My family and I are in church on Christmas Eve. We are dressed in our finest, Dave in chinos and sweater, Dylan in chinos and dress shirt, me in dress pants and dress shirt, and Alice in her ratty Wiggle pajamas and Dress coat. Yes I did write ratty, one size too small stained Wiggles pajamas. The beautiful velvet dress embroidered with holly and fur trimmed red sweater were balled up on the floor of our living room. After screaming, biting, scratching, and head banging over the dress, Alice stripped herself naked and ran up stairs. Later she came down dressed in her nasty old pajamas. since we were already late for church we just threw on her dress coat, shoved sneakers on her and jumped in the car.
This blog isn't about our daughter Hugh Hefner. Yes since she has refused to wear anything but pajamas for the last 3 days we have nicked named her Hugh Hefner. This blog is about Dylan.
Dylan and how since it was Christmas Eve their was no church school and he had to sit through church. Okay so he never actually sat, he lay across the seats, he stood on the seats, he sat on me, he sat on the floor between the rows of seats. To make a long blog short I almost murdered this child in church.
Our handsome insightful pastor Chris is giving a sermon about putting Christ back in Christmas and not letting the little things bother you. He is literally using the example of road rage, as I am experiencing church rage and trying my best to keep my cool, and keep my hands from fastening around Dylan's neck. Their is Chris speaking from his heart about not letting petty things annoy us and see the good in people. As Dylan is laying across my body, stretching his arms straight out, one up in the air hitting me in the nose and then covering up my eye, the other one jutting out at the row of people sitting behind us. His foot knocks the candle of the woman sitting next to us on the floor. I quickly and forcefully gather his limbs back in and hold them to his wiggling body.
Chris goes on to tell us hat Christmas is about God's love for us, and hope, and putting our life in God's hands. I wonder, can Chris see me? I know it's kinda dark in here, but is he seeing me struggling with Dylan? Because Dylan's life and his squirming little body are still being held firmly in my hands. I do love him, but my hope is that by holding him I am preventing his flailing limbs from smacking into strangers. Hearing Chris did make me see the humor of the situation and thank God, Pastor Chris, and the makers of antidepressants, that I did keep my cool. In fact the vice grip did eventually turn into a hug. We cuddled for about 5 seconds then he rubbed his snotty nose, then wiped his hand on my pants, and then slid down dramatically and acrobatically on to the floor.
The woman sitting next to us looked down at Dylan and then looked over at me and smiled. I smiled back, then I looked at Dylan sitting on the floor with his head resting on his chair, then over at pajama clad Alice cuddled in her father's arms. So what if my children are eccentric? So what if my hair looks like a demented wolf man, my make-up is smudged off, and I have snot on my leg. So what that Dave's ipod isn't going to be delivered until Monday and I lost Dylan's best present some where in my house? Christmas isn't about that. Christmas is about spending time with my wonderfully weird little quirky family, that I love with all of my heart. I am the luckiest girl in town! I grab a hold of Alice's little chubby hand and put my other hand on Dylan's head and close my eyes and give thanks.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I am grateful that:
10. My husband and I are so close and comfortable enough in our love that we can burp and fart in front of each other.
9. My friends love me enough to say: "Yes, you do look fat in that! Now take it off and burn it immediately!"
8. My kids don't care if their clothes come from thrift stores. Or maybe it's because they don't realize that there are stores where things are new and have tags on them. Hmmmm?
7. I have met wonderfully weird & eccentric south mates who know all about my and love me anyway! Thanks for loving me enough to let me help myself in your fridge, see your house before you pick it up, and for not pretending that you have a perfect family, marriage, or life. You are my soul sisters...
6. The dog didn't notice that we forgot to buy her Christmas presents this year.
5. Lee's Chinese restaurant is cooking my grand holiday meal for me and my guests!
4. My son doesn't know that my birth-father sent him and amazing birthday present. So wonderful that I saved it for his Christmas. I have searched this small house cubic foot by cubic foot and I can't find it! I am thinking that I might have mistakenly given it to Goodwill in the bottom of a box. Lucky for the kid who got it! Shhh don't tell Dylan....
