The Child God Gave You

The offspring (can you call your adopted children, offspring?) were trying to look busier than their siblings, so I wouldn’t hand them a task.   I was distracted by the unanswerable questions that 16 year-old girls ask. If I answered straight up, they’d see my responsibility to minister to those I’m in relationship with. I get enough of that from Jesus, as it is.

Then, somebody did something awesome.

I’d like to give credit, but time passed.  I wouldn’t be able to remember 15 years of pop music if I made brain space for things like who did this one thing. The fact is, whoever did, whatever it was, is lost in the mists of time, but it stopped me in my tracks.

“It all boils down to loving the child God gave you.”

About 10 years ago, Robyn, told me to, “Enjoy your kids.”

I ignored her, because I was more concerned with fitting them into my idea of “what life should look like”, than who they were designed to be.

Today. I can’t not enjoy them.

My vision for homeschooling?  I had to let that go.

We’re dreadfully undisciplined. We don’t invite our germaphobe friends here. It’s like the zoo. I don’t give them all organic foods. We fight. They talk back. They have bad habits that need to be broken; they call them sociological imperatives. Their table manners and their conversation make me want to lay down in a darkened room and remain until God takes me home.

But.

Maybe we’re making up for lost time.

Maybe we did the rebellion thing when they were acting like mental patients as 10, 11, and 12 year-olds. One shares, as part of her Christian testimony, that her behavior toward me was deliberately destructive before she believed.

Maybe I’m an utter failure.

A long time ago, I told a counselor about my relationship with my dad, “He loves me, but he’s like that Eagles’ song, ‘Desperado’.  He just doesn’t always express himself.”

He looked at me for a long second and said, “You are telling me about your relationship with the picture in your head of who your dad is.”  He was saying, you have to deal with the dad God gave you.

I have to deal with the kids God gave me.

There was a moment last year that put every thought I had under the microscope:  :

“Why am I wasting time on this?”

“Is this important enough to dedicate the energy to?”

“I am holding on too tight.”

“It’s okay for her to pout, as long as she does the task.”

“Is that the worst thing that can happen?”

Those thoughts drove to the heart of living for my mental picture of the perfect child, the incredible mother, the ideal public image.

Of course, I’m back to majoring on the minors– Who didn’t put the freaking toilet paper on the holder?  Whose cups are all these in the living room?  Why can’t we follow the towel guidelines?

Back to saddling up and riding behinds.

Back to deciding if it’s a cross to bear or a broom to ride.

Enjoying them when they need their butts kicked.  It’s a complex art.

Someone has to do it.

Loving the kids God gave me.

Making up for lost time.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They Weren’t Hypocrites When They Got Here

A common objection to the Gospel of Christ is:

CHURCH IS FULL OF HYPOCRITES.

I wish there were another word, because this one makes me thing of Cockroaches.  Don’t ask me why. It has since I was little.

I digress.

Cockroaches.  I mean, hypocrites.

Yes, the church is full of them.  Because, as with every place you go, your business there is not necessarily about your “business”.  Meaning, say, you are a hiker.  And your dry cleaner is a hiker. When you go into the dry cleaners, he knows you’re there to pick up your pants.  You do business for years without ever finding out that you have the interest in common.  Unless you see him on the trail. Because you aren’t there to discuss your hobbies, you are there to do business.

When you are in church, you are there to worship, God, fellowship with others, be equipped to live out your faith.

Not air your dirty laundry.

We are ordinary human beings, no more able to attain to our ideals, than to leap off the roof and fly.

When someone objects to consorting with people who are not living what they believe, they are rejecting the man in the mirror.

Who does Jesus love more?  The guy who never makes a mistake?  Or the guy who can own his @#$%?  The sinner?  Or the guy who thinks he isn’t one?

The Bible is conclusive.  Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  He died for our sins.  Not our excuses, not our rationalizations,or good reasons.  My children will put me in an early grave telling me the ‘good reasons’ they don’t need to do what I say, the way I say to freaking do it. How God must feel when we do the same to Him?

