.
  8. It will probably take an entire day of my two days off work, and I’ll probably spend the other one recovering.

I haven’t mentioned any of this to my partner. She has every right to have her family come visit, and I know this is a “me” problem. I inadvertently hurt her feelings pretty bad a few months back after a particularly awkward family visit; I remarked that it was awful and it was probably the last time I was going back there, and I made her cry. 

It was awful, but I shouldn’t have said that. I was oblivious to how insensitive that sounded, and I felt horrible afterwards. So even though this visit has been causing me a shit-ton of anxiety, I have been keeping it locked down. I’m sure she is perfectly aware that’s what I am doing, and is wisely letting it be the elephant in the room that no one brings up.

If it was my own family coming, I’d be just as freaked. Worse, actually: some day I probably need to write about the time my sister called from Canada to say that she was coming down with my mother and four year old niece (I haven’t seen my family in over a decade, and I’ve never met any of my nieces and nephews) to come stay with us for two weeks, and I spazzed so bad that she’s never really spoken to me since. 

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