Thursday, January 24, 2008


there are times i feel like a child
small, helpless and not in control of anything.
i’m not really a mother who’s supposed to know all the answers,
or a wife who puts her dreams aside
so her husband can follow his.
i’m a little girl who’s scared to stay alone-
waking when the house settles to check windows and doors.
i’m naive to the horrors that plague our world-
not comprehending the cruelty I witness
in school, at work.
my NOW life takes over again
bill payer, lunch maker, gift buyer, laundry doer, toilet cleaner
the only word my children know
when they are upset. or need something.
or simply want to whine.
i am not the person i dreamed i’d be.
not the always patient parent you see on television commercials,
not the laid-back-go-with-the-flow type.
i am not as organized or on top of things as i had hoped.
i am not the cookie baker or happy memory maker i always imagined.
in fact,
i am selfish and wonder why someone cannot take care of me-
at least sometimes.
every now and then i’d like to be tucked in. and soothed. and worried about.
real life once more;
grocery shopper, floor washer, carpet vacuumer, party planner always,
and those are just my chores tonight.
perhaps someday it will be my turn
to chase dreams, to become the person i’d hoped.
my turn to be the
story-writer, poem creator, soul inspirer, life-lesson teacher, spiritual director, smile bringer…
or maybe
in the eyes of my children
i am all those things now.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Merry Happy New Day

Merry Christmas! I hope this December finds you all well and that Santa brought all the presents to your house in a timely fashion. (He didn’t in mine, but more on that later.) What? It’s not December anymore?

I don’t know what happened this year. I’m quite sure that December shorted me two weeks. It was going along fine, the house was decorated, tree was up, presents (most of them) bought and wrapped, Christmas party had, and then I turned around or blinked or something and now I’m two weeks into January.

I have vague memories of the vet’s office and a euthanasia bill for $109.00, a long plane flight and almost missing our connection in Newark, some wrapping paper bits on the carpet of my parents home, a missing present from Santa, a movie on New Years—that I fell asleep at 9:30 watching—some shopping, a couple brief (but jovial) visits with my grandmother in the hospital, the departure of my husband and two older children back to MA, a rain storm, and the news that my house now contains 125 cases of Girl Scout cookies. Other than these tidbits the last three weeks have pretty much been a blur.

I stayed a few more days in AZ to spend time with my grandparents, while my husband came back to MA with the two older kids. While the few days without the rest of my family was a nice little break (yes of course I missed them terribly), I’m now home to face a shortened January, a house that is littered with open suitcases, baby toys, dirty laundry, Christmas decorations and school papers, there are still 119 cases of Girl Scout cookies downstairs and a cat litter box in my bedroom with no owner. I’d really like to be able to twitch my nose and stop time long enough to catch up and start the new year with a clean, fresh house and outlook, but decidedly, that isn’t going to happen.

I’m so far behind I haven’t done my Christmas letter yet, which will now be a Valentine letter because, dammit, I already printed the pictures to put in them and I’m not going to waste my money. I haven’t had time to make New Year’s resolutions either, one of which was to blog at least three times a week (I’m trying to be practical) and you can see how well I’m doing with that. We are still waiting on the BIG present from Santa, although at this point I think the kids are a bit suspicious of Santa who just couldn’t get it together this year. What happened, you ask? Well, here is the long and short of it:

  • Santa was going to bring a pool/hockey combo game table for the kids. It’s consistently been on the list for two years and last year Santa said he couldn’t fit it in the sleigh. He’s had one year to figure it out.
  • Santa’s helper found it on sale at a local sporting goods store, 50% off. But it was too heavy for Santa’s helper to purchase and load into the van, especially when that helper always has a baby with her.
  • “Will you go, can you go, will you please, can you please, buy the THING for the kids from Santa. It’s on sale.”
  • “Yes. Not now, later.”
  • “Have you gone, will you go, have you seen, did you get, the THING for the kids from Santa?”
  • “Not yet, but later.”
  • We repeated these scenes daily for about two weeks. It’s December 22nd, and Santa decides to go shopping.
  • I get the call from Santa. “Have you looked on line, can you look on line, to see who else might have these THINGS for the kids? The store is all out.”
  • Duh.
  • Some angry, disgruntled Christmas words are exchanged.
  • Santa finds one on line and purchases it. It will be delivered to the neighbor’s house while we are gone, so we can say Santa dropped it off because it was too big to bring back from AZ.
  • Note from Santa on Christmas morning reads: “Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas! Here are a few gifts for you both to open while you are here. I left your big present with one of your neighbors. Boy was it heavy! Here is a hint: You need to be on the 8-ball and full of hot air to enjoy this one. Love, Santa.”
  • Three days later, Santa and helper receive email cancellation: THINGS are back ordered and there are none available.

At this point my mother suggests just telling the kids there really is no Santa, and that it would be a lot easier than to keep thinking up lies about why there is no Santa present. They are almost 7 and 9 after all. But the last thing I need is for the kids to tell their therapist, “And then there was the year when mom yelled that ‘THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUSE, IT’S REALLY YOUR FATHER AND I, GROW UP YOU SISSY AND ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU’RE PARENTS ARE HUMAN AND YOUR FATHER NEVER LISTENS TO ME AND THAT’S WHY YOU DON’T HAVE A PRESENT FROM SANTA’ and shattered my illusions of goodness, happiness and childhood magic. I’ve been jaded ever since.”
So, not one to concede to a challenge (and the mantra, “ItoldyousoItoldyouso-youneverlistentomeItoldyouso” marathoning through my head, I resolved to take matters into my own hands.

  • Get online and find a combination pool/hockey table. No it isn’t 50% off. It’s only $50 off. Yes, it’s roughly two and a half times the price of the first one I found on sale. Yes, shipping the two-hundred pound item is a few hundred dollars. But it’s in stock. And can be delivered to the house without Santa’s help.
  • I order it.
  • I tell Santa, after I order it.
  • My husband makes up another lie about why there is still no present from Santa, (upon returning home with children and having no present in sight) something about it being damaged and Santa having to send it to a store to be fixed, so now a store is going to deliver it. The kids seem to buy it. Either that, or they don’t really care about Santa anymore, and just want the damned present that never seems to appear.
  • Delivery for said missing THING is coming Friday.

You know how this whole scene could have been avoided don’t you? Yes, astute reader, that’s correct.

Happy Merry New Day.