All week I've been receiving packages. Rich gets home before me, and he sneaks them up to our bed. Every night I put them on the top shelf in our closet. Late last week I didn't get to it fast enough and he was ready for bed. He actually came out and asked me in front of the kids, "where should I put that package?" Um-how about where I've been putting all the other ones? And why ask me out loud, in front of the kids, when you know darned well they're Christmas presents?
I'm not exaggerating when I say he cannot decide on anything for himself. It's aggravating.
Can I just say the worst sound in the world is a mother sobbing over the loss of her child? I'm sure you already knew that, as I did before this funeral, but it's completely heart wrenching to hear it.
It makes my whole insides hurt just to think about it.
Oh, Chrissy. I just hurt all over thinking about that.
I picked up one of Syd's friends, David, to come along with us. I had never been to his house and he had sent a text saying it was "4xx Main St" in a neighboring town. I knew where the street was, but wasn't sure how it was numbered. We started on one end and I noticed it was West Main St. I wasn't sure if that would make a difference or not, but we found 4xx West Main St and I told Sydney to text him and let him know we were there. She did and we waited. And waited. I finally thought we were at the wrong house so I drove over to Main St, but the numbers started at 600 there so I was pretty sure we needed to be on West Main St.
We drove back and he's still not outside. I tried to talk Sydney into knocking on his door, but she was afraid to. She wouldn't even go with me to the door. I went by myself and this young kid answers and he's obviously just woke up. His hair is all over the place. I told him I was Sydney's mom and asked if he was coming with us. He said, "Yeah, let me get my coat." His hair was a wreck! I wasn't too worried about his clothes because I figured there'd be a lot of middle schoolers there that weren't dressed up. But his hair!
I ended up doing the whole mom thing-licking my hand and patting his hair down. And then it hit me and I started crying...all of us moms do these things for each others kids and never think about it. He's a 12 or 13 year old boy and didn't know enough to brush his hair (or dress!) for a friend's funeral and his parents weren't there to help him. I can't count how many times these little things have happened with my kid's friends. And I'm sure other parents have helped my kids out as well.
I guess I don't really have a point to the story except that we as moms are always looking out for our kid's friends, even if we don't think about it.
What a painful thing for a whole town to have to go through. I love you for fixing that boy's hair, C. I wonder... did the bullying kids show up at the funeral? Did their parents? Have they stepped up and claimed any responsibility for this? It would be completely tragic to me if people don't learn the lessons from the loss of this poor boy and start to treat each other with more kindness and respect.
I know it is such a challenge to teach a young person to think more compassionately for other kids. I just hope this is a wake up call for them and the parents. I also hope this sad event opens up the dialogue for everyone surrounding this incident.
His poor parents.
Me (38) DH (45) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12
I don't think I had the time to mention, but on Wednesday we decided to celebrate Christmas on Saturday (two days ago) because my Dad would be here and because we're going to be gone over Christmas. So, I hadn't shopped at all and I had to scramble to do all of my Christmas shopping done in two days and get the wrapping done and prepare for my Dad's visit and the small family Christmas party at my mom's house. Then my aunt decided to not show up with an hour's notice, and my dad spent the entire present unwrapping part in the bedroom on the phone, and came out and refused to unwrap anything. The kids did it for him.
You can see why I haven't posted in days, right? I've been slammed, and I'm actually reluctant to go back and see what I should be addressing (I've been reading this whole time) because I don't want to skip over anything, so I might as well just skip everything. Sorry.
Everything was okay-ish. Nobody was hurt. My dad could not, for the life of him, understand why I didn't want to take the kids to indoor close-packed areas when 2/3 of them were coughing and blowing snot everywhere. DH said they sounded like a TB ward. My dad said, "But studies show that kids who are in preschool and exposed to a lot of illnesses early on tend to be less sick later. Why would you want to limit their activities around other kids because they're contagious?" I discussed with him how it's polite to not take actively contagious people out around other kids; that their gymnastics class, for example, does not allow them to come when they're sick; that you never know what state of health or immune compromise or social planning someone else is in and you can't assume you're doing them a favor by getting them sick right now; that again, it's just not polite, same as you wash your hands when you have germs on them before you touch patients.
