Let’s Make a Deal

My girl is going to be an angel in her school Christmas pageant tomorrow.

You know what this means.

MaryBullock

I will be sobbing, baby-like, for most of the morning. Sometimes I just want to lay down on the floor and cry from all the love of her.

But listen. That’s tomorrow. Right now, I’m coherent. My contacts are fresh. It’s time to review the terms of our friendship, if you are someone that I will see in person tomorrow.

1. If I look like I’m about to cry, look away! For the love of all holy things, do not look me in the eyes.

2. If I’m already crying, pretend I’m not. Talk to me like all is normal, or better yet, just ignore me.

3. Do not, do not, do not be nice to me. This includes knitting your eyebrows together in concern, patting my back, or handing me tissues.

Your being nice to me when I’m about to cry or already crying just prolongs the crying. Avoid this at all costs.

Ok. I think that’s it.

Good talk.

See you out there.

***EPILOGUE***

Mary Bullock was precious! And I survived! And–BONUS!– I think Lee was the only witness to my ugly cry, so thank you all for observing the rules of friendship with a crier.

IMG_4888 IMG_4892

You can’t really see it here, but I still have some mascara left. I’ll call that a success!

One for the Ages

So, if you missed my grumbling on facebook yesterday, here are the facts: I am 35 years old. And I have never, ever (until yesterday) strung Christmas lights on a tree.

Growing up, that was my mom’s job. I’m not sure if she wanted to do it or if she did it because there was no way Booney was getting up on a ladder with Christmas lights in hand, but she always did it. I think I remember watching from my pillow on the floor in front of the television a few times.

In the first few years of our marriage, I watched Lee string our Christmas lights, usually from across the room. There were invariably a lot of tense words from behind the tree, and when he was done I always complained that there weren’t enough, and Lee would dutifully string more until I was happy. Then we discovered that we could actually get through decorating the tree without cursing each other if I left him alone for the lights part and showed back up when it was time for ornaments, wine, and Charlie Brown Christmas music.

But this week we realized there was no way the tree would get decorated any time soon unless I put on my big girl panties and strung the lights myself.

So I did.

And it was bad. Really, really bad.

Our precious babysitter Kelsey had taken the kids out for a walk while I worked, and when she came back in she said: I think it looks nice! I love the clusters.

Sweet Jesus.

But it was too late to undo them, and the kids were about to pee themselves to put on ornaments, so the lights stayed, clustered though they were.

IMG_4631

Mary Bullock insisted that it was beautiful despite my protests. She saw the sparkles and not the wires. So she and Bo not at all carefully started to cover the tree in gold balls.

IMG_4661

We lost a few, but it was well worth it just to see their little bodies running back and forth from the box to the tree. This is the first year we’ve let Bo within ten feet of the tree without a baby gate, so he was thrilled.

And after spending all afternoon grumbling and/or having a panic attack about the lights, I was thrilled, too.

IMG_4662

IMG_4656

And then Lee came home.

I had prepared him for disaster, but none of the pictures I tried to send captured the truly awful mass of mess that I had created. I fully expected him to send us all to bed while he pulled down the catastrophe and started over. But he didn’t.

He said: Well, it’s not one for the ages. And shrugged his shoulders.

Can’t win ’em all is what Kelsey had said.

I have other fine qualities is what I had said.

So we pulled out the special ornaments, which go on last, and gussied up our wonky tree and I definitely had to hold back tears at the beautiful mess we created.

Mary Bullock, arms deep in a box of ornaments blurted out: Mommy, I feel happy.

And then there was no point in holding back tears. What else could one ask of a Christmas tree?

IMG_4640

IMG_4648

IMG_4665

I will never win any Christmas light contests, that’s certain. But wonky lights and all, this tree is definitely one for the ages.

This is his year!

Bo

I walked into Mary Bullock’s room on Sunday morning to find Bo lounging at the end of her bed, twiddling his toes.

Bo, do you know what today is?

He cut his eyes to the side as though it were a trick question.

Uhhhh…no? he said.

IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY! I squealed.

NOW? TODAY?!

Leave it to Bo to have no idea that it was his birthday. And leave it to us to have forgotten that he’s only three and needs to be reminded.

Bo2

Here’s the thing about Bo: in so many ways he acts older than he is. He is in full command of his words, and has had an advanced course in sass from his sissy. So sometimes I really forget that he’s still so little. Until I accidentally pour him milk instead of water, and his words evaporate and he’s all THROWING HIMSELF FROM HIS CHAIR and YELLING LIKE A STUCK PIG.

Bo3

But supposing that I have fulfilled his drink request properly and he is neither hungry nor tired, he is without a doubt the sweetest three feet of love you will ever meet. He gives hugs that melt me into a puddle on contact. He’s generous (for a three year old) with his sister, has an awesome imagination, and is so hilarious without trying to be.

Bo4

He also cries more than any human being in the first world has any right to. It’s his go-to reaction when hurt, offended, frustrated, or royally pissed. His normal speaking voice is so much like a whine that sometimes I can’t tell if he’s whining or just asking. But after three years, I have figured out that taking a deep breath really does calm him down, and it’s so stinking cute to see him do it.

Bo5

(I have started taking my own advice and taking deep breaths when I’m upset, too. It doesn’t work as well for me, sadly. I will keep trying though.)

Bo3rdbday

Happy 3rd Birthday, Bobo! I love you like you love applesauce. But let’s just agree that you’ll go easy on me this year, yes?