Oh my dog, I am such a sap.
I just ordered the DVD.
Oh my dog, I am such a sap.
I just ordered the DVD.
You know what would make my holidays happier? If people would stop wishing me a Merry Christmas wherever I go. I mean, for seriously.
Yesterday I was shopping with my mother who, as it turns out, is not Jewish. Hey, you just learned something about me. So anyway, we’re at this clothing store where we know the owner, who is a dumbass and a flake, and “sharon” says to me, “Oh, Madeline, I bet your kids are getting so excited for Santa Claus! Have they been making their Christmas Lists?!”
This is one of my favorite conversations to have because I like watching people backtrack and squirm.
“Well, no, they’re not, because we don’t celebrate Christmas at our house.”
“Oh . . . oh, right. Well, they must be excited for Chanukah, right?”
My mother, who can’t stand squirmage, jumped to Sharon’s rescue. “Miles and Jack actually say that: ‘We don’t have Christmas at our house; we have it at Grammy’s house.”
“Oh! So I’ll bet they’re giving their Christmas lists to Grandma!”
Fuck me, man.
“Actually, since Chanukah is a relatively minor holiday in Judaism, we keep it pretty low-key. They don’t make lists of things they want.”
The lady looked like she was trying to comprehend this information, while at the same time thinking how deprived my poor children must be that they don’t get to experience sticky-sweet excessive consumerism. I shot my mom a look.
“It’s really very refreshing,” she said, “I’ve never gotten a list from them.”
Then I told my mom, since I didn’t feel like talking to the lady any more, but I wanted to make sure she heard me, about what Miles had said to me on Monday night.
“I remember when we had Chanukah at our old apartment: we played dreidel on the floor and got chocolate gelt and we each lit our own menorah and I got a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle on a Motorcycle! That was awesome. I still have that turtle.”
We left that store and popped into the grocery store across the street. On the way out the bell ringer called out, “Merry Christmas!” and I just held my head up and kept walking. Because I know that, in my town at least, the Salvation Army INSTRUCTS their ringers to say that. But I also know that, where Disapproving Maya works, the management asked the bell ringers to say “Happy Holidays” instead.
See? Nice, easy, inclusive. And I know that the Salvation Army is a Christian charity, duh. But charity, acceptance and coexistence are all Christian tenets, right?
I guarantee you that Jews would throw lots more money into those red buckets if we didn’t feel marginalized by the assumption that we believe that Christ was the only son of God/Eternally begotten of the Father/God from God/Light from Light/True God from True God/Begotten not made/ of one being with the father/through him all things were made/for us and for our salvation he was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary and was made man/For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried.
How about some Latin, yeah? Just to keep things interesting? You bet.
Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est, et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas, et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas. Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.
Whoa. Like, don’t assume we believe that. Just because some of us know it by heart, just like we know “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night” because our orchestra and choir programs apparently weren’t subject to the whole “separation of church and state” thing. And please don’t assume that, just because your response is, “but it’s a seasonal greeting/I’m not talking about religion,” it makes any difference to Jews or Muslims or Pagans or Atheists or Wiccans or any other minority faith. We really don’t care.
As my friend Amy Guth put it (far more eloquently and less rantingly) on her blog, it’s not my birthday, it’s yours, and it feels oogy when you keep wishing me a happy one.
I came home and called the grocery store manager.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon walking to the boys’ school, making soup with Jack’s class, having a conference with Miles’ Language Arts teacher, who wants to move him into his own advanced reading group (I am wary of this, having been my own reading group in sixth grade and feeling alienated and wishing I hadn’t done so well on those stupid tests.), and walking home with Jack, who didn’t feel like staying for afterschool club.
On the way home, the mechanic called to say my car was ready to be picked up. But, you know, I didn’t have a car to get myself there. I had a brilliant idea: Jack and I could ride the bus.
We don’t live in a huge city, and public transportation is still the subject of television promotions to Save Money and Ride! The kids have been fascinated with the bus for a couple years now, but we’ve never ridden. I decided that this was the time.
Never has a child had so much fun. He also figured out how to read the map, deciphering the little arrows and different colored routes. He also is young enough to ride for free.
And of course it took longer to reach our destination, and it doesn’t go exactly where I need to go, and I live in a neighborhood which has most of the services I need within walking distance anyway, but after shelling out $650.00 on car repairs, I’m hanging onto this bus schedule.