3. For my mom. She is my adopted mom, Alice Barton, my soul mate. Some how I cosmically inherited my writing talents from her. She is an very talented author and poet (check her out on Amazon.com). She is my biggest fan and my best critic. She is trying to talk me into sending some of these blogs to magazines. Let me know what you think?
2. My sweet husband who gets me. He buys me "Lydia" gifts and spends hours and hours looking for little funky eclectic stores. He also wraps each present with little notes. If I ever complain about him, you need to remind me that I am the lucky one.
1. People take the time out of their busy lives to read my blog. Since I was a little girl people have always said: "Lydia...only you would (Fill in the blank) Say that to her face. Go to that bizarre place. Wear that ridiculous thing...what the hell is that? Talk to that strange smelly homeless person. Eat that weird looking food. Listen to that insane music. Write about all of those things that polite people just aren't supposed to ever talk about. I was born looking at the world in my own special Lydia technicolor disco-roller-coaster way, and I am grateful that people enjoy the ride!
Thank you all so much! XOXOXOX
P.S. THANK GOD! I found the present! The huge over sized box the size of a case of beer. That has been in my husband's trunk for a month. The size of a CASE OF BEER! But he couldn't find it in his small trunk! So I ripped my house apart for hours and hours and it was in his trunk!
I know he wraps all of those sweet presents with love...I'll stop now...
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Two days until Christmas, usually by this time of the Holiday I am starting to get pissed off and starting to feel resentful and unappreciated. By Christmas day I am so ready for the whole damn thing to be over. Why? 2 reasons, first, I always get my period around Christmas. Yes, every year I get the joyful gift of PMS. The second reason is that I eventually realize that Christmas is all about me.
- I take the picture for the card, make the card, order the card, buy the stamps, and send the cards out.
- I think about what to buy our kids, friends, family, & teachers, I then go buy all of the presents, hide the presents, buy the: wrap, tape, bows, tissue, & bags, and I of course then wrap all of the presents and give them out.
- I keep track of what every one buys us, I buy Thank You notes, I then write all of the thank you notes from the kids, our family, and of course my own personal ones. (I refuse to write Dave's)
- I decorate the outside and the inside of the house.
- Last year I even decorated the tree myself, and made Christmas dinner.
"Oh the pain, I bought Dave and the kids special handmade artisan chocolates for their stockings. I went to 6 different stores until I found them. Then I drove half way to Boston to buy them and spent a small fortune and, Gasp, Sigh, no one even noticed! Oh poor me! Boo-hoo no one appreciates me" I wish that someone had hit me with the reality stick! Why did I do all of this stupid crap? Not for them, they don't care. Candy is candy.
I was doing all of this crap, because I felt that this was what Mother's are supposed to do. Don't they? Growing up I watched all of the sitcoms, the TV specials. I've seen a Very Brady Christmas at least, 30 times, Carol Brady makes a perfect Christmas dinner, perfect presents, perfectly decorated house, big tree, family caroling together with cocoa, and she does everything herself, with a smile plastered on her face. That's what they all did, the Brady's, the Bradfords, the cleavers, the Waltons, the Huxtables, all of my TV famillies had a perfect Christmas orchestrated by a perfect made-up smiling mother. She always did everything and they loved her. I did everything and I was pissed. What the hell?
As it turns out Christmas is in fact not all about me! I know, I was surprised too! This year every thing is different and I am happy! I still did most of those things on the list, but, here is the crazy part! This year I did all of those special things because I wanted to do them for the people I love. Last year I did them because I thought that being a successful mother meant that I had to fulfill certain stereotypical gender based cultural norms! In other words, I was keeping up with the Brady's! I was trying to make the perfect Christmas for myself based on a bunch of crap.
I am a different woman this year. For example, I am not a terribly good cook and cooking big important meals freaks me out. So for Christmas dinner this year we are ordering Chinese food. No we really are. Yes. I can do that, and I am. Carol Brady and Martha Stewart can kiss my ass.
