Category Archives: holidays

I actually have time to miss, now

It’s been two or three days since my kids had any presents to open, and I think they have realized that the cornucopia has finally emptied.

They got so. much. stuff.  Oh my goodness.

But they got some great stuff, I must admit.  Nothing too violent or huge or lame.  They got some clothes. 

Some of my presents, however…. yeah, some lameness abounded.  My dad’s presents always seem to reflect a strong influence from whomever he is dating that birthday/Christmas.  His female companionship of late, let’s call her Linny…. Linny seems to have a great deal of sentimentality coursing through her veins.  She is a lovely woman, and in many ways that make my heart smile she reminds me of my mother a lot.  It’s been nearly a decade since my mom died so that striking resemblance is very heartwarming, and not at all threatening in a way it might have been 7 or 8 years ago.

And now that the madness has ended, I actually have had time to miss my mom.  Since it has been over 9 years since she passed, the memories are fuzzier.  In fact, they are starting to be less of “how it was” memories and more of imagining how it could have been, since time has mercilessly marched forward since she died, and she hasn’t been around for her memory to evolve with the lives we have that are so much more different than they were in 1998.  Then, I was just starting grad school.  I knew my husband, but he was just a boyfriend at that point — a serious boyfriend I’d dated for three years, and we both figured we’d get married, but there was no ring and no firm plans at that point.  I certainly didn’t have kids.

And now, having the time to think about it post-madness, I’m sad.  I can’t say I miss things the way they were — because the way they were was me single, no kids, no dog, etc. and I like where I am now.  I miss what could have been.  My mom would have been a wonderful grandmother.  She would have doted on my kids, cuddled them incessantly, loved them fiercely, and bragged about them constantly.  She was a woman with a big heart and a wealth of kindness, and my kids’ lives would have been enriched to have her around. 

So I miss my mom.  I miss her laugh, and her smile.  I miss the way flicked her middle fingernails with her thumbs when she was thinking.  But mostly my heart aches for her love – the unconditional love she had for me, and the love I know she would have had for my children.

At the same time, it is certainly nice to idealize what would have been.  Maybe she would have though the extending breastfeeding relationship I have with my kids is weird.  Maybe she would pin the blame on me that my daughter is such a night owl (I’m writing this at 1:50 ish in the a.m. because she only fell asleep at 1:30 a.m.).  Maybe if she hadn’t died we would have had a big falling-out over something.  Maybe if she hadn’t died, she wouldn’t have gotten along with my in-laws and that would have been a big source of tension.  So in a way it’s nice that I can imagine that everything to this point would have been hunky-dory, but I have no way to know if it would have been or not.

But that doesn’t change that my mom was awesome, and I loved her immensely, and I miss her with every ounce of my being.  I wish she were here.

Am I the black sheep?

I send cards.  Since having kids, it has become a slightly costly affair.  I get these special spiffy cards printed up, which will include pictures of my kids and my family’s blog address and it does make me happy to do it.  I love having these two little people in my life who are so important to me that I want everyone else to see pictures of them at least once a year. 

Yes, it’s my choice that it’s so costly.  I get the extra-spiffy bona fide greeting cards printed, not the single layer postcard-esque cards.  I may have to find a more frugal solution next year, since this year I opted into stay-at-home-mom-hood, and our disposable income just got amputated by that choice.  But really, the cost part of it is but a small piece in the inequity.

There are about a half dozen glaring non-card-returners on my Christmas card list.  And I’m not quite sure what to do. 

These are all relatives of my mom, who passed away about ten years ago.  These are aunts/uncles, stepsiblings, and first cousins of my mom, who I’d spent a good amount of time with growing up and are people I think of fondly.  I don’t feel like I have a ton of stuff in common with most of them, but I like and love them a lot.  And every year since the year after she died and I sent out my own cards, they have gotten cards from me.  The first couple years I’m sure I got cards in return.  Now… nada.  I know for sure I haven’t gotten cards from them in at least four years.  Normally I could write this off to “well, maybe they don’t send cards” but I make the rounds at Christmastime and with the exception of one, I have seen that these people do, in fact, send cards.  Cute cards with heartfelt messages inside, cards with pictures of their kids. 

