Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Is it Over Yet?

This holiday has been one of the most challenging, funny, infuriating and wonderful holidays on record.

It was challenging in that all, yes all, my guys were sick. Strep throat, flu, and gout all conspired to keep my active family down for the count. I have remained the lone bastion of health in the midst of all the tissues, vicks and antibiotics. It is possible for humans to subsist on jello, milkshakes, ginger ale and juice.

It was funny in the memorable moments. My son, running about like a loon when spying his holiday loot under the tree. My toddler, running around like a loon because, well, it's what he always does. My father and husband looking forward to getting their welding gloves so they can really burn some stuff. My son screeching, pooping and splashing so loudly and broadly at the Children's Museum that we had to leave. Funny in watching my mother in law grow increasingly festive for Margerita Mexican Night.

It was infuriating to navigate the holidays with no budget and little income. We've set aside the comfort of the credit cards and in turn are at the mercies of circumstance. We are on public assistance for health care. Public assistance. Ain't that a kick in the pants? It was infuriating as well to never-get-a-break. Ever. From cranky, incapacitated husbands to cranky demanding children to creating some kind of holiday fun in the midst of it all.

It was wonderful to watch my son's eyes light up with each new treasure found. Wonderful, too, to share the day with my brother via webcam. I watched our video footage and it's classic.

It is wonderful that it is now over. As if I have some promise that tomorrow will be easier. I delude myself into thinking the next week, next weekend, the next moment will bring some kind of breakthrough, some kind of release. Some relief.

It may or may not. The question remains. Is it over yet?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Santa Clause Is Coming To Town Redux

Santa apparently visits my Dad at work. If he needs a body bag, he sees Pappy. Oh, by the way, my dad runs the warehouse and supplies for a large hospital conglomeration.

Pappy and my first born were having this conversation. I silently sat. My dad would glance at me to see if I would do my usual, "Santa isn't real honey. He was real. But now he's dead and mommies and daddies and pappies and nanas work real hard to buy you the Christmas surprises you like so much."

Merry Christmas kid.

I might as well give him a pack of smokes and yell at him for spilling paint in the garage. (Blatant Breakfast Club reference. Sigh, a moment of admiration for John Hughes.)

A friend, my sister/mother/faith/home school goddess, suggested bridging fantasy with reality by having santa work with mommy and daddy. This way we share the credit.

I'm still struggling. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Little Bits

I thought this conversation wasn't supposed to happen until adolescence. However, here are two conversations we have had with our five year old recently.

"Daddy, you don't have to come into the party with me. I don't want you to come in."

So, he spent 2 hours, sacrificing the first quarter of the Stiller game so that our little guy could party Burger King style.

"Mommy, I am closing the door so you can't see my pee pee." 'Nuff said.

My father and husband are addicted to fires. They burn anything and everything not tied down. For a holiday surprise I am looking for 'flame' related gear.

This search took me to an Outdoor Sporting Goods store. At the door is a sign stating that all weapons and bows would have to be discharged prior to entering the store. My question, so it can be loaded and ready in the parking lot? Oy.

Is it wrong to think monkey butt powder is a hilarious purchase from the aforementioned store?

The baby grabs anything within reach. When there is no adult present, he seems to grow 4 inches and grabs things we deemed impossible. His grabbing proficiency is demonstrated with messy and funny proportions.

-grabbbed steak knife off table and ran out of the room giggling as he headed towards the dog
-grabbed a coffee cup and proceeded to shlep out half the contents, was unable to take a nap later
-grabbed spaghetti spoon from the MIDDLE of the dining room table, rubbed it across the carpet, the wall and then waved it to me at the top of the stairs
-grabbed ladle covered and filled with tomato sauce and rubbed in hair and across eyes (getting mad when it began to sting)
-grabbed dog by the neck and lifted him from Pappy's lap

I see him as a menace. My husband sees him as a future offensive lineman for the Steelers.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Santa Clause Is Coming to Town

"Mommy," exasperated five year old huff," EVERYONE believes in Santa Clause but you."

Bah-humbug. No, really, bah-humbug. Okay, I don't want you thinking I'm a Scrooge. Christmas is a time for family, friends, faith and giving. Not getting, gorging and getting some more. I adamantly oppose the blatant commercialism and 'hallmark-edness' of the holiday. I don't just gruff at the selfishness this year as my budget is, well, very budgeted. For years I have fallen into two camps. 1) Charge! Get all you want when you want. or 2) Martha on steroids, make it all homemade and share your feelings. Somewhere in the middle of the two camps has got to be someplace I can light my candle and place my gift.

Yes, my dear agnostic and atheist friends, the holiday isn't really Jesus birthday anyway and the Christmas tree is actually a paganistic symbol of the winter solstice. So, how dare I have any puritanical views on the holiday? If I go the less commercial route then it all has to go! Off with Santa's head.

I once read in a book that if we as parents 'lie' to our children about the tooth fairy, Santa Clause and the Easter bunny then we are affecting their ability for faith. If we have lied about those folks you can't see then how can they believe us about God and Jesus?

However, is it lying to our kids to allow them some fantasy and imagination? Keeping it grounded doesn't mean throwing out the cookies with the milk? Or does it?

In the end, isn't it the powerful and real working of our faith that will make it far more real to my boys than just telling them about it? Isn't the example their father and I set far more influential than a story they believe in for such a short time? And, isn't growing up hard enough without a little dreaminess?

Santa Clause is coming to town. He brings with him a bag full of holiday mothering questions. The answers to which may change as my boys grow. Truth doesn't change. What we do with that truth, how it becomes real in our lives, that changes and grows with us and our understanding.