We went on a lot of long walks out in the beautiful regional parks, which was better than crowded museums with my dad anyway.
Okay, better get back to dinner.
Yikes, L. Sounds like you had quite a visit.
Me (38) DH (45) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12
Dad doesn't usually open his presents. Mom has given him Christmas presents, had him not open them, and given them to him again the next year. He's really bad about it. He's the reason we celebrated Christmas in February and January so many times during my childhood, too. He was usually wrapping stuff up in a garbage bag with duct tape some February evening as we all got excited and were told "Really? Tonight?!?!" and then he would lounge on the couch and not be able to tell us which present belonged to which person, sometimes not even after it was opened.
My sister called me up tonight and complained that he didn't give her anything for her birthday (in November) or for Christmas. He never gives us birthday presents. I'm shocked that she thought this year would be different.
ETA: He's the main reason I'm pretty laissez-faire about Christmas, and the reason my sister is so determined that it be exactly like Norman Rockwell depicted it. Two reactions to the same childhood.
Last edited by 3andMe; 12-12-2011 at 07:06 PM.
We had some rough Christmases. I can't count how many we had when mom was in the state hospital. Dad always had presents and a big breakfast for us. I of course felt the lead in my heart from missing my mom, but at least we had Christmas. It's kinda a big deal.
I remember my mom being pretty depressed during the holidays after my dad passed, and every tradition we had (getting a tree, going to the nutcracker, making spritz cookies) was gradually dropped until we wouldn't really 'do' anything at all for the holiday after I was about 13. I remember being really sad and frustrated that she/we just did nothing. After she sobered up ( I was around 20) we started creating new traditions, like chinese food takeout on Christmas Eve and goign to the movies on Christmas Day.
Now we get a tree and wrap presents and do crafts and what-not, it's important to me that Abbey have traditions surrounding the holidays in general, but both 'traditional' activities and things that are unique to our family. Speaking of, this year we are making tamales on Christmas Eve. We would like a good stockpile for the deep freeze, and I'm hoping to repeat it every year.
See, I don't remember feeling that upset about Christmas. Most years during our early childhood, we were spending Christmas break road-tripping down the Baja peninsula, and on Christmas Day we'd hang candy canes on a saguaro cactus. We slept on the beach, we cooked over campfires, we made friends with cows and played in the sand and the waves. We built little roads out of sea shells. Our parents took us out of school for up to a month for this, and our teachers often just told us to keep a journal of the time to make up for the homework we'd miss. I have a lot of little journals from those early years, talking about how Dad couldn't find a napkin so he wiped his face with a tortilla at one roadside cafe (he must have been hamming it up for us), or the one beach where my favorite cow was named Daisy. My memories of Christmas as a child are wonderful. I never cared that it wasn't on December 25th.
It's annoying now, as an adult, seeing that my dad cannot be bothered to be even pretend to play along with the social niceties and unwrap presents and such. But when I was a kid (up until about high school), it didn't really register. And mostly I'm offended on behalf of the other people, whose feelings he's really hurting after they spent time carefully selecting present for him, or my kids, who don't understand why he's not unwrapping his presents.
We are actually going to Mexico over Christmas this year, and I have decided to not get a tree this year, and we celebrated Christmas on the wrong day. My sister was very upset about this whole thing. She is going to Mexico too, and we're all staying at a swanky resort, along with her dh and my mom and my MIL. She said, "This is NOT what I think of when I think about Christmas!" I said, "That's funny, because when I think about Christmas, I DO think about Mexico!" She asked what on earth we would do on Christmas Day, since we obviously wouldn't be gathering around a fireplace, cooking a turkey, roasting chestnuts, and playing board games. I told her she could get a massage, swim with the dolphins, and go to the spa. She snorted.
My kids sat on Santa's lap yesterday at a holiday party. Santa asked them what they wanted. DS said he wanted a new car. Santa assumed he wanted a toy car, but really, DS has been inspired by DH and actually wants a real car. DD told Santa we are going to be gone for Christmas so it doesn't matter, and Santa told them if they're good, he'll find them anywhere they go. Since we already had our Christmas celebration, they might be in for a disappointment, but they are going to get some new coloring books and books for the plane flight, so it will feel like Christmas to them.