And they choose, despite getting cards from me, year after year, to not send me a card.  Either that or my mailman is extraordinarily incompetent.

I mentioned my mom passed away a number of years ago.  I’ve talked to my younger brother, and we both feel like lots of my mom’s family just isn’t sure how to interact with us comfortably since then… and thusly might simply choose the easy way out by not interacting with us at all.  Fair enough… not nice, but whatever.

But my dad got cards from some of the offending parties.  And my grandma – my mom’s mom – will almost certainly get cards from nearly all of them (with the exception of my uncle, who was my mom’s stepbrother from when my maternal grandfather remarried and acquired for my mother two stepbrothers.  Really, is there any person in the world that sends a Christmas card to their stepfather’s previous wife?).

So maybe that leaves me the black sheep, and damned if I can figure out why.  It makes me feel vulnerable and foolish and silly to continue to send cards to these people, when by all outward indications these people don’t care if they get them or not.  Yet… I will probably continue to send them.  Try as they might, I am still quite fond of these people, and even if my mom’s death inserted a permanent and immutable rift in our relationship, I will just hope that these folks will continue to enjoy getting a small indication that my life had turned out well, I have a couple beautiful kids, and that I hope they have a nice holiday.

This should make for a Merry Christmas

We are eating dinner today and tomorrow at the in-laws’.  Generally this is a tolerable thing, but given the stress of a holiday meal sometimes my MIL can become a touch harder to take.

To lighten everyone’s loads just a little, I’m going to make this to take over there.  I’ll let you know how it turns out… but I’m optimistic it will be YUMMY.

From-Scratch Irish Cream! (Adapted)

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-1/2 cup whiskey (I’m going to use Crown Royal because it’s what I have)
  • 2 tsp. instant espresso granules
  • 2 Tbsp. melted chocolate
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 shot (1-1/2 oz.) Amaretto

Take all, blend in blender just until mixed, chill and serve.

Lovely Weather

Christmas is coming, and there are no signs of a white Christmas for us. Bummer, because I love white Christmases. Sure there’s snow on the ground NOW — but given our forecast for the next couple days of rain and temperatures just too warm for this time of year, I don’t see it happening.

So yes, we are a Christmas celebrating bunch. But for my nuclear family, it is entirely in the secular sense and the secular sense only. My husband and I both independently came to the conclusion sometime not long after being married in a Catholic wedding mass that neither of us really believed any of the Catholic doctrine… and general belief in any sort of god at all? Yeah, not there either. He describes himself as agnostic, I prefer “secular humanist” because it sounds all official… and, well, the Affirmations of Humanism just perfectly capture my faith in mankind and hopes for the world.

That said, we still have a tree, we still have stockings, Santa is coming, the goose is getting fat, etc. etc. We don’t go to mass, but I still sing carols like “Angels We Have Heard On High” and “O Holy Night” at the top of my lungs in the car because dammit, I like them. And I wish there would be snow. Not too much, because after all we are driving to Buffalo Christmas night (as in we are departing at like 10:00 p.m. — we’ve found it is sooooo much easier to make a 6 hour drive when the 3 year-old and the 9 month-old – wait, oh dear, he’s 10 months today; how did that happen?!? – sleep through the entire car trip, which can only reasonably be expected to happen at night. The hubby and I are both night owls, so driving and staying up until 4:00 a.m. instead of our normal 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. isn’t a huge stretch. Coffee helps.

I just have to remember to bring my pump this time. The baby still nurses 2-100 times a night, and my boobs went up like four cup sizes and doused me in the mother-of-all-letdowns the last time we did the drive overnight.