The church is called the Body of Christ.  The body, at least where I live, is sick.  It’s members are plagued.  Living lives of pain and degradation, while showing up every Sunday and making fashionable, interesting, competitive, Christian chatter.

We’re shaving, showing up, and shmiling.  Sitting the pew.  Dying on the inside.

I’m an oddball.  My business is usually out there.  I’m constitutionally unable to act fine when I’m crumbling. Dealing with stuff head on.    People don’t like that.

2013 sucked. I found out about a lot of hurting people.

A.  Lot.

Not just the messy public ones.

Lots of men.  Who are supposed to be initiators, protectors, leaders.

Lots of kids.  Who we’re supposed to be loving and teaching the way to go.

We didn’t start out as hypocrites, but somewhere along the line, we forgot Jesus, like Billy Joel, preferred the sinners for dinner companions.*

That the prodigal’s dad was waiting for him to come home.  To party.

That the prodigal guy was sick of his sin.  A real hypocrite isn’t.

At our house, we don’t act like it didn’t happen.  If I yelled at Mickey, I yelled.  If I threw a book, I threw it.  If they told me they hated me, I said, “I know, but we’re talking about chores, right now.”

I get the impression that isn’t what’s going on around the community.

Kids are feeling like it’s burdensome and uncool to do what Jesus did.  Act out of love for the Father and others.  All the time.

Hypocrite?  That’s God’s call.

Sinner.  Yeah.*

The fault line is under pressure.  The tremors are coming.

We are about to get shook.

Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing Up

Growing up is when you stop expecting people to already know what you are thinking.

Growing up is when you realize the laundry not being done is as much your problem as anyone else’s in the house.

Growing up is when you can admit you don’t know something.

Growing up is when you ask someone who knows better than you do.

Growing up is when you can trust their answer and use it.

Growing up is when you know what you like and don’t let your friends talk you into something else.

Whether that’s fashion or boys or food or colleges.

Growing up is when you can clean up another person’s vomit without having a holiday named in your honor.  Some people do this.  Some never ever do.

Growing up is when you take personal responsibility for turning off lights and water and closing doors and putting the leftovers away before they become a biohazard.

Growing up is when you realize that if you shouldn’t complain about a mess you aren’t willing to clean up.

Growing up is when you realize that if you aren’t willing to clean it up, you don’t really care.  You are a bitchy slob.

Growing up is when you realize that life isn’t a contest to see who can do the least.

Growing up is when you stop needing your mom to nag you to feel like you have permission to do the tasks that belong to you.

Growing up is when you keep loving someone who doesn’t love you back.

Just because God gave them to you.

Growing up is when you know that love doesn’t mean hanging out.

Growing up is when you have been lied to and lied about and you don’t demand apologies.

Growing up is when you are willing to wait to let the truth come out.  The easy way or the hard way.  The other person gets to choose.

Growing up is when you live with the hurt and pray for the other person to heal and have the best life God can make for them.  Without you.

And you let God be God while the pain sizzles, knowing He wastes nothing.  He’s growing something beautiful in you.

Growing up is when you get that Christmas isn’t presents and love isn’t kisses.

Growing up is when you learn to wait your turn.

Because it’s coming.

 

 

 

 

With Miles to Go Before I….Sleep

While we waited at the light just before the post office, a ’78 Z-28 turned left in front of us and cruised up Washington Pike.  I startled, then sighed, “Mike drove one of those…”

“Mike, who?”

Another sigh.

“I can’t tell you.”

“Then why’d you bring it up? You can’t just do that.”

“Surely, I’ve told you about Mike.”

In the small hours this morning, I remembered Mike, again.

It was Valentine’s Day, but for my friend and I, just Wednesday.  We were taking a walk.  We paid no attention to the Z-28.  We couldn’t drive and the car didn’t belong to anyone we knew in the neighborhood.

The he must have been lost, because he passed us four times, before he stopped.

“Do you know where Joy Miller lives?”  We gave him directions and he took off.

Then he came back.  He hadn’t needed directions.

