Subourbon Mom

Dear Santa–For Christmas I Want A Teenager.

Like everything with teenagers, Christmas at this age is a mixed sack of coal and gifts.

These days, we no longer have to scramble to hide their gifts and the special Santa wrapping paper (which I found out later they already knew about). Now, I just remind the family, “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive” (we all receive, and there is no mention of the questionable fat man in a body stocking stuffing himself into our chimney like a sausage.)  We no longer stay up until 1:00am putting together brightly-colored plastic, cursing every Chinese company that decided heavy-duty plastic was a good idea. But we also don’t have those magical moments, like when the kids would pause at the top of the stairs and survey the loot under the tree like they had found the Holy Grail; or the morning Daughter #1 burst into tears on Christmas Day. When I asked her why, she said, “I’m just so happy!”

I also miss letters to Santa. Every year, the girls would carefully compose their letters to Santa, or dictate them to me. We would address them to the North Pole and stick them in the mailbox. About a week later, our wonderful mail carrier would deliver a hand-written letter back, addressed to each child by name.  These days, I get gift list updates from my kids via email and text (from the next room), with links to the different catalogs and stores for my shopping ease.

But one thing that is definitely better is the tradition of getting the tree. We still go to the same lot, and we still wander around letting the girls make the decision. But now, the girls can articulate their opinions:

Daughter #1:  “I don’t like this one—it has a hole.”

Daughter #2:  “Your face is a hole.”

Me:  Sigh….

Hubby:  “What about his one?”

Daughter #1:  “I don’t like it. It lacks originality.”

Decorating the tree is also better. Now the girls can put the ornaments higher than our knees.  They re-hash the family trips we’ve taken, since we try to get an ornament form each new place (“Mom, do you remember the time Aunt Cindy tried to get on the ski tube and her face landed in your lap?”–followed by hysterical laughing).  Unfortunately, they also like tinsel, and every year they glob it on heavier than Troy Polamalu’s hair, and every year I take a little off each day, trying to minimize the tackiness (of the tree, not Troy’s hair).Unknown-1

But the best thing about having teenagers during Christmas is that even though they send me shopping lists on-line, and they no longer burst into spontaneous tears of joy, they appreciate the family time. As I write this, they are decorating the tree, laughing over the toilet paper tube ornaments and debating whether the Redskins are worthy of having their ornaments adorn our tree (we’re hardcore fans, so they’re going on, but with serious reservations).  They may not remember all the toys or the letters to Santa, but I hope they will remember the time we spend together.

Family Matters
January 4, 2013, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Middle Age, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Ahhh… the holidays are over – tinsel flutters in every corner, the relatives have gone, and decorations are stacked in the hallway – I might leave them there so I don’t have to vacuum for a while.

I’ve spoken to lots of people lately who say they are happy it’s over. I’m right there with you. However, visits with the “Fam-damily” are always a good opportunity to catch up, which in my family means re-living favorite childhood memories, like the time Mom and I put a dead snake on my big brother’s bedroom floor when he tried to sneak in one night. The shriek he let out when he stepped on it reverberated throughout the entire neighborhood. Good times, good times….

We also like to poke fun at the phrases my mom used to say, and that I now inflict on my kids. I thought I’d share a few:

• “Smart people are never bored” – It defies any arguments. I use it on my own kids, and miraculously, they’re never bored.

• “Stir your stumps” – Could someone please explain that one? Mom said this one when we were supposed to be doing a chore or getting ready to go somewhere. When I asked her what it means, she just laughed and said, “I have no idea. My mother used to say it to me.” Maybe one of my ancestors lost a limb or two in the Civil War. Whatever…it conjures up an image of my mom over a cauldron, stirring tree stumps – it’s just weird.

• “Get a drink for your brother” – Of course, at any family gathering, within five minutes of my brother walking into the house, Mom would instruct me to do this. It didn’t matter whose house we are in. Now to be fair, she was brought up in a time when this is what the ladies did, but Brother and Hubby have been told in no uncertain terms that if they want a drink, they know where to get it.

• “Do you have a glass of wine every night?” Ok, so this is a more recent one, but when she came to visit a few months ago and asked me this, I looked her straight in the eye and said, “No, when you come I have three.” That’s when I knew I’d finally grown up…

• “Never pass a bending ass” Alright, I’m adding this one, because it’s just too funny. Apparently it has been in Hubby’s family for years. Basically it’s what you say when you smack someone who is bending over, usually getting the turkey out of the oven, or some other inopportune time like that. I knew I was part of Hubby’s family when my mother-in-law got me. The kids love that one!!!

So as you take down your tree, pay down your credit card, and grab the tinsel out of the heater vent (dancing like one of those blow-up noodle guys at the car dealerships), stir your stumps and serve yourself one last strong cup of family denial disguised as eggnog. I encourage you to take a moment to remember the phrases that make your family unique, and the ones you hear yourself saying, even though they might not make any sense. Then your kids can write about you someday…

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