Here are a few lessons I’ve learned over this Pandemic Thanksgiving + start of Covid Christmastime: On the Wednesday before your it’s-just-us-this-year Thanksgiving, it’s really nice to cook the big meal with your kids while also not stressing about cleaning the house for company. …
How are you doing, you guys? Are you hanging in there? I’m sitting in the waiting room of my daughters’ gymnastics class right now, trying to get the last words of Book #2’s first draft on paper (one week behind schedule. TURBO WRITING: ENGAGE), and my head is …
We’re doing such a good job, I think. We don’t buy lots of toys for our kids. They’re content with what they have, I say. We regularly weed out toys they don’t use or have outgrown and give them away. We are so anti-establishment, I think. Take that, consumerism, I think some more. We are above you.
And then I realize how a) annoying my brain is, and b) I’m full of shit.My mother saw the kids the other night–David was out of town, and I’m wrecked with a cold, so she and my aunt called to say they were driving over to help out for a bit (having super nice retired folk who live within an hour radius of your house and are either related to/love you is a lucky, lucky thing). She was sitting with them, and she leaned over to say, “Now, girls. I know it’s early, but I’d really like it if you could give me some ideas of what you’d like for Christmas soon. Like, within the next couple of weeks.” I know my mom wants to de-stressify the holidays as much as she can by shopping early, so I wasn’t surprised by the request. My kids, though, were. We were headed to our local Halloween parade that night. In their minds, Christmas is miles and miles from now. I felt smug, a little bit, if you want to know the truth. I sat back, thinking, Oh, but my kids don’t even think about toys like that!
Ha. How long have I been a parent? I should’ve known better.
Saoirse looked at my mom, and her eyebrows were drawn together in confusion. “But Grammy,” she said. “How are we supposed to know what we want? We haven’t even seen the commercials yet!”She said that: the commercials. She hasn’t seen the toy commercials yet to know what she’s supposed to want. My mom laughed, and I picked my jaw up off the floor and told her that we’d work on a small list, knowledge of trendy toys or no. I hereby hang up my hippie flag, you guys. If you need me, I’ll have skulked off to some dark corner to gather up the dust of my idealistic dreams and mope around for a bit.Though it looks like that dark corner is going to be in our local Toys R Us. Don’t judge me. After all, Christmas is just around the corner.
If there’s one thing to be said for having children–and I know, there are more than just one, even on the bad days–it’s that small children with your DNA are an instant captive audience for any sort of impromptu one-(wo)man concerts you want to hold. Why, you ask? BECAUSE THEY LIVE WITH YOU. And they’re too young to drive away. They are stuck with you, while you’re cooking dinner and dancing around the living room and driving them to and from school each day.
So, when a good song comes on the radio in the car? When that CD you forgot you had in the stereo clicks on? When a song gets stuck in our head and the only way to get it out is to get it OUT? Sing it, sister. Because who cares if the girls beg you to stop please it’s hurting their ears, they’re the reason you’re driving to gymnastics class at 6 p.m. on a freezing cold winter’s evening, anyway. It is your DUE.
I regularly employ this right myself, by the way, which is getting more and more difficult for the girls to handle as they get older. See, I was a bashful alto in the school choir growing up. Man, I loved to sing, but in front of other people? I was terrified. I was the only person in that choir to not make the high school musical the one time I auditioned because I was so frightened of being heard I whispered my audition.
But around the house, at home? Girl, I will belt it, no matter if there are little hands covering ears or not. Because, remember: they can’t go anywhere. It’s like The Voice! Just, with no red chairs. Or blind auditions. Or Adam Levine, for that matter. Hmm. So basically it’s just me and the poor kids.
Adam doesn’t know what he’s missing.
Normally it’s The Smiths running through my head, because I am a child of the 80s and cut my teeth on moody English bands (because…MORRISSEY).
Sometimes it’s Toto, but only the harmony:
Show tunes make it into rotation, namely Les Miserables, namely Eponine’s “On My Own.” The girls can blame that one on a school field trip to Broadway I took in the tenth grade. Saoirse can rap almost as well as the members of A Tribe Called Quest, I should (not?) admit (“no batteries included, and no strings attached”), whether she likes it or not.
And now that it’s Christmas time? Well, let’s see. Band Aid is a big hit (for me. Not them). And the other night, as we were finishing up dinner, “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” came on. Normally the girls will be up for any type of impromptu dance party, but mama-led karaoke? Not so much, as was evidenced by the end of my particularly rousing rendition of the song while the two girls stared at me in silence. I stood there, deflated, confused by the horrified expressions on my eldest offspring’s faces…until I heard a sound. A soft sound, that grew a little quicker until I realized that my youngest, my baby, was slow-clapping for me from his spot in the high chair. So maybe one out of three ain’t bad.
It’d be nice to have an opening act one day.
But regardless of your children’s reactions, friends, continue to sing. Belt it, sing from the diaphragm–to the top of the porch, to the top of the wall, as it were. There is your DNA twirled about your children’s impressionable young minds. The music is in them, whether they want to admit it or not.
And until they do admit it? Why, you’ve heard this a capella medley of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” that incorporates “Africa,” right?
Sing it, sister.
I had plans for today, you guys, PLANS. A half a foot of snow was expected this morning, they told us. Refreezing of the wet roads from yesterday. Awful driving conditions, we were warned. So what did this mama think? NO SCHOOL, she thought. Yay! …