Oh families. What ripe minefields for hilarious fodder and glorious battles of passive-aggressive behavior. Who else besides your family knows precious little tidbits like the time you chipped your front tooth on the Log Ride or that unfortunate incident when you accidentally destroyed an entire Crate and Barrel window display with a single swipe of your arm? (To wit: I was not the culprit behind either of these incidents, though they are legendary tales among my clan).


The only thing more interesting than growing up in a family of maniacs (and trust me, all families are full of them) is seeing the younger generation be thrust into the very same milestones, hurdles, and outlandish situations we once were. In my family, one of the wee ones remind me of a certain young upstart from the 1980s with a penchant for impassioned expressions of the written variety. I’m talking about me. And my apple-doesn’t-fall-far-from-the-tree, 14-year-old supercousin, Miss Mary Katherine. Mary Katherine, or “MK” to the initiated, is a superbly brilliant, engaging tween who has grown up under the watchful (and often corrupting) eyes of seven – count that seven – older brothers and sisters, as well as quite a few admiring older cousins (myself spearheading this group).


As the youngest child often does, MK basically started speaking like a 40-year-old at age 5. She’d go to the office with my aunt and grandparents and set up shop at one of the family business’ desks and then be too busy for snack time since she was “working.” When she was around 11 years old, she jumped on the phone with me from her South Carolina home and declared “Goldie [her amazing nickname for me], I have just GOT to get out to LA,” with the world-weary tone of a woman three times her age. When I regaled her with a tale of seeing The Jonas Brothers standing on Sunset Boulevard, wearing a strange collection of scarves and vests, MK sighed knowingly and said, “Goldie, when you’re a celebrity you can wear whatever you want and it’s FASHION.” Truer words have never been spoken.


So imagine my guilt-riddled delight at receiving the below email from Mary Katherine, an email she blasted out to two of her siblings, my sister, AND both her parents regarding the family plans for this year’s Christmas. What you need to know at the start: my two cousins, sister and I have booked a glorious, very adult-of-us vacation to Mexico instead of going home for the holidays, which we are all positively delighted about. But do you know who is not as thrilled with our plan to sit on a beach and slurp margaritas on Dec 25? One Miss Mary Katherine. Who brilliantly employed color-coding to get her point across.


But I’ll let her explain it in her own words:


October 21, 2012


Dearest Family,


Let me start off with saying how much I love you and miss you all. I have been fortunate enough to have been able to see you all this year. It has been very hard on us on the east coast living across the country from you and never seeing you. We went from having a full house and being sick of you all to being heartsick from not seeing you.


I understand that you all are going to Mexico for Christmas and you are going to have tons of adventures there. This is the argument you guys have posed (you are red, I am green) “Well why don’t you just come too?” “I can’t leave Mom and Dad.” “They can come too!” “They can’t leave Grammie and Papa. (I don’t want to sound cold but come on! How many more Christmases do they get?)” “They can also come too!” “Really guys? Really?? Now your just trying to defend your argument! (And plus can you IMAGINE how happy it would make them if they could have you all down for just one more Christmas?)” Like seriously? You are leaving me with all the old people! I mean I love them with my whole heart and I would die for them, but I mean come on! They’re BORING!!!!


Here’s another point…. You guys had family Christmases all the way until you left for college and mostly until you left college or later. Here i am and the last Christmas I had with you guys I was still in elementary school. Like literally when I was eight. Not Cool. Remember the Seattle Christmas of ’08? Yeah. THAT is my last memory of a family Christmas. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The Seattle Christmas of ’08 still ranks as the most dysfunctional, confrontation-riddled, stressful holiday clusterf*ck since the Big Christmas Eve Blowup of 1989, which luckily MK wasn’t even alive for. Don’t even get me started about that.]


I understand that you all have to go to Mexico because you already put money down and whatever so I don’t expect you to come this year. But when you are planning your Christmas vacation to wherever next year remember about that little annoying 15 year old kid that is part of your family and is really upset because she’s gonna be in college in two more Christmases. Remember that things are going to change very quickly and you’ll never get those Christmases back. Remember that she would rather have you there than every Apple product ever made. Remember that she misses you and loves you. Just remember.


Love, Mary



Isn’t she a delight? Merry Christmas to all..and to all a good fight!!!!