And my kid can tell me which line to take.
Right, so remember how I hate the drama? Here is my letter to my brother telling him I’m not going to put up with his any more. Because, hello, I’m 35 and I get to say when you do something that is hurtful and offensive. Even if we have the same parents.
I’ve been thinking about our conversation Monday morning and wanted to write and tell you what it’s made me realize. Firstly, I got the distinct impression that you hadn’t talked with your wife before offering to keep the boys on Sunday. I got the distinct impression that she felt put upon, and unable to say anything about it to me. Secondly, I phoned twice on Sunday to check in, and asked that you call me if there were any problems. Not once was any misbehavior mentioned, nor did you care to go “all the way upstairs” to give me the chance to tell the kids goodnight and ask how their day was.
I appreciated your offer to keep the kids all day and night, but I am writing this to tell you that because of these and other things, my children and I will not be going to Park City next month.
I don’t know what you intended to accomplish by locking a child out of the bathroom at night; I do know that when Jack tried to go in the middle of the night and found the door locked, he was scared and confused and upset. Of course he wet himself. Your assertion that he should have gone downstairs was absurd and unreasonable, punishing him (teaching him a lesson?) for something which happened much earlier.
There should absolutely have been consequences for plugging up the sink in the bathroom–for all children involved–consequences which were immediate and relevant. Locking a half-asleep child out of a bathroom when he has to pee is not appropriate, and in my opinion, borders on being cruel. He doesn’t, as you asserted, have the ability to reason–in a semi-sleeping state, in a totally dark, unfamiliar house–that he might try the downstairs bath. These are the kinds of things that kids remember into adulthood, and I hope this particular one doesn’t carry over. Because in his mind it wasn’t a logical consequence, it was scary and mean.
He was upset, embarrassed and humiliated, and I wanted nothing more than to get us and our things out of your and your wife’s way. And yes, I was angry that you’d locked the door. I wanted to clean the mattress, but having no idea where you keep your cleansers, and wanting to avoid waking anyone, I stripped the bed and decided to call once we were on the road and it was a bit later. When your wife told me you’d locked the door I was exceedingly mad. Rather than stay and scrub the mattress I decided it was best for us to just go, so clear was it that she’d had enough.
I realize that we have different parenting styles, but I don’t criticize your choices, and I don’t appreciate you criticizing mine. It comes down, in my mind, to this: You have the right to make whatever rules you want for your house, but you then have the responsibility to supervise a group of kids (it’s different than having just one) and to tell me the truth when i ask if my children are behaving. Following that, phoning the next day to tell me that my children not only “trashed” your house by getting out toys and games that they then had to be asked to put away, but that they have “serious discipline issues and that we need to talk about how things are going to ‘go down’ in Park City” is not cool.
Your comment about how my children might “trash” the condo in Utah sealed my decision to stay home. You are not responsible for my boys. They are not your children. And if they damaged anything, I would have paid the repair or replacement cost. But your attitude of being the one “in charge” is something I’m not willing to abide. Yes, you made the arrangements. Yes, your name is on the lease. But your controlling attitude since last December has sucked the joy out of this vacation. For me, at least. People in this family have been walking on eggshells for fear of upsetting or offending you for a long time. I’m not doing that anymore.
I am sorry if your daughter will be the only kid on this vacation, but I have given this a lot of thought and I am doing what I believe is in the best interests of my children and myself. I hope that this is not a permanent solution, but it is the only one I can live with for the time being.
In sending this, my entire family is up in arms about vacation. Turns out they were all going because I was going and bringing the boys. Apparently nobody wants to be stuck in a condo for five days with Captain Control Freak.
Oh, it’s so awesome to be responsible for everyone else’s happiness. Please. If people could just be nice, these things wouldn’t happen.
so, pretty much a waste of a week. last monday I had the whole oral surgery thing, then just as I was coming out of it on thursday, the stomach virus hit, resulting in day-long pukage. then this monday a nasty fight with one of my brothers (more on that later), followed promptly by a raging UTI.
stress much? sheesh.
so I looked and discovered that mars is going into retrograde for a few months. brilliant.
slow down and get used to the crazy, folks.
coming up: check out my latest decision to be a grownup and tell my brother exactly what I think of him.