Hi. How are you? Feeling down-and-out, like the worst mother ever? Come in. I’m going to show you what it looks like when I lose my temper. Oh yeah, also, I ruin Christmas. It’s my Christmas present to you. Thought you suck? I’ll raise you your suck, and see you one…
So it’s that time of year, and I’m ordering crap on line. Toys my kids don’t need, won’t play with, but think they want. And they keeping on coming into the kitchen while I’m doing this, interrupting, peeking, sneaking, fighting, shouting, screeching, fighting, spying, trying, until…
Jane: Get! The! Hell! Out! Of! The! Kitchen! NOOOOOOOOOOW!
What you need to know: when I yell? It’s like I’m channeling Cthulhu. Kronos. The Evil One himself. It’s not shouting or nagging. It’s a “I can kill with my voice and right now I really want to” kind of sound.
Reaction from the children, who know they’re loved and who know not even Cthulhu can harm them:
Collected children: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Effect on overwrought, broke-and-hates-Christmas-at-the-best-of-times mother:
Jane: Do you understand, goddammit, that I am doing all this FOR YOU? I. HATE. CHRISTMAS. If we were doing Christmas my way—there would be no goddam tree in the house. THERE WOULD BE NO PRESENTS! There would be no Christmas Eve dinner, and there would be no Christmas Day morning and not a single bit of wrapping paper, mistletoe or fake snow stuff in the house. THERE. WOULD. BE. NOTHING. We would be… god, in Fidel’s Cuba or Maoist China, where “For Sale” and “Buy Now” are outlawed, and you can get shot for humming Jingle Bells! I find the crass commercialism of this season morally repugnant and spiritually bankrupt, and participating in it, at all, MAKES ME SICK. So everything I do—this stupid tree? These decorations? Getting you presents, because that’s the way I’m supposed to show you I love you this season? I do all this for you, and I hate it, and the least you can do is not keep on interrupting me while I’m doing it! DO. YOU. UNDERSTAND??
Effect on the children, who know they’re loved, and know that not even the Mother of All Grinches can ruin Christmas:
Cinder: Did you not sleep well last night again?
Flora: Did your writing not go well this morning?
Ender: Thank God we have grandparents.
I don’t think my shoes are too tight. And I don’t think my heart is two sizes too small.
He puzzles and puzzled til his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store! Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!
I try to find that every December. Fail. Because celebrating the return of the light—literal or metaphorical, depending on your (ir)religious predilection—disappears under the weight of millions of department store Santa Clauses.