Monday, December 31, 2012

Don't Stop Believin'

My family was having dinner or rather what masquerades as dinner.Justin was soaking up spilled milk with newspaper because we had run out of paper towels. Jack was crying because he had spilled the milk. Hadley was trying to steal fruit from Cameron's plate while Cameron loudly sang the Barney Theme Song in an attempt to stop Jack from crying. I wondered if she had any songs she could sing for me? I felt like crying. 

Then suddenly, I felt like throwing up as Hadley said to me, "Hey Mom - after dinner, I need to talk to you  - privately."

Christmas had been in full-swing at our house for about a week. The tree was up, the stockings were hung and though we were a mere few days into December, we had already visited Santa twice. Also, our Elf on the Shelf had appeared which made it official - the holidays had began.

Hadley's face appeared serious. I appeared horrified. Hadley had never asked to speak to me privately about anything. My gut told me this was it. Santa was no longer real. She no longer believed. 

After dinner, I consulted Justin.

ME: Oh. My. God. She wants to talk to me privately! This is it. She knows about Santa. What do I tell her?

JUSTIN: What are you talking about? Privately? Who?

ME: Hadley! Did you not hear her - during dinner?

JUSTIN: Is that supposed to be a joke? 

ME: No! She wants to talk to me privately. I think she knows about Santa.

JUSTIN: Well, if she asks, I don't think you should lie to her.

ME: Well then you do it - you talk to her. I don't want to.

JUSTIN: You're going to have to man up here Abbie - if you can't break the news about Santa, how are you ever going to explain the birds and the bees?

ME: I hate you. 

I spent the rest of the evening avoiding Hadley. She'd walk into a room, and I'd duck out. She'd yell out "Hey Mom!" and I'd pretend I didn't hear. If this is any indication of how future sex talks might go, she's going to be featured on Sixteen and Pregnant.

Eventually, she found me hiding in her closet. I hide there a lot as I pretend to put away laundry. Apparently that gig's up.

"Mom" she started.

Oh here we go I thought. This is the end. No more Santa. No more magic. No more eyes filled with wonder on Christmas morning. Her time had passed. I should have watched her more closely last year. I should have bottled her bewildered expressions in my memory as there would be no more of them. 

I took a deep breath. Looked at her tiny face and sighed knowing that these would be the last few moments she would believe. I couldn't lie to her….at least not when asked directly. Telling her the fish sticks are really chicken is totally different. This was totally serious. 

HADLEY: Mom, do you hide Elfie? Sara told me that she found her elf in her Mom's drawer and that her mom hides him every night. Is that true?

Was that it? All that anxiety for that damn elf. I didn't care if she didn't believe in the elf. I hate the elf. It's a pain in the ass. Elfie is is laziest elf ever, because I can never remember to move him. Last year, I had him quit for a week because, quite frankly, the girls were being a-holes, and I was tired. 

ME: What do you think? Do you think I hide Elfie?

HADLEY: Yeah, I do. Tell me the truth.

ME: Yes, I hide Elfie.

HADLEY: You don't do a good job. Sara's mom has Elfie do fun stuff - like toilet paper the tree.

ME: Well, you can hide him for Cameron and Jack if you promise not to tell them you're doing it.

HADLEY: Yes! I'll do it - I'll hide him!

Whew, crisis averted and the elf burden lifted. 

HADLEY: Oh and mom - about Santa….

My eyes grew big…oh no!!!!

HADLEY: So….Santa writes a note puts it in the elf's box and tells parents to move him? 

ME: Yep - that's exactly right. 

She hadn't quite connected the dots and that was all right with me. She still believes. It's a paper-thin belief, but this Christmas, at our house, Santa still exists.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

A belief in a holy birth.
Tiny hands carefully placing cookies for Santa.
Candles raised during Silent Night. 
Little eyes full of wonder and hearts that believe. 

This is Christmas. 
That is what we celebrate. 

Wishing you the merriest of Holidays.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Crib.

Seven years ago, I bought a simple, understated yet pretty cherry-stained pine crib to place my new baby in. Last week, Justin placed the crib in the back of his truck and drove it away… 

Jack's small bedroom had been quite crowded. For many months, it had housed both a twin bed and a crib. Jack wasn't quite ready to make the move from a caged animal to a free-wheeling tyrannical toddler so we had decided to let him make the transition gradually.  

We placed Jack in his new bed a few times but he would tell us, "I go der" while pointing to his crib. Awww. Maybe he wasn't ready. Maybe I had bought him a new bed too soon. I thought maybe I'd just keep him in his crib - at least until he was old enough to vote. 

However, as weeks passed, I knew I held borrowed time. My "baby" would soon be moving out of his crib. My borrowed time collected quickly, and soon Jack's nights in his twin bed far outnumbered his nights in his crib. It came time to let it go. 

Seeing as that I did not want to be featured on Hoarders huddling in a corner holding everything from old baby socks to baby's first banana peel, I decided that having a crib when I no longer had babies seemed ridiculous.The crib was done. There would be no more babies to put in it. At least not any babies of my own. The crib would be going to another family who was expecting. 

As Justin drove the crib away, I felt sad. How would it be over? How could those three babies have grown so quickly? 

Hadley...It was her bed first. I chose it for her. I hung my tired body over the rails and watched her breathe. Terrified, as a new mother, that she would stop breathing if I left her side.

Cameron...She would hug my shoulders as I hunched down next to the crib to say good night. "Ding gong!" she would say, and I'd sing her a goodnight song. 

Jack...He loved his crib more than the girls. Perhaps he took his cues from his sentimental mother, but he never really seemed sure he wanted to leave his baby bed. He'd often hoist his leg up over the rail like he was going to go up and over, but he never made the climb. We, eventually, made this climb for him and moved him to the bed.

Today, Jack seems restless in his big bed. He tosses and turns - trying to make his new bed seem like home. He's trying to find his place. I watch each restless kick on the monitor as I too am unable to sleep feeling as though something has been lost.