Julia has been a real Mini-Mom, lately.
This morning, after getting out of the bath, I dried off, put a towel on the toilet lid and sat down. (Morning sickness, ugh.) Then, Julia got out of the tub, dried herself off, put a towel on the lid of her potty and sat down. I started to comb my hair. She started to comb her hair. And on it went throughout the morning.
It was sweet. My little girl wants to be like her Mommy. What a compliment.
Sometimes when someone holds a mirror up to you, you may not be happy with what you see.
On the way home from Kindermusik, Julia and I were talking. I must have said something shocking because she got a surprised look on her face and shouted, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!!?”
I know. I know! It’s shocking. I know you’re wondering where she heard something like that.
Oh okay, you know where. She heard it from me. I distinctly remember saying it yesterday on the phone, one or five times. In varying tones and inflections.
And if it’s not bad enough that she heard me saying that phrase, my response to her repeating it was no better. I did the one thing you’re not supposed to do when your child says something naughty: I laughed. She was pleased. She said it again. I was still laughing. The third time, I finally pulled the van over, collected myself and talked with her about it.
What did I say? Well, I figured I had two options. I could lie or I could be honest. I decided to lay my cards on the table. I told her that I know she heard me say that word yesterday. I told her that using bad words is bad manners and that Mommy wasn’t using her manners yesterday when she probably should have. I told her that many people – like Grandma and her teachers – find that word offensive, which means they feel bad when they hear someone say it. And so, we need to be very careful about using words like that because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. I compared using bad words to burping or leaving a stinker – it might be amusing when we’re at home and one slips out, but with other people or in public, it’s not okay.
What am I going to say? “That’s a bad word and we should never use it!” Well, I don’t believe that. If I did, she wouldn’t have caught me saying it. I’d feel like a fraud taking a stance like that. I mean, how could I ever justify being a George Carlin fan or having Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta in my iPod?
At the same time, I don’t want my three-year old marching around dropping f-bombs.
So, I tried to be as honest with her as I could. I use bad words at times. She knows. She lives with me! But she also knows when I don’t use them.
Julia is wise enough to understand that some behavior is okay here, but not there, or in the presence of this person, but not that person. She understands that certain things, like drinking pop or watching certain shows on television, are okay for grown-ups and not for kids. I think she can handle the idea that there is a place for bad words and that place is not her mouth.
Then, I told her on top of all that, if she says that word, it will get Mommy in big trouble. Then she promised she wouldn’t say it, because she didn’t want to get me in trouble. And I bought her an ice cream cone.
I’m pretty sure this takes me out of the running for Mom of the Year.
Have you ever had some little thing on your mind, slowly eating away at your heart until you think you might not be able to love anymore if you don’t let it go? I have one of those things. It’s a little thing, really. An itty bitty teensy tiny thing that is making me crazy.
John Tesh says a positive way to let go of bad feelings is to write your ugly thoughts in a letter and then rip it up. But why would I do that when I could blog about it?
So, I’m going to get this thing off my chest right here and now. But before I can do that, I’ve got to give you a little background information. The background information will be in italics. Because I’m fancy.
It was my first Christmas Eve with Dave’s family. I was three months pregnant and incredibly nervous. I really didn’t know these people. I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The one thing I did know is that they would be exchanging gifts, so I made a huge effort to bring something special for every member. Since I didn’t know his family very well, it was difficult to find just the right thing. Plus, money was tight. So, I decided to make homemade gift baskets. I filled them with five kinds of cookies I’d made from scratch and my very special straight-from-the-deepest-part-of-my-heart buckeyes. And I included a personalized ornamet and lottery tickets (as Dave informed me that his people like that sort of thing). I shrunk-wrapped the baskets, for a crisp and professional look, and decorated them with ribbons.
It took two straight days of work, but it was worth it. The baskets were beautiful. They were the boldest statement of warmth and caring I’ve ever seen. I looked forward to the moment I would give them out.
I shouldn’t have.
The general reception of the gift baskets was spiritless, at best. Although, there were two memorable responses.
The first, and the one I most like to remember, was from my sister-in-law Pam. She gushed over her basket. She opened it. She sampled the treats and raved about my buckeyes. She said, “Thank you.”
The second was from my father-in-law. It was simple, but effective. He pushed his away from him and said, “I don’t eat this shit.”
One of my nephews agreed to take it off his hands.
I managed to say, “There’s an ornament that says ‘Grandpa’ in there. You may want to grab that.”
And then I spent the next few hours fighting the urge to both cry and vomit. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. It was, without a doubt, the worst Christmas Eve of my entire life.
A few weeks ago, I would have told you that I was over that ghost of Christmas past. That I’d forgiven it all away. But, I hadn’t forgotten. I had learned that a gift from my heart was wasted on people who don’t seem to understand that I have one. And so, I now choose to share those special homemade items with the people who touch my heart. You know, good friends, beloved family and the people who pay me to make them.
But then two weeks ago happened.
I’d packed up a boxful of buckeye orders for Dave to deliver at work. I’d had two extra orders, so I included them since Dave is usually able to unload the extras.
When Dave arrived home late the next day, I asked how the deliveries went and if he’d gotten rid of the extras. He told me, “A guy at work grabbed a box and I gave the other one to my father.”
It was at that moment I knew that ghost of Christmas past could still haunt me.
“You gave it to your father?”
“The guy who ‘doesn’t eat that shit?’ You gave my buckeyes to him.”
Dave said he had forgotten about that. I didn’t. I realize now, I probably never will. I still feel hurt and angry. I still feel all those things I felt on that Christmas Eve.
And now, I’m still a little miffed that Dave gave them away like that.
Okay, I’m more than miffed. I’m deeply offended. I mean, David! How could you?!?!
I’m trying to be understanding. After all, I can’t completely remember, but it’s possible I served up a few buckeyes when I got all caught up in the Christmas spirit last year. Still, I’m upset about it.
I ask you, dear readers, am I a lunatic for being so bothered by this? Would you agree that I deserve to have this made up to me – say, in foot massages?
Julia likes to draw in my ‘To Do List’ notebook. This is a drawing she did of me. With a beard. She gave me a beard. She was certain to point it out. The beard. Mommy with a beard. Hilarious.
And while we’re talking about excess hair, my eyebrows are fairly prominent in that sketch, too.
On the next page, I quickly jotted:
I don’t know. Maybe I’ll skip the appointment and save the money for Christmas. Perhaps I could even make a little cash by setting up a tent in the side yard where people can pay to gaze upon my freaky excess facial hair. That way, when Julia makes fun of it again, I can say, “Hey! That hair paid for your Christmas!” and later, “…your college education.” It would be better than my current comeback, which is crying.
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