A Few Thousand Words
Overall, I think it’s fair to say I’m not a slacker. I mean, last week, while also working and parenting, I collected money from the other parents in Ruby’s class and coordinated gifts for all three teachers in her class, contributed six dozen candies and cookies to her school’s holiday bake sale, baked 30 homemade strawberry cupcakes for her class birthday party and made Nutter Butter reindeer for all of the kids to take home on the last day. Slackers don’t make Nutter Butter reindeer. But right now, I am still fully in vacation mode, and so I’m kind of phoning this one in. Here’s the past week in pictures:
Two years ago, Ruby wanted a Tinker Bell doll for her birthday. Last year, she wanted a Barbie movie. These gifts were ideal because I could buy them on Amazon. This year, she asked for the one thing I couldn’t buy online, not even on eBay: a shopping spree at Target. On her birthday. Four days before Christmas. There is, quite literally, no one else in the world for whom I would drive through Friday-afternoon-before-Christmas traffic on Veterans, but she didn’t ask to be born so close to Christmas, so I took a few deep breaths, left the baby with my husband and buckled us in. It took a total of two hours, only 30 minutes of which were spent in the store, but she had a blast and picked out this outfit – and I threw the Tic-Tacs in as a reward for good behavior. The very next day, she left for St. Louis.
When I talked to her on Christmas Eve, she had an elaborate plan: She was going to sleep on the sofa, right in front of the stockings, and she had rigged up a bunch of Mardi Gras beads to ensnare Santa. “You know how you told me Santa was magic?” she asked. “Well, tonight I will see just how magic he is!” (Even if Santa had tripped on the beads and shouted out in pain, she would have slept through it – this is the kid who has more than once slept straight through our house alarm when we’ve accidentally set it off.) Her dad posted this photo on Facebook, and although it makes me sad to not be there with her, it delights me to know that she is having such a picture-perfect Christmas. My former in-laws really do Christmas right, from the personalized hand-knitted stockings to the homemade cookies, with the Midwestern trump card of snow. I’m glad she brought a little bit of New Orleans to Missouri, though, with her Mardi Gras bead trap
And then there’s Georgia, almost 7 months old, who celebrated her first Christmas this year. Ruby was just 4 days old for her first Christmas, and although there’s not much difference in terms of their understanding of the holiday at 4 days old and 7 months old, 7 months old is much, much cuter. Georgia crumpled wrapping paper in her chubby fist. She gummed down a bit of Christmas dinner. She smiled toothlessly at her presents before shoving them in her mouth. And then, she fell asleep, all dressed up with nowhere to go, dreaming sweet baby dreams of whatever the hell sweet babies dream of.
All in all, it was a great holiday. Not perfect – it will never be perfect – it wasn’t perfect even before I got divorced, and Christmas with kids after divorce is a whole different animal. But it was nice, low-key, with a new baby to cuddle and a big, healthy, happy 6-year-old to miss like crazy, and really, I can’t complain about a damn thing. I’m feeling very blessed as 2012 draws to a close (even though I am neurotically worried about a year ending in ’13). I hope the same is true for all of you.