Christmas was rocky, but it’s finally over and so there’s that.
There was a lot of back and forth with the boy over the last 48 hours in order to try to get him some time with both me/my family and his Dad and his family, and to manage school being closed and work schedules and such.
I slept terribly last night. I never know if the kid is going to get up with a nosebleed or because he can’t sleep or is scared or misses his Dad or whatever, and I didn’t want to blow it by putting the gifts under the tree too early, or even worse, risk getting caught. But I was really tired and was worried I’d really blow it and just completely forget to dig everything out of its hiding places and put it out before I turned in for the night myself. But I got it done and went to bed; then tossed and turned. I had a really weird dream about cooking and there were all these little fires in my kitchen. None on its own was serious, and I kept putting them out but then others would appear. Dishtowels would light up, frying pans, food. I suppose there’s a metaphor there, or a message or something. When the kid woke me up at 6am I was kind of glad, even though it was asshole early, as the fires were starting to get concerning and more numerous.
He got way too many presents, which is a good problem to have I guess. I only got him a few practical thing (though Santa got him many fun things) and only one “fun” thing from me; a basketball, which he requested. But other people got him things as well, many things, and so there was a lot going on as he tore into everything all at once. My Christmas present to myself was setting the coffee up the night before so that all I’d have to do is push the ON button to get it going, so that was nice. I made cinnamon rolls and bacon but mostly all he ate was candy from his stocking. Which is also ok, since it’s a holiday and I’m not a complete hard ass. He said Santa was magic, and actually remembered to thank me for the gifts I bought him, so his manners are getting better. But it was too much, overwhelming for both of us, and after he finally got everything open, he went and got some toys that are pretty old and an old coloring book and asked me to color with him, so we did that awhile.
I didn’t have enough batteries for all the stuff that took batteries, so everything isn’t running but at least the remote control car is going. He ground some green slime into my new carpet and then ruined a dishtowel with the same stuff until I insisted he throw it away. And he pounded the new etch-a-sketch on the ground about 20 times so I don’t think that works right anymore. Sigh. First day casualties.
I had an upset stomach most of the day and had anxiety simmering as well. Although our time this morning was cozy in its way, it’s a lot to do to try to be everything at one time for the kid, I’m sure it’s the same for his Dad when he has him. He has no siblings, so you are the playmate. You are the supervisory parent, monitoring screen time, making sure he’s not breaking something every minute, either in your home or on his person. You also have to prepare and serve and clean up food, which seems almost continuous. It’s hard to do all these things at once.
After the dust settled, he insisted we take the basketball outside, so we walked over to the outside court at the complex here and played around with the ball a little, until I finally made a basket, and it stuck in the net. This is pretty much the symbol for the day. New basketball stuck in a net that’s too small.
We went over to the adjacent woods until I found a stick long and thick enough to jam the ball up and out of the basket, and by then we were both over it and went home. He wanted to get completely muddy and messy by playing in the mud puddles and I was just not in the mood to clean it all up and then we argued about that, too. It’s like the whole day was spent alternating between arguing and laughing.
We went to his Dad’s for a “family” Christmas lunch. This is not my idea but I try to go along with these things, and it was ok. I am pretty good at keeping the conversation ball rolling with just about anyone and blathered on about movies I’d seen and asked questions about how people in his family were doing. It probably didn’t even look strained if you had been looking in the window, though I know it was for both of us. He didn’t ask me anything about me, my life or my family, which was fine. D asked to stay there and visit for a few hours and for me to come back and get him closer to dinner and we all agreed to that and so I left.
Being back here by myself for a few hours alone on Christmas, it was frankly very sad, and I cried and felt like a failure. I’ve lost the perspective I had a few days ago where I felt like what I’m giving and doing is enough, good enough, at least, if not ever being close to fantastic, and I just felt overwhelmed, alone, lonely, broke and broken. I hate to admit this, but a bitter part in me resented seeing pictures of so many people with their big, loving families on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when I sat home alone last night (well, I was cooking, I didn’t sit), waiting for my son to be dropped off past his bedtime, and then was alone again today for a long while. And will be alone again starting Sunday morning, through the new year.
I went to pick D up and he was tired and nasty and had been arguing with his Dad about everything, too. They had a confrontation about his computer not working right and I had to step in and be tech geek for a minute to solve it. He fell asleep in the car before I could even finish the 10-minute drive home, and then he woke up and was missing his Dad. I know the back and forth has been tough and we’ve done the best we can, but he was pretty nasty and mean to me and I told him I wouldn’t tolerate that and to pull it together, and then he went in his room and cried. So then I felt like a real Grade A parent, making my kid cry on Christmas.
We made up, he helped me gather up all the trash and we took it outside to see if we could see the full Christmas moon. It was just starting to rise over the buildings on the opposite side of the complex. He was in better spirits when we came in, and I fixed him some dinner and I ate too, even though I wasn’t hungry, and then we did some word searches together, played a bit and watched a silly kid’s TV show.
But I don’t really feel better. I am glad D’s not going to sleep mad, but I’m restless and all I can think looking at that tree now is what a pain in the ass it will be to take it all apart and cram everything into the boxes in the storage locker.
I’m thinking of taking off for a few days. I can’t take off work early this coming week but I could take all of New Year’s Eve off, and since it’s not like I have any plans, I could go somewhere, and be gone new year’s day too, and the day after. I may just switch off and go write somewhere. I don’t have a lot of money, but I have an idea of somewhere I could go fairly easily to escape. If I’m going to be alone, I may as well be really alone, isolate myself and get some writing done.