We managed not to faint as he introduced himself and asked for my number.  He was a junior and I was still in junior high, a freshman.

Valentine's Day 1982

Valentine’s Day 1982

He called a couple of days later.

We talked on the phone.  He made me laugh.  Somehow, I made him laugh, too.

“NO, you can’t date, you’re too young,” and it was true. I’d barely had my 15th birthday.

I had to tell him I couldn’t go anywhere with him.

Several calls and several nights later, after the house was quiet, the tap on my bedroom window was not a surprise.

I climbed on a chair, and opened the high window and there he stood.  Looking up.  Tennis shorts. Expensive haircut. Halston 1-12 thickened the warmth that radiated up to me.  Glad for the window, he’d never know I was trembling so I could barely stand.

We talked for a long time.  As I watched him walk back up the driveway, a strange feeling passed over me I’d never felt before.

Several nights later, we’d agreed again on the same signal.  This time, he was more persuasive or I was bolder, but I wasn’t trembling when I slid open the door, went to the gate, and let myself out.  Or him in.  Who really cares?

We talked for just a minute.  He stepped closer.  He had not come there to chat.  We could do that on the phone.

He took my face in his hands.

And he kissed me.

For an hour.

When my knees went weak, he put his arms around me.

And he kissed me.

I forgot I didn’t know how.

His hands never traveled.

Not so it’d matter.

For another hour.

“Go back in the house and go to bed,” he whispered.

And he kissed me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever You Are

Dear Birth Mother,

I hope this finds you well.  The weather here is fine.

It’s a beautiful, awful day.

I am thinking of you and the selfless life-changing decision you made.  Of your stated reasons.  And the ones you will never tell.

And what I know is true about us moms.

You are thinking of us today.  Of the promise you trusted in, that someone would love your child with their unique needs.

No matter how fantastic the celebration, you’ll wonder what’s up with us.  I’m getting the recognition for how these guys turned out.

Well.  I need to let you know.

Most days, I am pretty sure that anything good in them is all you.

They are amazing.

They stop people in their tracks.

They move in incredible natural gifts.

They make the issues unavoidable.

Your decision changed your life forever, but if I may say.  It keeps on changing lives. More than I can count. Every day.

Wherever you are, I honor you.

With love.  Fearless.  Like yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Mind If I Pass?

The girls are in a production about the Civil Rights Movement.  I learned what ‘passing’ was.  It’s when a light-skinned African-American person used ‘white-only’ facilities.  Quietly, respectfully.  Not drawing attention.  Hoping just to sit on a train, for example, if they could.

Oh.

Like me?

I heard my mother and grandmother discussing an event that happened a generation or two ago.  In the process of breaking up housekeeping of one of my great-great-grandparents, a photo was found.  It was a photo of a black woman.  On the back, it said one word…

“Mama.”

At the time, I said nothing.  Sometime later, I referred to that event.  Mother just stared. It was anger and “I-don’t-know-what-you-mean?” at the same time.  Had she forgotten?  Was it a secret?

Nevertheless.

Whose mother? The answer is lost. Only Mother is alive to know it and, she isn’t talking.  There were the great-greats who both died, leaving the little girl who’d be my great grandmother, an orphan.  There is also the great-great who smoked cigars and only changed underwear twice a year–when she put on the winter underwear and when she took them off.  Her son would live 76 years, only to decide to end his life.

Someone kept a photo labeled, ‘Mama’.

My mother was born in the 40s.  My grandmother in the 20s. My great-grandmother died in 2005 at age 93.  If she was still alive, she’d be 101.  Given forty years for the two previous generations, that would place her grandmother’s birth in the year 1867.  Five years after the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation.  If by some chance my forebears in both those generations were older than 20 when my great-great was born, ‘Mama’ could have been born a slave.

It’s possible that the woman in the photo isn’t actually a relative at all, but a nanny.  Someone may have found a photo labeled ‘Mama’, and just never disposed of it.

