Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Grinch, not such a bad guy

Christmas is over.

And I'm officially sick of it. I have had a nice Christmas this year, as far as my stress level goes. Things are good with my family and I have much to be grateful for, and I am grateful. Very grateful.

However, I have noticed a lack of gratitude with my daughters this year. Part of it is that they are teenagers and part of it is that I think they have been overindulged this past year. This is the first year that they've done nothing, absolutely nothing, for anyone else. Well, there was that one night this week that they both babysat for me while I went to see a movie with a friend. I made it through the whole movie without one phone call or text. How nice. Found out today that the reason for that was because they were busily unwrapping and re-wrapping each and every present under the tree.
That explains the stench of disappointment that hung in the air when they finished opening their gifts this morning. Stinky.

Tomorrow, I think I'll drag the tree, ornaments and lights and all, down to the curb. I want it out of my house! I realize you can't left the selfishness of others spoil your Christmas, but it's not just that. I am sick of the commercialism and the pressure that Christmas brings. Isn't that the opposite of what it's supposed to be about? Or do we even truly remember what it's supposed to be about? I'm not sure I do, honestly. I get caught up in it just like everyone else does. But why in the hell should we focus on love and relationships and giving this one time of the year? Shouldn't it be this way all year long? Wouldn't it mean more if we did? No lights, no reason, just because? And let's face it, I know we who are Christians say it's about the birth of Christ but it isn't really, not anymore, if it ever was.

It's about a whole lot of expectations to make everything perfect which is completely unrealistic. And when it's not perfect, there's a tremendous letdown. Because life isn't perfect. It's messy, unpredictable and the beauty comes in everyday, mundane life. It comes in the things that surprise you, the moments that you don't plan for. It comes without boxes, ribbons or bows, thank you very much, Mr. Grinch.

Every year, I realize, I have this competition with myself to make this "the best Christmas ever!" and I always lose. Because my emphasis is on the wrong thing. The almighty dollar. Screw that. This year, my son is back with us, laughing, being the life of every room, because that's who he is. He makes us laugh. He's whole again.

And my daughters will eventually get over the disease known as teenagerism. They're good at heart, I just need to get them back to the basics.

And then there is Mr. Wapkaplet...sweetest boy on the planet. Loves unconditionally and easily, smiles constantly and hugs and kisses freely. He and Jess were the Christmas spirit this year, they kept me grounded amidst the commercial carnage.

Next year, I think I might skip Christmas. Or at least, do my best to experience an alternative Christmas. One that only gives in ways that have absolutely nothing to do with money. Especially for the sake of my girls, who seem to have lost their way a little bit this past year.

Please, dear reader, remind me of that next year when I start stressing about finances and Christmas lists. Let me rewrite that, christmas lists. I'm not even going to capitalize it anymore. Seriously.

So here's to the next holiday in line, New Year's! A drinking man, or woman's, holiday! A philosopher's holiday, a time for reflection and having fun.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Boring Blog Award Winner 2008

No wonder I can't get any traffic on my blog...I'm boring and talk a lot about the weather. The Weatherwoman. Today is a sticky 64 degrees outside with the possibility of thunderstorms. Humidity, 100%. That's right, we're in for another good ole' muggy, Louisiana Christmas!

Laissez les bon temps roulet!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Those Summer Days

It's hard to imagine that there was a day this warm, only 3 1/2 months ago. This winter, especially for us warm-blooded Louisianians, has been especially harsh. Last night, the low was 23 degrees. Unbelievable.

Usually, by December 22, we've had a few cold nights in the 40's and a few cold snaps that lasted a couple of days and then, back up to the 60's and even 70's. But this year, the norm has been cold, cold, cold and only a few warm spells.

The good news is, it's nice for the Christmas season. The bad news is, our cars are dying. Just this month, I had to replace my radiator, one of my employees blew up the engine in his truck, and my husband's work truck is overheating. I know, I know. I can't blame it on the frigid temps. But maybe, just maybe, our cars are used to warm weather and the cold weather is just too much for them. Maybe we aren't feeding them enough anti-freeze.

And Christmas is three days away. Funny, every year, I make a promise to myself to focus on family and not the negative. I mean, really, life doesn't stop with all of it's conflicts and problems just because it's Christmas, right? And every year, it's as if I'm tested on my promise. I just got my car out of the shop last week and poof!...there went my Christmas bonus. And now Robert's car is overheating.

But so what? I think I'm getting the hang of this. Those things, and the mounting pile of bills, are just that...things, distractions. They do not represent my life.

I hope everyone that I know and love enjoys this joyous season. And, hey, nothing wrong with looking forward to warmer, summer days when we can get together again and laze around in a pool somewhere...or a lake...maybe a puddle.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Your Majesty, Himself

he's cute.


a new laptop and I can!

Monday, December 08, 2008

This Boy's Life

If you read the previous post, you know that my best friend is at the beginning of a hard road with her teenage son. Things progressed from bad to worse over the weekend. The good news is that she is going to be fine. Although emotionally bruised and battered two days ago, I have watched her each day slowly gain the strength and wisdom that she needs to face this. She's like that.

As for her son, everyone is hoping that three nights locked up in the juvenille detention center might be the thing that causes him to wake up. Only time will tell.

On a totally opposite note, I am coming out on the other side of a five year slide with my oldest child, my only son. It makes me want to cry.

We spent the whole day together yesterday. We are at the beginning of a brand new relationship. One where I get to be the parent to my grown-up child. Strange but so, so cool. He is different. Thoughtful, positive, considerate and he listens. My son, the constant talker, LISTENS.

He surprised me yesterday with two tickets to "Songs of the Season", a local, holiday, musical extravaganza that plays every year at the downtown historical theatre, The Strand. For the entire first hour, I fought back tears of joy. Because one year ago, today, if anyone had told me where Jesse would be today, I wouldn't have believed them. I would not have believed that we would be sitting together, holding hands, at a Christmas musical that celebrates the birth of Christ. I would not have believed that as we walked up three flights of red-carpeted stairs in this beautiful place, that he would be on my left hand side, his strong hand gently on my back, for support and guidance. My son...supporting me. Or that at the end of the night, as I drove him home, he would say,

"Mom, I had so much fun with you tonight. Thank you for being my date. Let's make this a Christmas tradition, me and you, every year."
I am grateful beyond words.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Worst Kind of Heartrbreak

My best friend is going through a lot. Her fifteen-year-old son, who, I might add, is extremely intelligent, is throwing his life away. Who knows how far this will go before he turns himself around. Having raised one teenage son, and in the process of raising two teenage daughters, I can honestly say that I don't understand them. I don't understand their anger.

When I think back to my teenage years, I still find no clues. I didn't understand myself then either. It can be such a horrible time in one's life, for both the parents and the kids.

I wish I could help her. But what? I have no answers, no wise advice, no great epiphanies to offer.

For some reason, I thought blogging about this might be a good idea, but I find I've got nothing but confusion and hopelessness. It's hard enough to give your trust away to adults. Harder still to give your trust and love to your child, who could very possibly, be smiling the biggest, widest smile on earth while lying to your face.

It is the worst kind of heartbreak, the worst kind of helplessness. Because they are a part of you, literally. Connected.

Here's to the all the parents and kids with broken hearts, lost in confusion and fear. Maybe the whole horrible process is necessary for disconnection to begin. But to the teenagers, a simple cut will do. No need to leave severed, bleeding limbs in your wake.

We'll let you go, we promise. We'll let you go in a slow, gradual process, with love and pain, as we watch you test your wings to fly.