I hope everyone’s holiday went smashingly well, and no one wound up with a DUI or an Elephant gag gift. Since I celebrated Christmas with friends, I experienced a dysfunctional-free day. Except for getting the finger from another driver, the day was completely void of animosity.
My son and I went to bed way too late the night before. I had to drink a cup of coffee at 8 p.m. to ensure I didn’t fall asleep before he did. He still believes in Santa, despite his two friends telling him Santa’s a fake.
“Do your friends receive a lot of presents for Christmas?” I asked my son. He shook his head no.
“That’s why,” I told him. “Because they don’t believe.” He accepted this explanation as gospel.
It’ll be the last year he buys into it, I’m sure. Which will work out better for me financially, since I have to buy him double the gifts. Boring gifts such as clothes = Mommy; Fun gifts such as DSI games = Santa. Santa comes off every year looking like the good guy, while Mom’s the dud.
Son popped out of bed like a piece of toast early Christmas morning. I tried to remember what it was like to be a kid, excited to open presents, but the old lady in me desperately wanted more sleep. It didn’t happen, and what followed next was like a starving pigeon feeding frenzy. All the presents were spread out like birdseed, and there was my son: the lone starving pigeon that descended on the gifts like he hadn’t eaten in a year. Torn wrapping paper (feathers) flying everywhere; screams of delight (coos) filled the air, and finally, much-needed silence (when I shooed him away to go and try out his new games).
I stared at the leftover mess (pigeon poop everywhere) and sighed. It could wait. We had places to be, and I needed to find the one sweater and pair of pants my son owned and convince him that even though Santa’s job is over for the year, he still doesn’t approve of wearing sweats and a tee on Christmas.
The three of us piled in the car – me, son, dog – and set off to the boondocks about an hour away. My friend’s husband’s family has adopted my son and I. They know we have nowhere to spend the holidays, and so they graciously open their home to us.
As soon as we arrived, the most well-mannered, mellow dog came ambling over to meet us. My friend, who is NOT a dog person, finally agreed to adopt a dog, much to her sons’ joy. After all, every boy should have a dog growing up, right? I leaned down and pet this most precious of dogs, who hadn’t yet uttered one bark and thought, THIS is the dog that should have been mine! Where was THIS dog when I went to the shelter twelve times before adopting a Chihuahua who didn’t bark once in the shelter and yet, barks ALL the time at home?
This most quintessential dog, who has forty pounds on mine went to sniff Evil Diva Chihuahua, and what did she do? Growled and snapped at him. All through dinner the uber-dog stayed on his pillow, while mine begged like some poor gypsy kid in Rome. And when the man of the house put his jacket on to go outside, Demon Chihuahua Dog started barking at him like a rabid beast. Apparently, she doesn’t like men with jackets.
For them, it’s probably similar to being friends with someone who has an unruly toddler. You like your friend; her kid, not so much, and you always breathe a sigh of relief when they’re gone.
On the way home, I went left when I should have gone right, and since it was a dark, two-lane highway, it took me forty minutes to realize we were lost.
My son started bawling. “We’re never gonna make it home! We’ll have to sleep in a ditch on the side of the road!”
“No,” I told him, “We’ll sleep in the car.”
“But what will we eat?” he cried. “I’ll be hungry by tomorrow.”
“We’ll eat the dog. She’s fat enough.”
He considered this. “How will we cook her?”
I smiled at him. “We won’t. We’ll eat her raw. Trust me, when you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat your own arm if you have to.”
“What do you think she’ll taste like?”
“Chicken. Definitely chicken,” I assured him.
He laughed, wiped at his tears, and we resumed singing Christmas carols for the extra hour it took us to drive home.