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Because I spend so much time under them!

The Griffith Girls, 1984

The Christmas photo we took for mom and dad in 1984. Missie is in red (pregnant with her third), Fawn is in blue, Spring is in lavendar, Taffy is in purple, I'm in dark green... yes, we are in matching skirts.

On Saturday I got a call from my sister Fawn telling me that I might be getting a call from mom because of something my sister Spring has done to hurt her (mom’s) feelings. Stay with me here…

Spring and her husband are coming home (to Georgia) from St. Louis for Christmas. But instead of staying in mom’s house they’ve rented a cabin down the road to spare my parents the stresses of a packed house and to give their boys (two teens) some room to make noise and wreak havoc away from my mother’s spotless museum of porcelain dolls and antique furniture. Now keep in mind, Fawn and Taffy are planning for their families to stay with mom and dad so the house is already slated for 10 extra people…but this has no bearing on what’s going on.

Well it just so happens, waaay back in November, Spring told me she was planning to rent a cabin while home for Christmas. And because I thought her decision made perfect sense it never occurred to me to try to discourage the rental nor did it occur to me to warn mom that her daughter, the one I’ve always accused as being mom’s favorite, was planning to travel 800 miles to spend Christmas “away from home in a cabin”.

What I did do (in casual conversation on crafting day) was share the news with Fawn and we agreed that it was a good idea for Spring and her boys to have the rental because it will help keep the holidays…let’s see, how to stay neutral should mom or Spring be reading this? I should definitely avoid suggestions of “stress free”, “more peaceful” or “more enjoyable” when describing the absence of a family member…I’ll just say that reducing the number of bodies in the house by 4 will make the Holidays “fine” for everyone.  But, and I should have known better, by sharing this news with another I made myself the firsthand source of information, meaning I was the one holding the power to protect or, as in this case, permit a mortal blow to mom’s Holiday Spirit. Oh don’t worry, it gets better…

So Saturday morning while eh-sipping my coffee (a little Spanglish to help set the mood), and enjoying an AMAZING December day in Atlanta, I got a call from Fawn explaining that she just got off the phone with mom who was just talking to Spring about the cabin, and she (mom) is very upset and can’t figure out what she’s done to hurt Spring’s feelings. Now I’m willing to bet money that Spring told mom how excited she and the guys are about their trip to Atlanta and how she’s lucked out and found a cabin close to the house that will enable everyone to be together without being on top of each other 24/7, but of course mom heard “We’ve decided to come visit even though you don’t want us there.” This is how the Griffith women work.

Before I continue, let me share a little history:

Every year since I graduated High School, the months of January through October have been spent swearing “next Christmas is going to be different!”. The plan was always to stop the chaos, stop the travel and stop ALL the cooking and cleaning that comes with such an “overblown” holiday. “Next year we’re eating out and someone else can do the dishes!” is the promise my father has made every January 2nd since 1989. But as you might expect, November rolls around and the Christmas dialogue starts to soften. A casual family dinner is put on the schedule and promises of no gift giving are replaced with “just a small little something”. By December 12th the entire family is swept away by Holiday Spirit and (much to my delight) Christmas turns into a three day extravaganza of gifts, family performances and food consumption that doesn’t stop until all cans of tri-colored popcorn are depleted and the smallest child throws up the entire contents of his stocking onto mom’s designer tree skirt.

A little more history:

Since the first grandchild was born my mother has, at one time or another, confided in each of us that her feelings wouldn’t be hurt if someone else would like to host the holidays one year. Occasionally she’s agreed that having everyone in the house is a lot of work, and once, maybe twice (perhaps because one sister criticized another sister’s parenting) she’s flat out sworn that she will never put all of us under the same roof again. So even though the holidays have a special way of erasing memories I’m pretty sure my mother has romanced the idea of a quiet Christmas morning where she and dad get the entire house and all its holiday goodness completely to themselves more then once. But come to find out, granting her secret wish is the worst thing Spring could have done.

Back to the story:

I have to admit that under any other circumstances I would secretly delight in the fact that mom’s favorite has fallen out of favor. Mom’s anger never lasts more then a week so watching another sister squirm under the weight of parental disappointment is harmless fun that all 5 of us have enjoyed throughout our lives. But what Fawn was saying during our call was not that Spring had caused mom to be upset but that she (Fawn) told mom everything Spring had told me about why she (Spring) was choosing to rent a cabin, and now mom was really upset and might be calling me…

The rest of the conversation:

Spice – “Wait… what???? I didn’t book the cabin, why is she calling me?”

Fawn – “Well… to make mom feel better I shared what you told me about Spring’s reasons for renting the cabin”.

Spice – “UH?”

Fawn – “Back on crafting day when you told me about Spring’s cabin.”

Spice – “What did you tell her I said?”

Fawn – “How hard it can be staying at the house when everyone is there. And how stressful it can be to make sure everyone is having a good time and how the husbands can sometimes get uncomfortable with all the sisters and kids together in one place…”

As she continued I realized not one word of it sounded familiar. “Wait… Spring never told me that. Is this what you told mom I told you?”.

Fawn – “She was so upset and I didn’t know what to do so I told her some other possibilities.”

Spice – “WHAT? But what happens when she confronts Spring and Spring hears that I’ve said all this stuff?”

Fawn – “Don’t worry, she promised she wouldn’t say anything to Spring. It’s all good….I doubt she’ll call.”

Chris – AAAH-HAHAHAHAHA (wheezing for breath) HAHAHAHAHAHA!! Oh my ribs, my ribs… a Griffith keeping a secret??? HYSTERICAL!!! HAHAHAHAHA!”

Fawn: “Hey, I’m on the train and going into a tunnel so I have to…… ”

Skip ahead three days:

So here I sit, under the bus, waiting for Fawn to call back, or an upset call from mom or maybe even a call from Spring swearing to never talk to me again.  If there were a harmless way to kill Fawn I would but in all honesty she was trying to make mom feel better and throwing me under the bus was simply a side effect of the solution she came up with…who hasn’t thrown a sister under the bus for the sake of their mother? And I have to admit, mom has a gift for making us say strange things about each other. Secretly I love the fact that my family will never change. I love that we accidentally spill secrets, and let surprises slip and that we confide in each other with promises of sealed lips knowing good and well the information “might” leak if someone else’s feelings are at stake. In all fairness, if any one of us took everything to the grave we’ve promised to take, there’d be no room in the casket for our bodies!

If it’s my turn to sit on the hot seat for the sake of mom’s emotional health then I’ll take this one for the team…until she confronts Spring and then who knows how this will play out. No doubt someday soon (probably next week) Fawn will be under mom’s bus I’ll get to do my best (read enjoy) to make mom feel better!

I’ll post an update as soon as I get the call!

Spice

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