Last year due to a last minute family member illness and schedule change, we ended up with out a place to go for Christmas. So we invited our Jewish friend's over, they were free and we love them, so we started a new Christmas tradition. I went crazy cleaning, decorating. I made a huge traditional meal. The meet was dry, the veggies were mushy, I was stressed and chastising myself for ruining this perfect special once a year meal. I am not being my mother. She makes it look so easy. I hated messing up Christmas dinner, I can't handle that kind of pressure!
This year we're ordering our Chinese food. I don't have to cook, I am not stressed, and all of our guests whethre they'll admit it or not are relived and psyched about the change. I am also not going to freak out over cleaning, or if Alice has chocolate bars and candy canes stuck in her hair. My plan is to chill out and actually enjoy the day. Everyone wins!
So today, 2 days before Christmas, in the super market, I saw everyone else looking stressed. People seemed to be in a hurry, and easily annoyed. The store was absolutely packed and and all of the aisles were clogged in shopping cart traffic jams. People were short on time and patience. Many people were wearing scowls, I was wearing a smile, and a big red fluffy Santa hat. I smiled and greeted people, I graciously moved my cart, out of the way, and I was happy to chit chat with people in the long lines.
In the parking lot, Alice even threw-up twice, right next to our car. But, I just comforted her, wiped her mouth off with snow and we drove home. Later she had diarrhea all over the bathroom, I used it as a great excuse to spend an hour and a half scrubbing the bathroom clean. Now it looks great for company!
This is the most wonderful time of the year! I have even witnessed a Christmas miracle...I am actually enjoying Christmas this year. I have to go make cookies now...Listen to me? I am loving this holiday stuff!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Today I got home after a long day out with Alice finishing up Christmas shopping and visiting friends. There was a note taped up on my door. The note said that Anabel had escaped our yard and was found running around the neighborhood, but she was captured and is now safe and warm at my neighbor's house. Ah Anabel always in the center of the storm.
Long before there was the movie Marley & Me, there was Anabel. I haven't seen the movie Marley & Me, nor have I read the book, but I don't have to, I have one upped Marley...I have lived with Anabel.
My sweet Anabel is a 7 year old Bichon Frise, (pronounced Bee-shawn Free-say). Dave and I met Anabel when we were walking through a dirty rundown Pet Smart store in West Roxbury. Dave and I had somewhat discussed the idea of perhaps one day in the undetermined future buying a dog. At the time my biological clock was starting to tick and I was craving a baby of any species. That faithful night Dave and I walked by the window of a pet store and I saw this little white coconut ball with sad eyes. She was tiny and ratty looking puppy. She was curled up quietly in a pen of rambunctious puppies fighting and barking around her.
My biological clock had unearthed a avalanche of hormones that made me instantly fall head over tail in love with this little four legged ragamuffin. She obviously needed a good home and a good bath. I scooped her up and held her in my arms. She snuggled up to me and I refused to let her go until she was mine.
To Dave's horror we went home that night with a dog. Mind you we had no dog bed, leash, food, collar, and on my end not one iota of dog knowledge of any kind.
Hey, but I did have a cat growing up. How different could a dog be? Fast forward 50 accidents, 14 nights of disrupted sleep and 7 days of dog antibiotics later. When we got dear Anabel she was light a cuddly little kitten because she was suffering from phenomena and she was tiny because the pet store was starving her so she'd stay little so they could pass her off as younger. Once I took her to the vet and got her medication it was like putting batteries in a child's toy. She came to life and she was louder and much more annoying than I could have ever imagined. Unfortunately she was not a child's toy so the batteries were never going to run out again. Anabel made up for lost time she spent the next 4 years pooping, playing, jumping, barking, running, climbing, licking, and eat everything in sight.
In the first few nights Anabel had to sleep in bed with us, but she was too small to jump up on the bed. She could jump off just fine. Usually she would jump off 5 or 6 times a night to go pee on our carpet. Then she would come back into the bedroom and cry and scratch until she woke Dave and I up to pick her up and put her back on the bed. Then this would continue for the first 6 months. Once she was in bed with us she would cuddle up right between us creating a little ravine, the bedspread would be her hammock. Hence being a dead weight and keeping both of us from getting enough of the covers. We like our covers so we tried keeping her on the floor but she barked and whined and kept us up all night. We tried kicking her out of room, but she scratched at the door and barked and cried all night. I really wanted to just lock her in the basement, but Dave the kinder gentler parent, wouldn't do it. Like with every thing Anabel won and has been sleeping with us ever since.
