Midway into a phone conversation with my mom...()my mother will be represented by the shark)
What do the kids want for Christmas?
You can do whatever you feel like doing. If you want to send a present, I can ask them what they might like. If you want to wait until you see them, you can do that to. If you want to stick a couple of bucks in their college savers, that would be great. Whatever you feel like doing Mom, we aren't doing much for Christmas this year.
What do you mean, not doing much for Christmas.
We've been scaling back every year and we decided last year that we weren't going to buy anything this year.
Not even from Santa?
Mom, the big kids know about Santa and the baby doesn't know the difference.
I can't imagine why you would deny the children Santa.
Well Mom, neither husband nor I are Christian, so there's that. I appreciate the intended sentiment of the season so we are trying to enjoy that with out all the consumerist stuff. The kids have so much, really they don't need anything.
Well, it's not about needing something.
I understand, but I gave probably a thousand dollars worth of toys and books to baby's pre school. The kids have too much stuff and what Christmas has become, the stress and shopping and obligation and all that, husband and I don't enjoy it and it's not the message we want to send the kids.
So you told middle child there is no Santa?
No, oldest asked us about presents and we said we weren't going to buy them this year but that a bunch of the grandmas and grandpas would be sending some gifts. Middle child asked about Santa and we asked her where she thought those presents actually came from. She said mom and dad. We said yes, and that Santa is a feeling, a feeling in our heart that we want to do nice things for people we love. We told the kids that in lieu of stuff, they were going to each get a day during our break to direct the events and that we would do whatever they wanted to, play games, go to the beach, do crafts... and that one day would be spent doing something mom and dad wanted to do like go visit great grandma. They were excited about it.
This is the conversation that sent me back to therapy. It was a long time coming so not entirely about Christmas gifts.
So, I seethed after this conversation and my internal dialogue went something like this,
"fuck you, fuck you and fuck you for judging me. Christmas with you and dad sucked donkey dick and now I'm a bad mom because I don't want to buy my kids thirty shitty, plastic toys each from Big Lots and Target? I'm a bad mom because I don't think love equals buying a bunch of stuff? I spent Christmas every year from age 6 on shuttled back and forth between parents and families, perpetually disappointing everyone by either arriving late or leaving early and then when I was finally sixteen, I got to do that 50 mile, icy fucking Wisconsin road, whiteknuckled trip all by myself. Merry fucking Christmas, because of that I hate Christmas. How dare you, "Hmmm" me when I get up every morning and I am present for my kids, and I deal with my stress and do the painful work of working my shit out rather than drinking it down or directing it toward them. Fuck you for thinking you did it better because you sucked and you are about five minutes away from getting completely cut off, x'd out, erased."
What does my mom do after our conversation?
Get online at Walmart and order about fifteen things each for the kids, send me an email saying she knows it's "so much trouble" but can I wrap the stuff and give it to the kids. I told husband this was "affection-aggressive" like passive aggressive but trying to take control of the situation by what seems like an affectionate act. It was not, I am certain of that.
So, I have more to talk to the therapist about, yay for me!