Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas Crash!

The rare Tuesday post in The Monday Motivator...

There we were, it was Christmas Day night, the cleanup had begun and the tree taken down. It was dropping too many needles and Gunner didn't help with his tail-of-mass-destruction taking out ornaments that seemed too high for him to reach. Amidst all the unwrapped presents, a full belly from a delicious Christmas dinner, and snuggled up in our warm house - here was Mason long faced and looking forlorn. I sat to talk with him and he expressed his disappointment that he didn't get anything on his Christmas list and not even a single video game. I shared with him a bit about what Christmas really means and when you get right down to it, it has nothing at all to do with gifts. I recalled a Christmas past. 

I was in my early twenties and out on my own, living in a suburb of Sacramento. I had a job at a local grocery store and was getting by, barely. I could pay my rent, utilities, car payment, and put food on the table but that was about it. Christmas was a luxury I could not afford that year. My apartment was not decorated and I was anticipating arriving home to a whole lot of nothing. Driving home from work on Christmas Eve, I saw a tree lot selling the remaining trees for one dollar each. I pulled in and got a tree Charlie Brown would be proud of. The lot attendant felt pity on me and didn’t even charge me the dollar. I brought that tree home and left it on the wooden cross nailed in the trunk, placed it on a table and wrapped a bath towel around the base for the tree skirt. I had a box of Christmas stuff from when I moved out of my parents house so I had a strand of lights, and a handful of ornaments I made in high school. I made some top ramen, added leftover chicken and some green onions and sat in the living room listening to Christmas music on the radio, and enjoying the lights on my little tree. That was it, that was the extent of my festivities that year. It wasn’t much, but it was more than I thought I was going to have, it was enough.

Back to the living room with Mason, I shared this story with him. It is a true story and I tried to impress upon him that you cannot always get every thing you want, and there will be times when it will be lean and you just have to make the best of it. He's heard me say it many times, "Money comes and money goes, but the real wealth is with the people in your life and your ability to see the bright side." You see, Mason was on the post-Christmas let down. He likely had more presents to open than the rest of us combined, he got some cool and thoughtful gifts that he was happy about, but he didn’t get a couple of things he really wanted. Maybe it was all the sugar he consumed through the day, but come nighttime, he sat on the sofa pouting and crying that he didn’t even get a single video game. Here's the kicker, he hadn’t even told me what he wanted until everything was already purchased, being wrapped, and our money already spent.

As we've said (sang) to him nearly his whole life, "You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some times, you just might find, you get what you need." Mason is not wanting for anything, in fact he probably has too much. That is our fault, but mostly Dave, who spoils him and then when he doesn’t get what he wants, he is left feeling let down. The "Dave's fault" is printed with his permission and even agreement. Mason will go through some tough times as he leaves our nest and is on his own. He will miss the family decorations, traditional Christmas dinners, holiday movies that we’ve seen hundreds of times, and spending time with family who loves him. Maybe he will get lucky some Christmas Eve and find that dollar tree lot and remember how good it used to be. I’d rather instill in him now that doing good in school, getting into the college he wants to go to, getting a good job, and working hard will make his holidays that much better. Time will tell. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

For years I posted this poem as my annual Christmas wish. The last time I posted it was in 2013. It seems 2014, 2015, and 2016 brought more exciting news to share in my Christmas posts, but I want to come back to this because this year it means something more to me. You see, I had a falling out with some family members and I did not behave in a way that makes me feel very proud of myself. In fact, I need to step up and write an apology and hopefully mend a quarrel. I need to find the time, apologize, listen, and speak my love. I don't feel that I was completely wrong in my position, but I feel I was completely not kind in my reactions. None of that matters now, but I will be sending those apologies before the year ends. So for Christmas 2017, my Christmas wish for myself and all of you. 