Not sleeping at night made me less patient when Anabel relieved herself on our rugs and hard wood floors. Dave and I tried and tried, and tried to potty train this dog. We tried crate training only to come home from work and find that she had pooped in the crate. That is not fun to wash and I was always home first. We tried paper training. She would tare up the paper and spread it all over the house and then pee on the rugs the same with puppy pads. We tried leaving her in our bath room...she trashed the whole room! We tried to block off the kitchen, she always escaped. We took classes, we bought books, finally we talked to vet. The vet said that the main problem was that Anabel was abused and kept in her crate too long in the pet store. I had a potty training disabled dog and no one offered Special Ed classes for dogs. Damn inclusion!
We could have lived with potty issues, but Anabel also had barking issues, and chewing issues, and an eating disorder. I know that you hear of dogs chewing on shoes. Have you heard of dogs eating their weight in bread? This little puppy would eat her weight in food! Or eat a pound of chocolate and live to bark the tale. Our little baby puppy would use complex problem solving skills to extract food from our counters, cupboards, briefcases and pocket books. I would often come home from work and find a loaf of bread canoed by the dog, crumbs covering the living room. Dog owners know, dogs do not eat bread from side to side, they eat on the top and hollow the bread out making sure to ruin every single piece. Anabel also ate a whole bag of pound bag Hersey's kisses, plastic bag, wrappers and all. She also ate my prenatal vitamins (and the tamper proof bottle) a disposable razor, and countless juice boxes.
Normal dogs would just eat the food where it drops, not our princess, she liked to eat her prizes in the living room on our white striped couch. That way she could look out the window. I know this because she would always leave a puddle of puppy puke containing evidence of the days catch. Like bits of colored foil wrappers, pieces of disposable razor blades and plastic bits, or a foamy red pond.
Anabel's prizes weren't always food. Anabel seemed to have a great affection for smelly things, all kinds of smelly things, especially trash, bathroom trash. I will stop there, but I am a girl over the age of 13 so you know what I mean...and yuck! I mean YUCK are you KIDDING ME, GROSS!
Anabel's other great talent is barking. She barks at great volume and with great stamina. She can bark for hours in a pitch, I named "Nails on a chalkboard". When she is very upset she almost sounds like a bird, well if you hit a small bird with a big hammer. The sound is quite startling, especially when you are quietly watching TV, many a beverage or bowl of popcorn has sent flying. I still think that Dave and I suffer from post barking stress disorder.
As you can guess in those early puppy days friend's and family were not fond of our little girl. In fact my best friends, my work friends, and even my mother told me straight out that they hated the dog. Some people even asked if it wasn't too late to simply return the dog all together. I was so horrified! How could people hate a sweet little white fluffy dog? So she jumped on them and humped their legs. So what if she sniffed their privates, knocked over their drinks, and ate the food off of their plates? Couldn't they just adapt? Because I knew for damn sure that Anabel wasn't going to.
Well that was 7 years ago we have had two real babies, one of whom I have successively crate trained. Anabel is still sleeping in between us, and she has matured and calmed down some. Yesterday she did eat a whole loaf of apple bread. She climbed on a chair left next to the counter by one of the kids and canoed the loaf, ruining the whole thing. Anabel is less nervous and barky now that she isn't left alone in an empty house. In fact we take Anabel everywhere we go, she rides shot gun in the Subaru. Anabel has quite a fan club at each of the kid's schools and all around Franklin. My friends still hate her and my mother has fondly refers to her as "That Damn Dog". Grandma Alice obviously still hates that damn dog, but my Alice, who I fondly refer to as "Alice jr." loves Anabel to pieces. Alice Jr. loves to play baby with Anabel and dress her up in clothing. She also likes to hug Anabel in vice grip head locks, and color Anabel with markers and most recently red calligraphy paint.
I am sure that Anabel has wondered if we can just return Alice to the hospital for a refund?