My grandpa got re-married to a woman in 2010 after my grandma died in 2008, and since then, our family holiday get-togethers have nearly doubled in size and have gotten awkward.
Don't get me wrong, her family is very nice and they have accepted my mom, dad, brother and I, but since my grandpa got remarried, my aunt hardly talks to them, and I don't see my cousins that often.
When I do see them, I only talk to the two that I grew up close with, and one of them gives me dirty looks.
What used to be shrieks of laughter and playtime turned into dull conversations and fake promises to see each other again.
Pretty recently, our family get-togethers have been split into two holidays. One just me, my mom, dad and brother where we make our own thanksgiving dinner, and the newest tradition with my grandpa, step grandma, cousins and aunt.
I dread going to this one because my aunt is not as stuck up and resentful about it as she used to be, but because it feels like I'm walking on eggshells with every word I say. I don't talk about school or anything going on in my personal life because I feel like I'm bragging, and I can't talk about much else because my grandpa lectures me about how I spend my money - which, it's my money, why should he care how I spend it?
My step-grandmas side of the family isn't exactly perfect, either. We get left out of events and dinners that they host because we're not technically blood related. We usually find out about these through Facebook or my grandpa.
The holidays are supposed to be a time where you get together with your family and extended family who you probably haven't seen in awhile, eat some good food and catch up. It's not supposed to feel like a ticking time bomb, it's not supposed to lag on and make you think twice about what you're going to say or what your next move is going to be.
For those of you that have family get-togethers during the holidays that aren't awkward like mine are: please be thankful for them. I know that they can be pretty annoying having to tell 20-30 people the same story about your college life, friends and anything else under the sun, but please know that you have family who cares about you and wants to be involved in your life.
Even though I was only 12 in 2008 when my grandma died, I missed how we celebrated the holidays by eating at the kids table and drinking white sparkling grape juice. I miss not wanting to leave her house and say goodbye to my cousins, even though I knew I'd see them next weekend.
I miss how fun our get-togethers used to be. Now when Thanksgiving and Christmas come up, I dread seeing my step-family, and that's not how it should be.