Neither of those seem terribly likely, as this de-cluttering would have taken place before my grandmother was born.  Would it have been extremely likely that a white person, living in the 1920s in America, would keep a portrait of a black woman labeled ‘Mama”, if it held no personal meaning?

The photo, if kept, wasn’t kept by my branch of the family.  Of whom I am the only descendent.

May I pass?

Feel free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thirteen for ’13

I decided to limit my goals to 13.  I could list 100 and still not address all that needs overhauling in my life.  Little by little, I feel that I’ve let things get sloppy.  There is only one way to fix it.  Fix it.

GOALS

1) Silence.  No computer.  No people.  No kidding.  I’ve always had a value for silence.  Maybe because I am an only child, I “got it” from a very early age.  I don’t know.  Whatever’s the case, I haven’t been alone systematically for months.

Looks like: setting an alarm, no matter what time I go to bed.

Start: now.

Finish: none.  Death is the ultimate meditative silence.

2) Move in my strengths.  I actually know a thing or two, and in one or two areas, I am an expert.  A couple of months ago, I had a bit of a wake up call when my brain screamed,”You haven’t accomplished [thing I want] because you have no self-confidence to try.

Looks like: *sigh* making a list of my strengths and deciding in what ways to use those resources to encourage others.

Start: today.

Finish: the list, Feb 1.

3) Rock the kitchen.  The fact is, I avoid cooking food and feeding people.  It’s unloving.  It’s irresponsible.  It’s wasteful.

Looks like:  Keeping enough food in the house for people to eat. I am bad for getting home without enough snacks.  This drives my children to eat all the chips, pretzels, carrots, celery, crackers, cheese, lunch meat, green beans. Then, when meal time comes, there is no li’l side or something.  Planning dinners but also, *sigh* lunches.

Start: Today.

Finish: I can shop today.  Menu planning needs a longer finish date.  The best idea I’ve heard is to create a number of menus and rotate them.  Gimme….two weeks.

4) Get a choke hold on the family finances.  Choke. Hold.  I hope that’s not too harsh of imagery for my more delicate blog guest.  I checked us out on Global Rich List.  I have no excuse.

Looks like: Giving systematically to God’s Work (not always strictly to the local church). Saving like a mad woman.  Possibly refinancing.  Executing a will. Aggressive debt re-payment. It might be a service like Manilla.  I don’t love being here, but I know I am not alone in the world and this is my blog and I’m collecting on the accountability, real or imagined.

Start: Today

Finish: I need to set individual times on each one.  So, today’s action is that.  By night fall tonight, I will have estimated finish dates on these.

5) Get serious about writing. I could post a “knock-knock” joke a day on the blog for the rest of my life.  I could continue to analyze my navel lint for the next five years.  Am I writing or not?  Am I any good or not?

Looks like: submitting something for publication to a legitimate source like a magazine or newspaper or a nice website.

Start: yesterday, I bought The Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Yearbook 2013*.   It has a number of websites for writers.

Finish: Submit something by the end of February.

6) Love my blog.  It seems that when the adoption was final I lost my niche. I still believe in my blog’s name.  What-We-Can’t-Explain is a part of God’s Perfect Design for our lives.  That’s the best description of my life so far.  The greatest things that ever happened were because of what looked like a slip on a banana peel or a cosmic clothesline.

Looks like: a design, a blogging calendar, guest posting, and monetizing.  Creating my own or using others daily blog checklists.

Start: Dec 28–The design is underway. January 3 or something. I’ve been invited to guest post I have to accept.  I’m shy, see.

Finish: The design stuff I have no control over…could be in a week or two.  I will accept on the guest post today.

7) Hold out for quality.  My children have developed a general expectation of life that’s mediocre. I commented to someone the other day that kids will appreciate quality if that’s what they’re exposed to.  It was like I slapped my own face.

Looks like: Resisting the “I can do that later.”

Start: When I Dress for work this morning.

Finish: When they are educated and have found a husband or wife.

8) School. I am burnt out, but I’m not giving up. At least, public school kids are impelled. This is my gig. Only the ISP headmaster gets to tell me what to do.

