Dawn had to take Charlotte out of the restaurant for bad behavior while Lily and I stayed behind and split an order of deep-fried, green tea ice cream, reminiscing about Christmases past, starting with one in Ireland that led to another memory of Charlotte being taken out of a restaurant for bad behavior.
Lily liked how I always took her to Hobbit movies this time of year she said, but I only remembered doing that once. It must have made such an impression, she’s convinced we did it multiple times.
On Christmas Eve, we learned that Ginger has worms in the worst possible way you can learn something like that, in the yard at Dawn’s mom’s house while there was still enough light you could see them moving in her poop.
Dawn called the doctor, worried the kids could have it too: but the symptoms were itchy anus, weight loss, bad gas—with only the latter symptom attributable to me.
Desperate for anything that could bring us together as a family we bought a TV, our first, and got right into it on Christmas day with chilled prawns and pistachios, laid out like drug addicts in some alleyway stoned.
I’d never had a TV since my parents divorced, convinced they separated because my dad wouldn’t engage enough with my mom, instead tuning out to the TV—a memory I’ve come to accept isn’t real, but made-up: a too-convenient solution to a problem I couldn’t confront otherwise. It was easier to blame the TV, and resolve to never bring one into our house…until we each got tablets, laptops, and phones. And realized we were all watching TV, separately.
On Christmas, dad called to say he was thankful I sent that gift to his brother Jim, because that’s the only present Jim got this year. It made dad feel like a heel, the logic that if he gave a gift to Jim, then Jim would feel like he had to give one back, and doesn’t have a lot of money.
Dad and I talked for a good, long while and he gave me some advice about the kids, then asked if I’d read the article he forwarded to me (which I hadn’t). It wasn’t what he was saying as much as the fact I could tell he cared—and I asked if he’d text Jim’s number to me so I could call him later, but there wasn’t a good time and I wanted to be with the people right around me instead, like my mom, who was only with us another day before she had to fly back to Germany.
After she left, I washed and dried the sheets for my friend Brad, who’s coming to house-sit and care for our animals while we go away a few nights to Whidbey island. Psychologically, it feels good knowing we’re getting more light every day, but it still feels like we have a very long way to go.