This will be one of my first family Christmases after getting back with Natalie, but I’m afraid my concern is less about the holiday and more about presents.
Natalie is generous to a fault, and often we will fight over her spending too much money. Before the baby comes, we’ll have to find a compromise because I refuse to spend hundreds of dollars on a hand-carved bassinet the baby will only use for a few weeks! My brother and sister-in-law used a pulled-out dresser drawer for their twin newborns, and it didn’t do anyone harm.
But gifts, yes. Every year Natalie and her family hosts a wonderful Christmas, and I get to tag along. Last year we cooked up a terrific feast, and Mama Jane nearly popped a blood vessel as she grinned every day.
It was a wonderful holiday, but there’s a part of Christmas I never like.
Yes, thinking of my dad makes it hard, but in all honesty I barely knew him when he was alive. Each year, I try to remember him but can only picture his vacant, drooling face parked in a wheelchair at the nursing home. He was too old for children by the time I came around.
My mom, I miss more. She’d be the one to scream, but she’d also slip me treats in the kitchen in between serving my dad and brothers and the hired help, when we could afford them. We weren’t fancy, but a slice of my mom’s cornbread could take away my sullenness at getting stuck with the enormous pile of dishes every meal time.
I miss my parents, but these days my life has gotten so full with Natalie and school and even my detested work. A year ago, I didn’t know if we would stay together. Today, we’re discussing things like health insurance and pediatricians for the baby.
I don’t know how I got this lucky, but I am thankful every day.
Last year, Natalie gave me a hairbrush she’s used to terrorize me for the entire year. Sassiness–but she considers everything sassy!–attitude, laziness, and whatever else she deems misbehavior all get “corrected” with the hated brush. I’m a quick learner, but she still finds reasons to use that blasted thing. I’ve begged her to put the awful brush away, but she chuckles and says I’ve never been happier or better behaved.
Maybe. But it hurts!
She even gave me a spanking with it last week, just because. She said I’d been stressed and not taking care of myself, and she would see to it I got a good night’s sleep.
Maybe I slept like a baby that night, but that doesn’t mean I liked it. I didn’t like crying as she brought that horrid thing down time and time again, and I didn’t like sniffling into my pillow as she rubbed my back. I did like waking up with the most delicious sense of refreshment the next day, but I didn’t like the constant reminders any time I tried to sit down.
I’ve learned in the past year that Natalie’s house is where I want to stay, and that this is my family. I’ve learned she knows what is best for me.
But can’t she put that brush away?
If I could make one wish this Christmas, it would be this:
Forget the presents.
Just let Natalie lose the hairbrush.
Please, Mrs. Claus?