Looks like: Getting all my paperwork prepared so when it’s due, there is less stress.  Planning the rest of the curriculum until graduation.  Looking at college degree plans so I know what they need.

Start: today.

Finish: Feb 1.

9) Take better care of myself.  (See #1)  I am a big girl.  No one is going to take care of my body and mind and spirit.  End of discussion.  Sure, I’d like to call this one exercise and eat right, but there might be one or two things I need before that.

Looks like: List of needs.  Plan to execute.

Start: When I started writing this post.

Deadline: one week.

10) Make a house that I’m not ashamed to have in the background of my photos.

Looks like: Fill the space in the attic that I gained access to when I was in there.  Give away junk.  Throw away trash.  Plan for Renovation work.

Start: this isn’t rocket science.  Tomorrow’s Saturday.

Finish:

11)  Stop waste in the house.  I think this is redundant, but, it is a mindset.  Instead of seeing my goals in terms of their worth in sacrifice, I get in the habit of medicating my feelings with a “pass”.  Well, $#!@’s out of hand.   Money, Time, Food, Utilities, Late Fees, Brain cells (we have watched some really stupid stuff).

Looks like: setting the example myself.  Shut up.  I hate my life.

Start: with shorter showers and not using the fixture with six bulbs unless I am putting on make-up.  List other areas and work on them.

Finish: When kids can run their own homes.

12)  The organization thing– create systems that make the obnoxious work easy.  Then USE THEM.  Even if it is a to-do list.  Making the list isn’t the objective.  It’s coming under the authority of the list that counts. Looks like: starting that list.

Start: in a minute.

Finish: when I no longer rely on a pile of paper to know what I need to do next.

13) Trust God– I’ve been mad at him over some things that happened really close together that we didn’t get a good outcome on.  But even before that, I was going on the feeling that He wasn’t really showing up for me.  I was having to do this all myself.  I know better.  I wouldn’t be even so much as alive without Him.  If He doesn’t have me now,  none of this really matters.

Looks like: Being joyful when I feel down and discouraged.  Not in a fake way, but acknowledging my feelings and listing what is still good or given in the midst.  There’s a blog challenge, but I think I might do it privately.

Start: ASAP

Finish: Every moment and start again.

 

*It’s a magazine… not Writer’s Market.  I couldn’t find a link.

 

 

 

Dear Santa, Not that I Need to Tell You Any of This…

Dear Santa:

First, let me say, the coffee mug from last year is still rocking the mornings the dishwasher hasn’t been run.  You know exactly how to bring the trumpet shaped ceramic noise.

I hope you enjoyed the low-fat, high-fiber, refreshments we provided.  They are approved by the American Heart Association. Please let Mrs. Claus know we appreciate her kind note and will be serving those again this year.

We are looking forward to hiding in the drapes and watching you lay a finger aside of your nose.

Just to streamline your preparations and help you stay out of the mug aisle at Wal-Mart, I thought I’d give you a few ideas.

1) Santa, let’s just dispense with the formalities and get down to business on this, shall we?  I don’t just want, I need a new camera.  Three years into my brave attempts at blogging, the camera that started out as merely adequate, has gone downhill.  It really seems to want to retire.  The daggeurrotype produced a clearer image.  It served me well throughout several births, but is now less current and capable than phones I see in the hands of 10 year-olds.

Pony. Up.

pcmprd187800050016_sc.jpg Front Detail

 

2) Since we are on the topic of outdated technology.  Let’s talk about phones.  I am carrying this:

LG COSMOS

It is a good serviceable device and should offer clear talk and utilitarian texting well into the next decade.   But please. If I am on the good list, do something…  I know the girls would like to carry this phone, so do it for them.

3)  Dishes.  You saw it last year under your organic field greens with balsamic vinaigrette.  Chipped and cracked.  I’ve shopped and shown Mickey what I want for everyday use.  Yet, I went to the store’s website to check for specials and found this.