I think that's a perfect example of how two people that share dna and parents, and presumably the same socioeconomic environment can come out totally different. It appears that your sister does feel, on some level, that she missed out on traditional Christmases.
I'm not saying either way is right or wrong, it's just interesting to me. I see it with my own kids. It's obvious (to me) nurture can only do so much in shaping a person.
L, you sure did have an interesting upbringing! My sister and I also differ in how we've turned out with our parents being the way they were. She looks back on things a lot more negatively than I do and it seems to have affected her more. Especially my mother's alcoholism.
I have friends who go away every Christmas some where exotic that doesn't celebrate Christmas because they don't like that everything shuts down over here at this time. I found it a little odd at first, but over time, it's made sense to me as that's their lifestyle. I love Britain at Christmastime. They do it well over here; well, except for the over-drinking bit which so many Brits do well in their every day life.
L, have you tried talking to your dad and telling him how something like opening the presents in front of the kids would make their day? Does he just not listen when you tell him stuff like that?
I pick my battles with my dad. To me, it was more important that he bring DD back to me when she was having a panic attack and calling "MA-MA! MA-MA!" than having him open presents. If I told him everything I wanted him to do differently, I would spend the entire visit telling him what to do or what not to do. He already thinks I am overly protective.
He was letting the kids play with his laptop, his camera, and his phone without any intervention. DS was happily banging away on the laptop when a System Restore warning box came up. DS stopped and looked at me, as I have taught him to do if a popup appears on the computer. My dad just waved a hand and told me it didn't matter if he clicked on it or not. I told him I've taught the kids not to click random boxes that appear on the computer, and to come get me, and my dad said, "Bah, it won't hurt anything." So he let DS run a system restore on his computer. I reinforced to them that they must still not click on anything like that on MY computer, while my dad rolled his eyes about how strict I am (at least that's the impression I got).
My dad either stonewalls or is dismissive or hostile when told information he disagrees with. He likes to say "Oh, baloney!"
Last edited by 3andMe; 12-13-2011 at 07:23 AM.
:S Ah, I see! Yikes. Yeah, you're probably right then picking your battles with him.
Your dad sounds like a handful but he seems fun L!
We had great Christmases when I was a child, which is why I continue to celebrate it with trees and lights and presents and such. Like your place Chrissy, we didn't get really anything all year except school clothes but on Christmas we got a whole bunch of stuff and it was so exciting and fun. My great grandma actually did make dinners like a Norman Rockwell painting. I was talking to DH about it on Thanksgiving. DH loves good cooking. He was complimenting me that this past Thanksgiving was the best I had ever cooked. I was thinking of my great grandma and all that we used to cook for the holidays and how great it was and really I don't think any meal I makes is as good in comparison to those times. I told him he would have loved her. She was blunt and would have put him in his place, but she could cook well so that would make up for it to him. On both Thanksgiving and Christmas we had turkey, ham, roast beef, and every side dish imagineable, every pie you could ever think of and "punch." One was for kids and the other adults. My grandma (mom's mom) also made homemade egg nog and Sangria. We would sing carols and joke around. My grandma was also a big spender. I swear she literally spent 10K per year on Christmas gifts. For many years she bought my brother's and I everything we got. We opened gifts at home, at her house, at great grandma's house, at my great aunt Betty's house and at my dad's family's houses on Christmas Eve. It was like a smorgasboard of gifts. We got to see family we never saw any other time of the year and we looked forward to it. We even sang Christmas carols at my great grandma's. Her daughter, my grandma was a trained pianist and opera singer and we would sing and sing. A few times we even went carolling around the neighborhood. I have such wonderful memories of Christmas and I actually usually am sad around this time of year because all those people except my aunt Betty are gone and I miss them. The rest of the family doesn't get together anymore like that and I haven't had a good holiday meal since my great grandma died in 1997.
Ky loves Christmas though so I am hoping that he'll have great memories of being together with his family too on Christmas, even though I am way cheaper than my grandma and I haven't ever spent as much as she did and probably never will. She just loved giving gifts, that was her thing and she got a lot of joy out of it.