Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Angst

At one point in time, many many years ago, my husband's grandfather was Russian Orthodox. (My husband likes to tell people that his grandfather's people come from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. (This is because my husband loves vampire stories.) Although, this may be true, his grandfather's last name was actually Ukranian, not Romanian, and it started with a W and had lots of consonants and only one vowel.) After he had anglicized his last name (so now we have a really boring name that is very easy to spell, and the only thing is shares with the previous name, is that it also starts with a W) and married Husband's grandmother, he continued to go to the Orthodox church sometimes, but, the rest of Husband's father's family went to the Roman Catholic Church. And, when the man died, he was buried in an Orthodox ceremony, and some of my husband's father's family returned to the Orthodox church, like my husband's uncle and cousins. But, not my husband's father. So, my husband's immediate family is Roman Catholic, but much of his extended family is Orthodox.

And the reason I bring this up is, IT WOULD MAKE MY LIFE SO MUCH EASIER IF MY IN-LAWS WERE ORTHODOX instead of Roman Catholic. Sure, they would have objected to my husband marrying a protestant, just as they did anyway. But, we wouldn't have this angst every year about where to spend holidays. Because, evidently, Orthodox Easter and Orthodox Christmas are not on the same day that western Christians celebrate them. (For example, this year, Orthodox Easter is April 23, and Christmas was on January 7.) Now, perhaps it is selfish of me to wish that my in-laws remained firmly entrenched in an ancient Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian one, but, REALLY. It would make my life so much easier. (And because I am obviously self-absorbed, this is the only thing that matters to me!)

Imagine not having to fight with one's husband about whose family to spend the holiday with. Imagine the ability to take advantage of after-Christmas sales to buy gifts for one entire half of the family!!

I bring this up because my husband and I had a rare fight last week. And it was a fight about where to spend Easter. And I am not going to say that anybody "won", because in truth, nobody wins when you fight about holidays, because everybody just ends up feeling guilty.

We spent Good Friday and Saturday with my in-laws in Detroit. And we spent Easter with my mom and step-dad and all my siblings. And we didn't even see my dad and step-mom. I will admit that it was nice to go to Easter service at my own church (Husband and I are Episcopalian, which is kind of a long story, which can be summed up with a pity t-shirt saying which says, "As Long As Catholics Marry Protestants, There Will Always Be Episcopalians). It was nice to spend an actual holiday with my mom, who gets the short end of the stick at Christmas and Thanksgiving, and has started celebrating those holidays on the Friday after Thanksgiving and on December 26. But, I know my mother-in-law was sad. And I know my husband felt guilty about it. So, I, in turn, feel bad that my husband feels bad. It's a vicious circle. That all could have been avoided if my late grandfather-in-law (may his kind soul rest in peace) had insisted on taking his family to the Orthodox church.

I hope everyone had a joyful and peaceful holiday, or, that they will have one next Sunday, if they follow the Orthodox calendar. :-)



Blogger Christina said...

LM - this is funny, we're reading each other's blogs at the same time. :-) Anyway... I think that "orthodox" idea sounds great! In fact, my dad & step mom almost always schedule their holiday celebration a day (or a week) after the real holiday so my siblings can do the holiday with their in-laws - and he calls it the "Greek Orthodox" holiday, as a joke. (my dad's atheist). I live on the opposite coast from my dad and my in-laws, so we have it simpler - my mom is the only local family we have to deal with.

Monday, April 17, 2006 1:19:00 PM  
Anonymous michele said...

We "solved" this problem by having an every other year situation. Although, really, only Christmas seems to be an issue - all the other holidays are done by ourselves. But every other year we do Christmas with my parents, and then the other - other year (you know what I mean) are with my in-laws. Of course, we have to travel 350 miles to get to the in-laws, so that also helps keeping the every other tradition up. Besides - I do everything I possibly can do to keep both sides OUT of the same room.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 5:53:00 PM  
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Sunday, April 23, 2006 4:35:00 AM  

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