 

Mikasa® Threads Modern Dinnerware

Mikasa Threads @ Bed, Bath, & Beyond 

 

Yes, that’s right.  Our wedding china pattern hasn’t been discontinued.  That’s where you come in.  The everyday dishes are a given, so to speak.  Given, meaning, “He’s givin’ ’em to me or I’m givin’ ’em to myself.”  But to have the china completed would be really, really nice.  So I’ll have at least something for the girls to fight over who has to take it when I die.

4)  While we are making me happy with what I see under the tree, let’s talk about the man I send off to work everyday.  Looking like a scarecrow.  You know what we are dealing with here.  He hates to shop.  He went from one workplace where the boss wanted everyone to “Dress for Success”  like it was 1984 to another where the hipsters set the dress code.  He feels a little like Urkel in a One Direction video.

What would make me happy is for you to just take care of this.  From the skin out.  Thanks in advance.

5)  The girls.  Ditto.  Not because of the workplace.  They need jeans. Because they’ve worn out the ones they currently wear.  WORN THEM OUT.  That doesn’t even speak to accessories, anything for a dressy event or shoes.  Oh my Santa, SHOES!  All that heroic nonsense about the thrift store aside; I am too exhausted to even start the process. You see them when they’re sleeping.  You know when they’re awake.  Blech.

Get to work old ma-….

Sorry.

Now I’m so glad you know I have PMS and I didn’t really mean that.

6) The boy.  Rock. His. World.  This kid would seriously fade away into Angry Birds and never be seen again.  He has a magnificent wardrobe courtesy of all our friends and fellow church members cleaning out their boys closets when he came.  Like he cares.  He needs stuff to play with outside and inside.  He’s a bit like an only child in that he and his sisters just aren’t entertained by the same stuff.  he bravely tries to join in and knows all the lyrics to all their cds.  That’s not good for anyone.  He needs more than the light sabre and the trampoline.

7) Howsabouta nice stockade fence around the backyard.  So we and our next door neighbors can enjoy our yards at the same time without looking at each other.  Remember what they say.  Good fences make good neighbors. I’m sure the feeling is mutual when I say, they would be a lot better looking from the other side of a privacy fence.  The *ahem* ‘cyclone fence’ that came with the house is an embarrassment.  I’d just like to wake up on Christmas morning and look out the window and not see the alley.

8) The peace on earth thing.  Peace has so many different meanings.  Practically one for every living person.  Let’s talk about that mom whose child is on the battlefield.  In a foreign country or an urban back alley or a cancer ward or a rebellious season.  Bring that momma peace.  For that Man who’s imprisoned by the pressure.  To conquer.  Work. Marriage. Fatherhood.  House.  Car. TV.  Money.  Give. Him. Peace.

Bring them peace.  And the earth will follow.

9) Underwear and socks.  Seriously.  We all need them.

10) An orange and some nuts and a peppermint stick in my stocking.  To remind me of the olden days.  And those who wished before me.  You know who they are.

Bonus: It would cost you nothing to send some Facebook likes for the blog.  Or some comments.  Or some reason to keep persevering with this.  Since the muse has apparently moved to one of Money Magazine’s Best Cities to live in.

Thank you, Santa for reading my letter.  And being magical.  And letting me on the good list.

Maggie S.

This letter, while genuinely heartfelt and sincere, is also linked with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Mama's Losin' It

 

 

 

It Was Bound to Happen

You know.

When you start having serious talks with your kids about sex and relationships, a big clock starts to tick.

The clock that is counting down the moments until someone in their actual real life does something we hope they won’t decide to do.

Yep.  Barber Shop.  Shave.

Several weeks ago, they bellowed,”Mooooom! [Jane] is pregnant.”

Thank you Facebook.

The next day, we were going through their clothes throwing out, storing Summer, reviewing Winter.  You know the drill.

Someone got up the boldness to say, “Do you think [Jane] was pregnant before she got engaged?”

Two pairs of widely innocent sincerely searching eyes, waited to hear my answer.

I was honest.  I told them that had been my first thought, but I’d disregarded it, because it was judgemental and that’s not how I wanted to be.

Then I said, “Look, some of the best people you know were conceived…without deliberate planning.”

