A Delayed Christmas

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Christmas came late for our household. The records show that the temperature was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius), though I was sure it had gone up to eighties. Edward and Bailey didn’t have to work, I got the day off, and Alice was able to leave early. There were no plans. It was a leisurely day.
We ran out of coffee and all the stores were closed. When Bailey and I waited for Edward to pick up Alice from work, I looked sorrowfully at my cold cup that contained all the coffee in our house, unwilling to dirty a pan to warm it up (Daisy was the last to use our microwave before it went kaput). In walked Ed, handing out flavored Starbucks coffee like presents. I felt loved when I found that he got me caramel flavored.
Guinevere loved her present I knit for her. She had been going from wrapping to wrapping from the phone cases Ed got for the Ladies until I gave her a knitted pouch with a musical ball in it. She stood in place shaking it up and down, mesmerized, eventually throwing it down to hear it clank. The Ladies are late getting Edward’s gift, I gave Bailey and Alice their presents a month early (oops), and Bailey’s presents to us are in the mail.
The Girls are ‘visiting’ from their grandparents for New Years, so we delayed the decorating and gift wrapping for after Christmas. The house sang with joyous chaos and merry songs sung out of tune, off key, and off beat, tuning out the thud of little knees scurrying in and out of rooms. Initially Guinevere was too stunned by the presence of little people all around her, mouth gaping as dress up clothes were donned and cast down all around her. Grace stopped in front of her and there was a moment where they took each other in. I don’t know if they remember how close they were before Grace had to be taken with her sisters, but whether or not they do, they hit it off just like before.
It stings to see your children with bad habits you worked so hard to not expose them to. Grace snatches whatever she wants, and cries from confusion when anything is kept from her until she is reminded to ask nicely. I tell her to say, “can I have it please,” and she looks at me blankly. “Say ‘please’.”
“Pees.” Her vocabulary is exactly the same as when she went to her grandparents, which tells us she was not encouraged to use her words. She is nine months older than Guinevere and they are at the same level of development, and that breaks my heart. Gloria spanked her inflatable bull for being bad, and I reminded her that we don’t spank in this house. Geraldine tattled to me about her grandparents spanking them for reasons she didn’t think was fair.
I am infuriated that they want to describe our relationship as confusing to our children, yet I have to explain to the Girls that they live with different rules in different houses with different morals. In our house we want to teach our children to be Christian, which for our family means placing your trust in God and living for your fellow neighbor. This also means praying to Him when you desire something, not wishing for it to just happen like magic. This means a self appreciation for being a creature filled with the breath of God and made in his likeness and his image, not wishing to be something else because something else is better because it has wings and I don’t. I suspect that because we have told their grandparents that we wish to not raise our children with magic, they have gone out of their way to give them many magic themed things. “We’re cooler because we let you have cooler stuff.” And for the cherry on top, we’re not Christian enough for their grandparents, and in court they accused us of starting up a cult.
I have grown a resentment for stupid.
My reaction is to just not think about it so that I can continue to function, because I am needed to keep up with laundry and dishes while someone else looks after the kids (often Bailey and Alice trade off or collaborate, depending on schedules) and to perform well at work so we can continue to be able to afford fighting for custody of our children.
My heart’s not bleeding, it’s merely a flesh wound.
Since I’m not on talking terms with my mother and sister (I’m not sure that they noticed that they became our enemies pawns), and for obvious reasons I’m not in touch with my father, I didn’t have to worry about getting them presents and wondering if they’re going to assume I didn’t have enough money to get them better presents because they think my husband is manipulative and has seized control of my money but can’t afford to pay for our family. If you’ve ever tasted baker’s chocolate and had it with anise you might know the taste in my mouth during family visits. So as odd as it may seem that I’m being so anti-family on a family oriented holiday, understand that I haven’t enjoyed myself more than this because of it.
The cold front has finally come through, and I’m donning my hand knit fingerless gloves and the gift wrapping is covering the floor and laughter is filling the halls and it finally feels like Christmas.

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