the week that was 6

This week all roads continued to lead to Christmas. The closer we get to the arrival of Sinterklaas the more I eat sugar cookies and binge-watch holiday movies.  My ass is getting bigger by the minute.

Last night while working my way up a size in jeans, I indulged in my annual viewing of Scrooged. My favorite of all the Christmas Carol variations, everything about this movie is perfection: from Bill Murray’s cynical modern-day Scrooge to Carol Kane’s abusive Ghost of Christmas Present  to Alfre Woodard’s wig as a post-racial latter-day feminist Bob Cratchit.  It even has the Solid Gold Dancers as the Solid Gold Dancers and a gym-tastic Mary Lou Retton as Tiny Tim.

The Dickensian tale is moved from 19th century London and dropped into 20th century New York City with Murray playing the heartless president of a TV network.  He scares a mute child, threatens to staple reindeer antlers to a helpless mouse, and delights in the death of an old woman.  Of course by the movie’s end he sees the error of his ways and reunites with his true love, the delightful where-is-she-now Karen Allen.  When the cast gathers during the end credits to sing Put a Little Love in Your Heart, my heart grows three sizes.

Earlier in the week I scarfed down an appetizer of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  Is there anything better than the timeless chemistry of Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo?  Yes, a young Juliette Lewis, in arguably her best performance, as surly teen Audrey Griswold, and an even younger Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, in what is undoubtedly her best performance, as yuppie scum Margo. If Scrooged touches my heart, Christmas Vacation tickles my funny bone.  I used to watch it for Doris Robert’s wig, but over the years it has really grown on me.  And now, it just aint Christmas without the Griswolds.

Santa paid an early visit to Defoe Street when Chris received his yearly video message from my less-portly doppelganger (seriously, I need to lay off the cookies).  You can view the heartwarming video here (just ignore the disturbing baby-like elves who grunt and coo approval at their dark overlord Santa):

Between these videos and that damn Elf on the Shelf I am tapped out creatively.  That elf has done it all — he ziplined into town shortly after Thanksgiving, was held hostage in a stand-off with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles late last week, and just this morning I found him under the mistletoe in a three-way with Ken and Barbie.  I should have such adventures.

Todd and I have been mostly child-free this week.  Chris is involved in no less than 847 activities: piano lessons, yoga, cooking class, choir, re-interpretive existential post-modern Afro-Hungarian line-dancing, macaroni macrame.  He’s very busy.

Parents who complain about how exhausting it is to drive their kid from activity to activity are liars.  Exhausting is having your kid at home every night and then being forced into the role of Julie the Cruise Director.  I don’t care how much an activity costs — it is worth every penny if it means I get to be visibly drunk.*

Tonight Chris is attending a Christmas party so Todd is taking me out on a date.  Of course I had to tell him that he was taking me out on a date, but still, if he’s willing to pretend that I actually listen when he talks, then I can pretend this date was his idea.

*I’m never visibly drunk.

once more with feeling!

It was number twelve on his Christmas list.  It was the first thing he told Santa Claus.  Shortly after making his annual wish on the remains of this Thanksgiving’s turkey carcass, he entered into negotiations with the Elf on the Shelf.  Wishing wells, shooting stars, the occasional stray eyelash.  Whatever would help the cause.  My son was determined to have his wish: a brother.

When we told Chris that the adoption agency had matched us with a child — someone who, if all things fell into place, might very possibly be his new brother in a few weeks or months — he stopped eating his dinner, calmly stood up and then executed a rather impressive triple somersault expertly sticking the landing before effortlessly melting into a perfectly-posed standing bow.  Not really.  But he did smile a huge smile the length of his face, announcing that he had never been happier while simultaneously shrieking with delight.

So you can imagine our surprise when, several moments later, he burst into tears.  On a normal day Chris is a very messy crier, but these were sloppier more hysterical tears.  They were Oscar-winning tears.  Todd and I just looked at each other.  We expressed our concern, but Chris assured us he was okay, telling us he “just needed to be alone for a few minutes”.  At first I thought he was simply trying to get out of finishing his dinner, but then I remembered that Chris has a lot feelings.

He went up to his room.  To be alone.  Because he has a lot of feelings.  Like any good stage mother not wanting to miss out on a moment of the drama, I counted to almost sixty before rushing upstairs to get the scoop.  Like a good parent I respected his need for privacy and allowed him a few minutes to compose himself before going up to check on him.  I found him perched on the ladder of his loft bed — sobbing uncontrollably.

Me: What’s wrong?

Chris: (hysterically, through tears) I’m just so happy.

Me: But you’re crying.

Chris: I know.

Me: Are you okay?

Chris: (more hysterics and more tears, but smiling) This is the happiest day of my life.

We have of course explained to him that this new brother is not a done deal.  There is a second family being considered.  There are unknown factors and forces beyond our control at work.  It’s out of our hands, kid.  He says that he understands and he pretends to listen, but if we are not chosen, if he doesn’t get his brother, he will be devastated.  As devastated as Todd and I.  But we’re adults.  He’s just a kid.  With a lot of feelings.