Suffice to say, we made a “Short but Jim Dandy List of People We Can’t Imagine the World Without, Who Were Conceived Pre-Ring“.

And when I say short, I mean quite long.  And including our own selves.

We talked about the fact that [Jane] is an adult, though a young one, and responsible for her choices.

The fact that, though we don’t really know each other, we are pro-[Them].  There will be no participation in gossip.

What’s done is done.  Now, we move forward in joy, because a baby is coming.

Overall, I thought the household discussion of this thing, that was entirely none of our business, went well.  They now know that all girls bodies work roughly the same way.  Homeschooling really doesn’t change you into some life form that doesn’t get pregnant the same way as everyone else.  Jesus isn’t a lucky charm that keeps the ordinary biological functions from taking place because you tithe.  Denim jumpers and crew socks with canvas shoes have no contraceptive value.  Don’t believe the hype.

As if they had any chance to labor under such misconceptions.

Excuse the expression .

The questions kept coming.

There are no easy answers anymore.  It’s a good sign.  It means they’re growing up.

Time to go wind the clock.

 

 

 

Not Feelin’ It

For today’s performance, the role of the Ghost of Christmas-Yet-To-Come will be play by a Discouraged Mother.

I’m not feeling the holiday. After lots of big words and big plans and big urging to others last month,(To which I am not even going to link, in my shame) I don’t feel like Christmas. Decorating, baking, dressing, partying, worshipping, shopping, wrapping, hiding, traditioning– none of it.

There is a reason.

For several consecutive weeks, I have shuttled people to various activities, set aside my own agenda. GOT. @#$%. DONE.  For other people.

Not me. Not Mickey(okay, a little). Or the boy(we just enjoy our roles as sub-ordinates).

There is only one answer left.

They, in turn, have attended rehearsals, concerts, parties, plays, home tours, ultimate frisbee get-togethers, visits in others’ homes. Thank God, I have someone to enjoy life for me, so I can spend my time gassing up the car and buying foods they are interested in. (Not foods they find boring. Yes, you heard me.  Boring.). It’s important that I make it happen for them without regard for the running of a househole and continued access to hot and cold running water indoors or lights & heat.

There is an alternative.  I can have all the household help I can stand to delegate to if I am willing to be talked to like something they scraped off the bottom of their shoes.  I can have excellent scores on schoolwork if I drive them like a balking team of oxen–constantly alert and steering every second to prevent a stampede.

It would be handy and convenient to blame Facebo*k.  But.  Like alcohol, it doesn’t create problems.  It magnifies them.

It is proving precious difficult to get excited about the first Christmas at full salary in the last four years.

It’s not my deep concern about their character.  I wish it were.

It’s just freaking pragmatism.  I just don’t warm to the idea of spending my holiday time, money and imagination on people who clearly feel they are above me.  Just as the clerk at gas station doesn’t buy me a gift that represents an appreciable percentage of her household income, you and I wouldn’t send expensive personal gifts to say, I don’t know…Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.  Not only do they not need what we can afford, they might think we were weird and put us on a security watch list.

It gets worse.  They are delightful to others.  On a regular basis, teachers and people they volunteer with give me all manner of glowing feedback about how responsible, respectful and reliable they are.  And how good looking.

Really?  Really.  REALLY!?!

So?  It’s personal?

I actually don’t think so.  I’m pretty sure it’s a phase.  Perhaps one designed by God himself to make sure a mom was ready to let her chicks leave the nest.  If that’s the case, it’s working well, per design. The timing is unfortunate.

I’ve drafted a letter to Santa. He sees them when they are sleeping and awake, knows when they’re bad or good.

He. Knows.

He’s cleared me to stick with the bag of crew socks &  10-pack of Juicy Fruit, their father received when he was 15; and the Forever in Blue Jeans Cologne & $5 bill I received when I was 15.

Hmmm.  Fifteen.

Yep, totally a phase.

How do you stir up your holiday spirit when it’s low?

Sneaking a merry-go-round break with Bro.

 

 

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