I didn’t send out Christmas cards this year because 2016 got me like:
I can barely listen to the Christmas station without wanting to give the radio a double bird. Each time I sat down to put our shiny, happy picture on a card with the headline, “Best year ever!” I wanted to vomit. “Maybe I’ll feel less repulsed at… well everything… tomorrow,” I thought to myself every day as I closed my laptop.
To the shock of no one, the deadline to do a picture card came and went and so I decided to write a letter. I carefully crafted two pages about all the wonderful things our family has been up to, complete with the girls’ school pictures and a fun little candy cane frame. My finger hovered over the print button but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. It felt so… ingenuine. Reading back through what I’d written I realized it wasn’t lies, per se, but it wasn’t the whole truth, or representative of our real life. I feared people would see right through the load of crap I was about to send them.
So then I had an idea. I decided this year I’m going to do a REAL letter. You really want to know what’s been going on with our family? Hell yeah you do. Because other people’s shitty ass attempts at figuring out how to be a parent make you feel better as a human being in general. And that’s the gift that keeps on givin’ all year long. And then I figured, why limit such a thoughtful gift to only my friends and family? Why not share it with the entire world?
So buckle up buttercup.
Dear Friends and Family,
2016 has been quite the year! The girls are 5, 6 and 7 now and it seems like we’re getting busier by the minute!
Hadley started dance class – look how much she loves it!
She took “Nutcracker” to a whole new level.
Lila started Kindergarten and has been learning a TON. A couple of months ago I was driving the neighborhood carpool when out of nowhere she announced, “Hey everyone! Wanna know what the most most most most most most most most most bad word in the world is? FUCK!” The needle screeched off the record and I was surrounded by a car full of the most gaping mouth, bug eyed children you’ve ever seen.
“LILA!” I exploded. Though I quickly shifted from shock to self-preservation. “Please don’t tell your parents,” I pleaded to the neighbor kids as we pulled into the school parking lot. “They’ll kick me out of carpool.”
Then in November Ellie knocked an entire box of panty liners into the toilet and decided the best solution would be to flush the problem away. The worst part wasn’t the hundreds of dollars it cost to fix – the worst part came when I had to say the words ‘panty liner’ to the plumber. And then we proceeded to have the world’s most awkward conversation about how they’re small but “incredibly absorbent” while I died a slow and silent death on the bathroom floor.
Nick had his identity stolen again but this time, thanks to the THREE credit locks we now have since it was stolen last year, we nipped it in the bud. The interesting part about this story is that after about a weeks’ worth of detective work I was able to find out where the perps live so if anyone wants to take a road trip to Margate, FL, and also has a conceal and carry license, oh and owns an assault rifle, hit me up.
As for myself, I joined Weight Watchers for the third time and switched anxiety meds, which was a little rough in the “ramp up” period.
Wanna hear a fun Christmas story? Of course you do.
It was early December, and I woke up that morning with two strikes against me. I was at the peak of PMS and also I had forgotten to take my new meds for three whole days. Sort of like that Perfect Storm movie with George Clooney but instead of everyone dying via hurricane they die because they don’t replace the toilet paper roll.
Lila woke up in a “mood” which was exacerbated because literally overnight, none of her pants fit. She’s been going through a growth spurt, fueled by candy canes and caramel apples. I kneeled down next to her and held up her pants one by one. “How about these? They might fit!” I said, my forced smile baring a few too much teeth. She just threw herself on the floor and screamed. While annoying, I could relate to the feeling.
Ellie has what we call a “sparkly brain”. Her sparkly brain is amazing at doing lots of things, like writing about imaginary worlds, drawing and pretending to be a dog. Her sparkly brain is not good at things like putting on socks.
I had wasted almost 20 minutes with Lila and the pants situation and now I was afraid we were going to be late for school. As previously mentioned I do the morning carpool and I’m sure my children had a whole arsenal things to teach the neighbor kids, like how to shoot heroin.
“Put on your socks,” I yelled to Ellie for the fifth time, in between the screams of my 6-year-old. Lila’s pantsless tantrum was gathering steam and she was now at my feet as I tried to make breakfast. I looked over to find Ellie had dragged out every Lego and was building a panda sanctuary. “For the love of god… SHOES AND SOCKS,” I called, my voice cracking.