This Christmas, mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Write a love letter.
Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth.
Keep a promise.
Find the time.
Forgive an enemy.  
Apologize if you were wrong.
Think first of someone else.
Be kind and gentle.
Laugh a little every day.
Laugh a little more.  
Express your gratitude.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love.
Speak it again.
Speak it still once again. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Worst Birthday Ever!

It didn't start off all that bad, in fact, I had booked a stay in South Lake Tahoe thinking Dave and I could slip away for a few nights and enjoy some grown up time together. For the most part, we had a really good time, except for that one thing...our room ended up being a studio instead of a one bedroom, and Dave felt that I overpaid once he looked up on a military vacation site what we could have paid for the actual one bedroom we wanted. The one thing was that he couldn't let go of what I paid and proceeded tell whoever would listen, "Do you know what I could have paid for a week here? She paid this much." I saw the post about buying the weekend, I checked with Dave about the dates, and I booked it. I didn't shop it, I had the money so I booked it. Once he pointed out what we could have done, I agreed and said we would do that the next time, but for now, could we just let it go and have some fun? 

I don't need to recount all the details, but when we got home Sunday morning - the actual birthday, Mason did not do any of his chores, the house was a mess, and while I was getting on Mason about doing nothing, I got the birthday gift of a lifetime, “I can’t wait until I turn 18 and I don’t have to live in this stupid house!” Yep, my teenager was alive, well and rearing his ugly, big head.
He was butt hurt because he had 3 simple things to do while we were gone - do the dishes, clean the kitchen (wipe off the counters), and clean & slice cucumbers & carrots for pickles. He did none of it and got even more mad because I was making him do it. He thought me making him do the work was punishment enough, but not so fast Bucko!  We started an immediate media restriction through 12/27 (it was the 26th but he pitched a fit so I added another day). Yep, for my birthday I got to earn another, "Meanest Mom Ever!" award. 

The day continued along these lines with Dave and I stopping at Pete's for a drink before we were to meet friends. Dave was still talking about what I paid for the room and what he could have gotten it for, and we just couldn't get on the same page, in fact, we weren't even the same media! The night ended with, get this, Dave telling me he was so mad at me, he didn't want to come home. Yep, my son can't wait to get out of my house and my husband didn't want to come home - all on the same birthday. Suffice it to say, this was the worst birthday of my life.

Now there is a disclaimer - I am an incredibly lucky woman. I live a life that many only dream about and Dave & Mason bought me a beautiful jewelry set for my birthday so they were planning and trying to make my birthday lovely. Dave and I rarely argue or fight, but it does happen and it just so happened on December 17, 2017. I guess my point here is that I've had one really shitty birthday in 51 years, yes it was the worst, but compared to the 40-something I can recall, it's still a pretty wonderful life. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

I've Fallen Behind!

It happens to the best of us sometimes. I certainly have so much to share, just not enough hours in the day to sit and write. I take comfort in my notes on my phone and my social media feeds to keep count of what week I've missed and what happened that week, and what it is I want to document.

We are baking, shopping, preparing to wrap, and still working along the way.

I'll get caught up here momentarily...Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 4, 2017

I Know How You Feel!

This was from a friend on Facebook last week. I didn't reply immediately, but after sleeping on it and knowing I had been in these same shoes, I replied -

I read this thread yesterday and can totally relate. I've been in your shoes and thought I would offer up my thoughts on this... Back in 2012 I penned this post 

Then last year...

Ultimately, I offer you this, you are a grown woman with a beautiful family. Make Christmas what you want it to be, for you, for your husband and for your kids. Give the gifts that give you joy, and if it's from a list, great! If not, well, it's the gift you are choosing to give. Some years, I give the gift of nothing because I love you too much to give some thing, just to give it. If you get nothing one or two years and then get something, it's because I saw it and it spoke to me for you! People come around and some may even follow suit, but be you authentically, teach your kids to be able to stand up and be who they are without worrying about the repercussions of extended family natter. It may be difficult initially, but it gets easier and it makes the holidays so much more enjoyable. Go start enjoying yourself, life is too short to always conform.