Monday, December 22, 2008

Last Christmas

So, last year was just really icky. In my sheltered suburban life it was probably the worst Christmas season I have ever experienced. We just moved into a temporary rental while we searched for the perfect house. We were getting yanked around by a seller with, an unbeknownst to us, very moldy house. The rental was AWFUL. I mean awful. No, really, it was awful. After two days of living there we found that it was infested with fleas. Very stubborn fleas that took nearly two months to kill. D2 was crawling and just learning to walk at this time. It was seriously the most disgusting thing I've ever experienced - she would crawl around on the floor for a while, then I would scoop her up and pick the fleas off of her hair and clothing. ICCKKKK. I'm getting itchy just thinking about it. If that wasn't enough, there were very large over grown trees on the property that I swore was going to hit the house in a storm. During very bad storms, I would actually move my daughters cribs away from the outer walls of their rooms, just in case. Then there was the crappy electricity. Every morning Hubby would take his shower and a fuse would blow so he would have to shower in the dark. Ok, so that made me giggle, but still it sucked. Oh, and then there was the phantom phone line that would randomly call 911 in the middle of the night, sending a police officer to wake us up and make sure we were ok. Hmmmm..... and did I mention that the owner was going into foreclosure and we would get certified mail every other day demanding payment? Good times, good times.

Half of our stuff was in the f'ing POD. It was brilliant, actually, we used one of those portable storage containers to store most of our stuff while we staged our tiny home to sale. Then we left it in there while we lived in the rental from hell. It became known as the F'ing POD because nearly anything I needed and looked for was in it. The rest of our stuff came with us to the rental from hell, but most of it was never unpacked because I did not want it infested with fleas.

I never felt so disconnected from my life. New town, no friends, no computer, no land line. No stuff. I've been thinking a lot lately about this, and I've really been feeling for those in true need this Christmas season. I've given just a little more than usual. I was certainly not even close to being homeless, and no, I'm not saying I know what it's like to live on the streets, but I do know how horrible that feeling of displacement can be.

Last Christmas my Hubby held me together. I don't think I've ever leaned on him more. Between post partum hormones still out of wack, and just the awful experience we were going through, I very nearly felt like I was going to break. Hubby kept me together.

All of our Christmas decorations were in the F'ing POD. There was nothing to make the house feel even a little festive. But one night, while the girls and I were escaping at my parents house, Patrick went out and bought a fake tree and some ornaments, and a wreath for the front door. It was beautiful, a lit emblem of hope and better days to come. That little tree symbolized love to me.

This year I've been feeling such a huge sense of gratitude. My kids, hubby and I are not only flea free, warm and safe, but we have so much more. A great house in a great neighborhood, new friends. We put our little artificial tree up in the family room. Decorated it with some retro 50's type things, plus a bunch of kid friends ornaments. It's my little tree of love.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Life with D1

New Eyeglasses: $300
New Cell Phone: $200
Repaired Computer:$150
Repaired Garage Door: $125

Life with D1: Priceless

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hungry, Hungry Hippo

So, when I was about four or five or six, my parents bought me some pretty cool stuff for Christmas. Two of the items I still have today. A child size rocking chair, and a hand sewn, numbered, 3 1/2 foot tall Raggedy Ann doll. I treasured them throughout my childhood. Now they are in D1's room, so that she can enjoy them as much as I did as a child. But on that particular Christmas day, when I found them under the tree, I did not quite see it that way. That year, more than anything, I really, really wanted The Hungry, Hungry Hippo game. It looked so cool, so fun, action packed and loud. After all the gifts and games were unwrapped, and I did not find the game I so desperately wanted, I had a full on tantrum. Said I hated all my gifts, didn't want to play with any of them, and I couldn't believe that Santa would do this to me. From my recollection, I slowly withdrew those statements, saying I hated everything but the doll, the rocking chair, the teddy bear and so on. From my Mother's recollection, I was a spoiled brat the whole day. Who is correct? I guess we'll never really know.

Years later, when I was 17, my Mother bought me the Hungry, Hungry Hippo for Christmas. It was a big show in forgiveness, something that must have been very difficult for her to overcome. D1 now plays with it when she visits her Mimi.

Looking back on that Christmas, I realize, obviously, that my Christmas was not ruined, however, my Mom's was seriously damaged. It's one of those things that I'm destined never to live down. She can hold it over my head to get just about anything, if she wanted.

So enter D1's fourth Christmas. Wow, I had to count that twice, has she really been with us for four Christmases already? It's all going by way too fast.

We got the girls a great play kitchen, musical instruments, lots of puzzles and craft supplies(which will be put away on a high shelf seconds after they open them - you don't think I'm that nuts, do you?), Plasma cars, and so on. Between hubby and I, plus the Grandparents, the amount of gifts this year are downright decadent. But D1 has started asking for something else. It was one of just two things she asked for in her letter to Santa. It's the Dora Prance and Fly Pegasus. It's a freaking plastic unicorn that comes with a Dora doll. According to the reviews on Amazon, if you put the Dora Doll on the back of the unicorn, the unicorn falls over. It's a piece of junk. An over priced piece of junk. $45! Before Thanksgiving, I told myself that if I found it for $29.99 I would buy it for her. I searched everywhere, checking multiple places online every single day, just in case the price was lowered. I bid on one through ebay. I searched Craigslist, I sent an email to my MOM's group asking if anyone had one their child no longer played with. I really, really tried, but I have not been able to find one for less than $39.99. I just have to keep to my original thought, I can't spend that much for a ridiculous toy that I know she won't really even play with for more than five minutes. But still, I keep thinking, is this it? Is this the year of the big karmic revenge? I told my Mom about the unicorn, and she said not to buy it, that D1 was getting lots of nice toys, and she needed to learn that she won't get everything she asks for from Santa, or the world for that matter. But I can't help but be suspicious over that advice. Did my Mom hang up the phone and start wildly cackling? "Revenge, so sweet, is finally mine!"

What if this is truly the only toy D1 wanted? Will I ruin her trust in all that is pure and magic? Will I crush her such a hard blow that she becomes a distrusting cynic at the ripe old age of three? Will this start a horrible trend of distrust for men the rest of her life? How can I possibly be responsible for such a decision? So my friends, please tell me - do I buy the plastic piece of crap for D1, to save her from a life of bad relationships, always ending because she can not trust a man? Is this really how it all begins? The weight of Motherhood is far too heavy!