The letter read:
“Der Snta I wt a kteeen. Sat is awl. Luv EllA”
Translation: “Dear Santa I want a kitten. That is all. Love Ella”
This is the letter to Santa that I find in the aftermath of Nutcracker. (The post-show party that usually contains tantrums and button pushing and boundary testing. Who are these children?) Anyway, so I find this letter in her school backpack. All she wants for Christmas is a kitten.
And because I could not give her a live kitten (Santa doesn’t bring them, I told her. She told me to go and get one at the shelter and bring it to her myself. Smarty pants), Ella got a litter of kittens. Five of them. In a basket. And a vet set.
Amelia got a newborn Cabbage Patch baby that smells just like a Cabbage Patch should…little girl baby powder and PVC. And a doctor kit for her dolls. That she largely ignores because “me be mommy, not doctor.”
My babies. One more Christmas. One more time of playing Santa, listening to Christmas music, having a cocktail and waking up too early to the excited squeals of tiny people.
Is this really our third Christmas without Stephen? Has Ella had just as many without him as with him? His ornaments are on the tree. We bless him every night when we pray. But how much do they remember? And is it a good thing?
This is my third year without anything under the tree for me. That’s not true. Ella made an ornament at school for me and I wouldn’t open it until today. And my aunt got me a book. But, really? It’s been all about the kids.
And Christmas is about the kids. It is in every house where kids live.
But part of me wants to pitch the biggest effing fit you ever did see.
I have been trapped in this house (other than an ill-advised trip to Target for pre-blizzard supplies late Wednesday evening) since Tuesday night. I have made 9 meals. Only 4 of them were even touched by the littles. They are high on Christmas magic, bubblegum and chocolate milk and can’t be bothered to consume either protein or vegetables. I have done 3 loads of laundry, picked up the living room 4 times and vacuumed twice. I have attempted two naps, both thwarted by cunning five year old.
I have checked Facebook feed no less than 18 times today. I have called just about every relative in the US Cellular network. Only taken one shower. Eww. But have taken out the trash 3 times and have made 2 loaves of bread.
What I could stand is a little human contact. Not, you understand, contact by little humans. I have enough of that thankyouverymuch. I could stand to have someone who eats what I cook and who laughs at Randy Quaid in a bathrobe, unleashing holy hell into Clark’s storm sewer and looking like he’s taking the world’s biggest pee the whole while. “Mornin’. Shitter’s full!”
I miss my husband. I miss being married. Christmas sucks. The holidays suck. Being stuck at home sucks when you’d rather be somewhere else, having a conversation with a live person and eating something that somebody else cooked. I don’t even mind doing the dishes. This is really hard. This holiday stuff.
I should have seen it coming. It crept up on me. My first relatively unmedicated Christmas. My first time we were really alone. We couldn’t leave even if we wanted (and we did, trust me). Nobody could come over because of the drift taller than me outside my garage door. We’re all Little House in the Big Woods out here. It’s a wonder that the settlers didn’t commit some kind of felony just out of boredom.
And I hate relying on other people. For anything, really. I like doing it all myself. And I can’t. I learned that two Christmases ago. I hate asking for help and I usually don’t have the extra cash to pay for the help. Except in the case of mowing and snow removal. I have a wonderful 15 year old boy across the street, hungry for a little extra cash which I am only too happy to hand over. You know, when he digs the door out so I can open it and give him the money.
So what did I want for Christmas? You didn’t ask. But I really still want a Nook…an e book reader. I’d take a Kindle at this point but I’m still looking hard at the Nook. I’d like an itouch. A flip video camera but just because I regret not having one when the girls were babies, if only to hear Stephen’s voice again. (I’ve forgotten…so I know they have too.) I’m really looking to get a real camera. Like a Nikon. And then I’d have to learn to use Photoshop. And I need another hobby like a hole in my head but that’s okay. So it could have been a gadgety Christmas.
Instead, I was responsible and put new tires on the van. It was approximately the cost of both a Nook and an itouch combined. A week before Christmas.
I hate being a grownup sometimes. I want to be Ella.
Dear Santa, I want my husband back. That is all. Love, Jenn