Was it a successful Christmas at Casa Mir? I think it was. No one threw up, no bones were broken, there were no car accidents or kitchen fires or other disasters.
I mean, sure, I discovered mid-afternoon that somehow my father has never seen A Christmas Story, but that was easily remedied. Even as Chickadee loudly and frequently proclaimed that this was “the dumbest movie ever,” I noticed that didn’t stop her from watching it with us. Because really, no matter how you think you feel about it, once you happen upon this movie on the television on Christmas day, you are legally obligated to complete the viewing. And even if you think you hate it, you will still laugh in all of the appropriate places. (“… only I didn’t say ‘fudge.’”)
So all in all: A lovely day. There were some highs and lows, of course.
Chickadee did her holiday shopping while up at her dad’s, but like any savvy child o’ mine, she did it online. That meant that a number of items were shipped here to the house, and I was helping to coordinate by receiving the appropriate packages and wrapping them.
Now. In the countdown to Christmas, my bedroom closet becomes Storage Central. I squirrel stuff away in there in various nooks and crannies, and in addition to the items Chickadee had me receive, I had all of the kids’ presents and various stocking stuffers and such tucked away on the shelves and the floor in various boxes and bags. I can’t remember when I wrapped her presents for her stepdad and brother, but at some point when Otto wasn’t around I dug those items out and took care of it and put them under the tree.
So, Christmas comes, and we’re passing out gifts, and Otto starts unwrapping his gift from Chickadee, and he says, “It’s a… watch?”
“It’s an F-Stop Watch!” she told him, so pleased with herself that she couldn’t wait for him to finish unboxing it.
“It… is?” he said, still freeing the watch in question from its wrapping, but clearly perplexed. Meanwhile, we’re all sitting around watching him, and suddenly the happy record of holiday tunes in my head screeched to an unceremonious halt.
I stood up and grabbed his present away, which was no mean feat, because have you ever opened up a fancy watch, before? The box has a sleeve, then it has a lid, then inside the watch is on an arm that comes out of the BOTTOM of the box, and… the point it, he wasn’t even done taking it out, and I had to somehow insert my body between him and Monkey and grab about seventeen pieces of STUFF to accomplish this revocation. “Hold, please!” I said, grabbing up pieces of the unboxing. “There’s been some user error, here. That’s not yours.”
Then I ran back to my Closet O’ Stuff and dug out the actual F-Stop watch which Chickie had thoughtfully purchased for her stepfather. Because the watch he’d just opened up was actually for Monkey’s birthday. Whoops!
That could’ve been a real catastrophe, I suppose, but Monkey wasn’t paying much attention. Mostly because he was having the Best! Christmas! EVER!
It was a Very Minecraft Christmas, y’all. VERRRRRRRY Minecraft. And he was endlessly delighted with everything. But—oddly enough—the two items that absolutely made his day had nothing to do with Minecraft.
First: I think I somehow forgot to mention this, but lately Monkey has been punctuating EVERYTHING with a deep, somber declaration of, “I’m Batman!” He has never seen any of the Batman movies. He has no real affinity for Batman of which we are aware. I don’t know how or why it started, I only know that approximately a dozen times a day I hear, “I’m Batman!” followed by a brief pause, and then peals of laughter. HE’S HILARIOUS, you see. I don’t know why this has become the funniest thing in the world, but it has. Sure, every now and then either Otto or I try to say, “I’m Batman!” to turn the tables, but this is never met with laughter, only a slightly derisive, “No you’re not. I’M Batman.”
Santa apparently shares Monkey’s odd sense of humor, because topping Monkey’s stocking this year was a Dark Knight mask, and if you have never enjoyed an idyllic Christmas morning with your nearly-teen running around in fuzzy snowman pajamas and a Batman mask, well, I am sorry for you. I think everyone should have a masked crusader on hand for Christmas, as it does add that certain something to the festivities.
Second: As much as Monkey loves Minecraft, Dungeons & Dragons is gaining traction in his life as another passion. I don’t know if you know this, but those D&D books are both plentiful and terribly expensive, so after the first few purchases of player’s guides and monster manuals and such, I found myself looking for some guidance on the “right” stuff to buy, as I’d hate to waste money on the “wrong” items. Recently I stopped just nodding and “mmmmhmmm”ing to Monkey’s endless chatter and discovered that the main author of all of these incomprehensible manuals that Monkey has come to adore is… someone I went to high school with back in the Dark Ages. (This guy, in case you’re wondering.)
Monkey has been positively bowled over by the fact that HIS BORING MOM knows someone SO VERY COOL. And while James and I were already Facebook friends when this realization came to light, I admit it gave us a lot more to talk about when I could point out that I had, in fact, grown up to somehow give birth to his biggest fan. (I may not have mentioned to Monkey that James and I were once in a production of Godspell together, and James was—who else?—Jesus Christ. I figure there’s already a near-pathological level of worship going on here.)
It stood to reason that as Christmas drew near, I would think to myself, “Self, I bet James could give me a recommendation on what most-essential D&D thing my obsessed child needs next.” And because James is every bit the superstar my son believes him to be, he didn’t just make a recommendation, he sent us a personally dedicated and autographed… something. I don’t even know what it is. A campaign, I think? (Life lesson: gratitude doesn’t equal knowledge.) Anyway, I thanked James profusely and told him he was going to absolutely make Monkey’s Christmas, but even I was not prepared for how it went down.
We saved it for last, and Monkey was positively shocked that there was yet ANOTHER gift for him. He ripped open the paper and tilted the box this way and that and exclaimed, “Ooooooh” and “Cool!” and was generally thrilled. However, in the dancing around and such, he’d removed his glasses, so I had to gently prod him to look and see that there was an inscription. He squinted and read it out loud, all but the signature. “I can’t read the signature,” he said. “Who wrote this?”
“James Wyatt,” I said.
“WHAAAAAAAAT??” Monkey’s jaw unhinged and dangled just above his chest. He looked at me, looked at Otto, looked back down at the box, looked up at me again, squeaked, “REALLY????” then hugged the box to his chest and refused to move for quite a while. I think I heard him muttering “myyyyyy preshuuuuussssss” in there, too.
I think it’s safe to say that my old friend absolutely made the kid’s Christmas.
So all of that happened, and then some other things, and we had a big brunch and the children played nicely together and then we packed up Monkey and sent him off with his dad. The rest of us continued eating (God, the eating; I don’t think we’ve stopped once this week) and watched A Christmas Story. This morning we all got up at o’dark thirty and my dad and stepmom set off for home, and now we’re back to Not Christmas and a quiet house. Chickadee has a few more days before she goes back to her dad’s, but because I am the Meanest Mother Ever, I am making her do homework and clean her closet. Poor kid didn’t even get a signed piece of geekaphernalia to carry her through the drudgery. Hopefully she’ll forgive me someday.
All is calm, all is bright, etc. But you know what? I’m pretty sure Monkey left his mask here. Later today, I just may be Batman.