Ahhhhh, the holiday season. Baking cookies, making candy, decorating the house, putting up the tree, and instilling family values and traditions in our children. One of those things does not belong there, nor does it have room in my household, apparently. I know you’re thinking it’s the whole baking thing (based on my cooking experiences); but it’s not.
Imparting family traditions is so important to me – it’s how we carry out our legacies, right? My children are going to have twisted memories of holiday preparations and my Grandchildren are going to be effed up little individuals with no idea who Grandma Amy was.
Last night was my ex’s night with the kids, but I REALLY wanted to see the kids and get our tree done, so he agreed I could take them and I looked forward to this all day. Yes, with great excitement I anticipated picking them up, spending time together, decking the house, and creating memories. I didn’t even make it out of their father’s driveway…
Max: “MOOOOOOOM! It’s no fair! Abbey gets to sit in the front all the time! It’s MY turn!”
Abbey’s not budging from the front seat. Max is trying to squeeze in on top of her lap, using the “Oh Shit Handle” for swinging leverage. Abbey’s trying to close the door on him.
Me: “Max, you guys always take turns. Get in the car.” I’m still being calm because I want tonight to be a FUN memory.
Max: “But at Dad’s Abbey ALWAYS gets to ride in the front, so I should get to ride in the front when I’m with you!” Oooooh, clever play my boy.
Abbey: “I do NOT, you little brat!”
Max (now fighting tears, because the girl he adores more than life itself, has called him a brat and insinuated he’s also a liar. In her defense…he is sometimes both): “YES YOU DOOOOOOOOO! MOOOOM, IT’S NOT FAIR!”
I’ve lost it. I no longer care about a fun night. I’m contemplating sending them both back into their father’s & wondering if I’d do jail time for driving down the street with a 9-year-old hanging out the passenger’s side door, swinging from the “Oh Shit Handle”
Max slams the passenger door, gets in the back seat, and slams that door, too. Now I really lose it. We’re not driving the Loser Cruiser anymore – we have a nice, shiny, fuel efficient, new car, which I adore. In that Mom’s-losing-her-freaking-marbles-and-morphing-into-a-Gremlin-voice I say through clenched teeth and death stare eyes, “DO. NOT. SLAM. THE. DOOR. IN. MY. NEW. CAR.” He folds his arms and proceeds to pout the whole way home. Tonight’s gonna be greeaaaaat.
We arrive home, kids still picking, poking, and prodding each other with every opportunity. Max proceeds to play hockey in the kitchen, slamming the puck up against an empty box just to aggravate his sister and me. I ignore him, just to make him mad. Abbey retires to the living room, listening to music and texting friends.
Me: “Hey, I need some muscles upstairs to help me with the totes of decorations!”
Abbey & Max in stereo: “Not it!”
Me (deflated): “Guys, I can’t do this on my own.”
Max succumbs. He carries down the small bin and insists he can also carry the large one. I assist, which makes him angry, but it must be done or he’ll be a crumpled little pile of bones at the bottom of the stairs beneath the tote.
Abbey’s still on the couch listening to music and giggling over her friends’ posts and texts while Max and I empty out the totes and reminisce over each little ornament, who it came from, where it came from, what it means to us. Ahhhhh, it’s coming together…memories in the making. Memories of…
“Yo! I never fucked Wayne, I never fucked Drake. On my life man, fuck’s sake. If I did, I’d menage with ‘em and let ‘em eat my ass like a cupcake…”
Did you just have a mini stroke reading that? ‘Cause I sure had a mini stroke hearing it. My beautiful, intelligent daughter is sitting on the couch, texting friends, listening to this like it’s a Sunday mass.
Me: “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! Turn it off! Turn it OFF! In fact, turn that whole damn thing off – we’re having FAMILY time!”
Abbey (stunned): “Mom…wow…calm down. I don’t say the words, I just listen to the songs. It’s Nicki Minaj.”
Me: “Does Nicki Minaj sing CLEAN Christmas carols? I don’t think so. So we don’t need to be hearing her tonight. Plus you can’t listen to that in front of your brother – he’ll be yelling “Eat my ass like a cupcake” in school and I’ll get called to meet with the principal. Do you even know what that means?”
Abbey: “Uh, yeah…Nicki Minaj’s butt is so big it would equal, like, a LOT of cupcakes.”
Me – inside voice: “Thank GOD!” “Well no more. Listen to something respectable, Carrie Underwood, Frank Sinatra, Miranda Lambert. Jesus. No more Nicki. You’ll be in jail by the time you’re 15.”
Abbey: “Moooooom!” And I’m suddenly flashing back to MY Mom and I having this SAME conversation when I was obsessed with Madonna. Aaaaaghhhhh! It’s happened! I’ve turned into my Mother!
The tree is decorated, the house has a sprinkling of holiday cheer, and Mommy’s had all she can handle for one night. Milk and Oreos and back to Daddy’s house.
My ex and I cannot live together, because we make each other crazy and want to kill each other; but we co-parent like freaking rock stars! So when I dropped the kids off and told him how “great” our holiday decorating went, he decided when they do HIS decorating this weekend there will be NO iPods or iPhones or iPads or Nicki Minaj. In fact, they will blare traditional Christmas carols and bake those pre-made Pillsbury cookies with Christmas trees already printed on them. He will belt out Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole and make our children insane while forcing holiday tradition upon them. Thank you, thank you, cool co-parent 🙂 I am grateful for the role you play in our children’s’ lives and that you’re able to step back calmly and balance my crazy so they don’t have to visit their Mother in a home somewhere with nice white jackets.