“MOOOOM!” Hadley, whose hair I had just done, came into the kitchen holding a brush. “My hair is too FLUFFY! I want it smooth like Eleanor’s!” Eleanor is her friend at school with smooth straight hair. Hadley’s hair is curly and fluffy and enormous. She began pulling out her rubber band and joined her pantsless sister flailing around on the ground at my feet. The wheels were coming off the bus.
“Shoes and socks!” I stuck my head into the other room where Ellie had rustled up a commercial grade ice block and chainsaw and had begun sculpting a bust of Colonel Sanders. The clock gobbled another ten minutes and I noticed we were out of milk.
“YOU’RE GETTING WATER IN MY FACE!” My solution to Hadley’s hair fluff was to wet the brush and it wasn’t going well. It was almost time to leave and we hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet.
“SHOES AND SOCKS!” I heard mooing coming from the other room.
“I actually don’t like this shirt,” Ellie said, walking back upstairs. I looked over and Lila’s anger over her pants had deflected onto Hadley and she was trying to make her smell her butt.
Ellie walked down in a tank top and shorts. It was 28 degrees outside. “There. That’s better,” she said, putting on her shoes and socks.
I felt the familiar heat of my blood pressure rising and heard wooshing in my ears. I frantically searched for tools in my emotional tool box because I knew I was about to freak the fuck out. Suddenly I remembered our Elf on the Shelf.
“Hey guys!” I ran over next to our elf. “Scout is watching! He’s going to tell Santa unless we get it together and get ready for school!”
It was like talking to a wall. “GIRLS! LISTEN TO ME! THE ELF, UMM, GIRLS! I’M SERIOUS!”
The screaming had escalated into full blown fits and now they were fighting. One was pantsless trying to force people’s noses into her butthole, one had a half wet afro and one was dressed for a foot race on the beach. I had lost control, and that’s when they started coming at me. “MOOOOMMMMM!” They howled like flesh eating zombies from night of the living dead. Everyone yelling at once, crying, the clock ticking in my ear…
What happens next is what athletes describe as an adrenaline rush so great that they can’t hear the crowd as they score a touchdown. My sister-in-law calls it the “female breaking point”. Whatever it was, I had arrived. I broke.
I reached my hand into the doll house, snatched the elf and held it over my head. Suddenly everything went silent.
“His magic!” They breathed in unison.
This is where I should have stopped. This is where I should have been the adult and taken control of the situation in a mature, controlled and calm manner and set an example of self-control to my kids. But by now you know that didn’t happen.
“That’s right!” I snarled, like a mother beast. “I TOOK HIS MAGIC! You girls are acting horribly! HORRIBLY! AND THIS ELF DOESN’T DESERVE TO BE FORCED TO LISTEN TO IT!”
They stood frozen, as if I was holding a hostage at gunpoint.
“But… his magic…”
“Oh yeah. It’s gone. GOOOOONE! I took it. I took it ALLLLL,” I hissed, stroking his pointy little Santa hat. “Scout… IS DEAD!” And with that, in what I swear to god was supposed to be a gentle toss and a small bounce off the carpet, I tossed him in the middle of the room. And in the most dramatic thing that I have ever done in my life… he broke in half. IN. FUCKING. HALF. Our elf sits on some sort of music box thing that popped clean off. His bottom part flew one way and his head/torso rolled and landed at the feet of my children. AT THE FEET OF MY CHILDREN.
For a full two seconds we all just stared at each other, open mouthed, each of us in our own cloud of disbelief as to what just transpired. The silence was broken by a chorus of inhuman, primal, gutteral noises, like something you’d hear if you died and went to hell. Their reaction was the same – worse even – than if I would have stood before them and sawed myself in half. I felt bad, and also knew that not only had I killed the elf, but also any chance of getting to school on time.
A few hours later, I stuffed my adult sized butt in a kid sized lunch chair, and squeezed my adult sized legs under a kid sized table for a surprise lunch date at their school. I had spent the better part of the day at home crafting a hospital bed where our elf lay, surrounded by his friends holding vigil, including salt shaker Santa.
That night we had a long talk about patience, self control and discussed the importance of owning your mistakes and the power of an apology. We promised kindness and love in the future.
While certainly not my finest parenting moment, it did have one upside. We’ve been early for school every day since then.
Happy holidays, my friends! Whatever you celebrate, may it be filled with regulated hormones and wine.