I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.
We made it through with a minimum of tears–for either me or the kids–and for that I am truly grateful. My Christmas Eve plans ran into a snafu when my destination turned up with another round of the Icky Tummy Bug (“You’re more than welcome to come over, anyway…” “Oh, thanks, but I think I’d rather go stick something sharp in my eye”), so I had a quiet evening at home after church. Christmas morning, I slept late, showered and dressed as slowly as possible, and then kissed and hugged my children upon their return home until they cried, “Can we pleeeeeeeeease go open our presents now??”
The spread here was quite modest, but the kids were pleased and grateful. Perhaps it helped that they’d already hit the motherlode (motherload? jackpot? pinnacle of consumer excess?) over at Daddy’s house. We all know that grandparents are entrusted with a sacred duty to spoil their grandchildren whenever possible. My own parents had presented an embarrassment of riches on their trip last weekend; I accept that this is part of natural order of things and it doesn’t often bother me. However, I am probably more apt to bristle at gifts my ex’s mother feels it necessary to give my children. There are a number of complicated reasons for this, most of which boil down to her not liking me and me thinking she’s more than a little off her rocker. Standard stuff.
Anyway, my MEL (mother-ex-law) is one of those people who will chew your ear for hours on end about how they were so poor when their kids were little, they ate beans from a tin while the children played with twigs and pebbles but everyone was happy because they didn’t know any better, and kids today have too much stuff and too many things that stunt their imagination, blah blah blah, and then she will run out and buy the world’s most godawful expensive and mind-numbing toy for the grandkids because, um, well actually I have no idea why she does that. Perhaps because she’s insane. So it should’ve come as no surprise to me whatsoever that my daughter came home with a brand new Gameboy Advance on Saturday.
Nothing eases the pain of a broken home like a handheld videogame console, you know. It’s in the Bible.
Needless to say, I was not thrilled about this development, but no one felt the need to consult me–only the mother of this child and custodial parent, to boot–so I just smiled and ooohed and aaahed and sent that puppy right back to Daddy’s house when I dropped them off today. Should it find its way back to my house again, I have this funny feeling something untoward may happen to it. You just never know.
Anyway, they opened presents here, and much to my delight, in spite of the shadow cast by the Gameboy, the children truly did seem to get the real meaning of Christmas and feel closer to the Lord and bask in the kinship of family and, oh, just kidding. BUT! In spite of the shadow cast by the Gameboy, it appears that I did manage to come through with the favorite gift for my other child, so that seems only fair, that we each get gloating rights to one child apiece in our fervor to buy their love. Right? Right! Anyway, please be on the lookout for one small Monkeyboy with two very large, green neoprene Hulk hands. Said child is wearing an enormous shit-eating grin while “bashing” all available surfaces and echoing the sound effects of the hands, which creates an interesting echo kind of thing. Every household should enjoy Christmas to a never-ending soundtrack of:
“GGGGrrrrrr! GGGGrrrrrr! ROOOOOOOOOAR! ROOOOOOOOOAR! Hulk angry! Howk angwy!”
Once the carnival of the wrapping paper was complete, it was off to spend the day with friends. We played and we ate and a good time was had by all. Except that during dinner, Monkey spilled his drink. Twice. Whoops. Okay, no biggie. Later it was home and to bed, and I heaved an enormous sigh of relief.
This morning they were up early, spreading their new toys to every corner of the house. I shooed them back upstairs and got them ready for church, then settled them at the table with breakfast. Wherepon Monkey promptly spilled his milk. And I may or may not have accused him of having a drinking problem. So it was back upstairs for a dry outfit, and the drying of tears, and eventually we made it to church. But! Hey! It’s the day after Christmas, and hardly anyone was there! So, no Junior Church, which meant my children had to be entrusted to behave themselves while I sang with the choir, until I could come down and sit with them.
Lest you think I’m gonna be all doom and gloom and grumpiness here, let’s just head this off with a positive comment. Hang on. I’m thinking. Oh! I know! Hey, isn’t it nice that everyone in the church knows me and my kids? It is! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when I’m not writhing in embarrassment!
Not that it was at all embarrassing to get them situated and by the end of the first hymn, watching as Monkey started screaming at his sister, “YOU MESSED UP MY PAPER, NOW I NEED A NEW ONE!!” while clubbing her over the head with a handful of crayons. No, that was delightful. And what with all the delicious food I had yesterday, I’m thinking that my little sprint down the aisle, mid-run scoop of the hollering boy, tuck of said flailing boy under my arm and jog down the stairs to the nursery and then run back upstairs to sing was probably a bit of exercise I really needed.
Hey, does this hysterical kid make my butt look big?
Oddly enough, as I’ve seen on the few other occasions when Monkey is the Naughty One, Chickadee rose to the task of being the Good Child and she and I snuggled together and sang and had a very lovely time of it for the rest of the service. And Monkey got to watch a video downstairs and was So Very Sorry Mama I’ll Be Good Now afterwards.
Given the overstimulating nature of the weekend as a whole, I’m going to call it a success. We sang and joked and laughed our way on the drive back down to Daddy’s, and all in all, I’m pleased. I’d be more pleased if they were still here at home with me, but I did manage to steal enough hugs and kisses to keep me warm for the new few days. I’m getting better at enjoying our time together, more, and finding ways to keep myself occupied when we’re apart.
And really, my relief at having made it through another Christmas should carry me through most of the week.