Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I have no idea where the camera is, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have even one photo of Charles during the Christmas present-a-thon.  It does, however, have about a thousand photos of him playing on the beach.  He now tells anyone who will listen, including me, “we live at the beach.”  No, honey, we do not.  “Let’s go home to the beach, mommy.”  Sorry, kid, our home is in Mount Vernon, where there is no beach and currently no snow, but where I don’t have to keep the dog tethered to a stake in the yard and I don’t have to live out of a suitcase, so I think we’ll stay here, thanks.


The decision to NOT live in the Ilwaco/Long Beach area was not one we made lightly – after all, both my and Tony’s parents are there, it’s a beautiful part of the country, and we really like it there.  But also, there is no symphony.  There is no college.  There is no array of AP courses and millions of clubs and YMCA and oh so many other things that we can easily get here.  There is also not the same standard of living for CPAs. 


We had a chance to revisit the decision this weekend in light of some friends who live there and, we suspect, at least one party is no longer happy with it.  Maybe.  We don’t know, but we’re speculating that the insular nature of the beach might be at the root of their marital problems, and isn’t it interesting that they probably had the same conversation we had about living there but came to a different conclusion? 


Anyhow, Christmas.  Too much sugar, delight on Charles’ face, no injuries.  Pretty much a win.  I spent a considerable portion of the drive home pulling myself out of the pits as I thought about this whole gift-giving process.  I am a giver, and I take time to try to find the “perfect” gift for people, one of many reasons that the number of our gift recipients has diminished in recent years; I only have time to find the “perfect” gift for close family and friends.  And I don’t hit it out of the park every time, but I get more hits than strikes, overall. 


I think I’ve figured out that I feel love when I get gifts and praise.  So, you know, when I don’t get a gift at all from someone I really care about, it makes me feel pretty worthless, as though the gift, or lack thereof, is a comment on how little that person loves me.  Or maybe a comment on how I am not a good mother or wife and I am still so fat and I got an ill-advised haircut and I don’t dress well because everything gets spitup-stained and nothing fits and I don’t contribute enough to the family that I don’t deserve a present.  Now, I KNOW this is bogus – the person in question is not a giver, never has been, never will be, and I should suck it up and get used to it.  Random, non-birthday, non-Mother’s Day, non-Christmas gifts are all the more special that way, right?  Well, not really.  I mean, of course they’re special, but well, I’m trying to explain feelings here and I’m not doing a good job, so suffice to say I felt a bit like shit yesterday for a good while.  And then I felt even shittier for feeling like shit about a goddamn gift when I know I have it so much better than so many, many, many people in the world.  And wasn’t I the one to make a promise to God that if my kids turned out healthy, I would be happy to be a fat, ugly, worthless nobody for the rest of my life? 


And, on top of it all, is Christmas about the gifts?  Well, no, of course not. 


So, I sucked it up and made cinnamon rolls for the boys for breakfast and then did my workout and then promptly ate the two remaining cinnamon rolls thus ensuring that I stay fat and slobby and gross so that I don’t get any future presents.  I will just have to work harder at the office so that I can make enough money to buy my own presents in the future.  I think I’ll develop a shoe habit, just as soon as I have the cash and am not carrying around a ticking time bomb of spitup anymore.


Jennifer L. said...

Here's how I rationalize not getting romantic/thoughtful gifts at holidays: My husband is great on an everyday basis (really, he's a wonderful provider, always watches the kids and knows their schedules, and puts up with my crazy mood swings) and I would much rather have that than an occasional mind-blowing gift. I'm constantly trying to adjust my expectations accordingly, as it's a constant process, so that I don't get my feelings hurt as much.

And I have to admit, I did do enough after Christmas shopping (yes, I have started to give into my shoe addiction more and more!) to make up for any present-lacking on the big day.

You're not at all "fat and slobby and gross." You're a beautiful, accomplished, smart, woman, and mom.

Mom and Dad said...

I agree with Jennifer. We all make compromises in our relationships that are based on attributes of others. Weighing those sides are part of what makes it fun. I know I am no piece of cake to live with, really..... so Joe puts up with my warts and all, and I am fortunate to have him next to me.
PSS - I agree, not fat,slobby or gross. Wonderful, beautiful and so smart plus so special. We are lucky to have you as our daughter in law...thanks