A Gift Guide, Of Sorts

My dear children, all I ask for this year is that you freeze this moment in our lives together. I am weary from trying to hold onto something that is not mine to keep.

Wrap me the things you define as treasures and place them under our tree with care. A soda pop lid from your collection, one of those cards I'm always screaming at you to pick up, that sock exactly the way it smells at this moment, the ringing of your laughter when you don't think I am listening.

I am always listening, my little loves, even when I am not there. You resonate through the marrow in my bones. There is nothing else in the world that I can hear but you.

Today you are perfect, as you were every yesterday and will be every tomorrow. Please, package yourselves for me with ribbons and bows, each exactly the person you are at this moment, because tomorrow you will be different and I cannot bear the losing of one more you to a new day's promise. 

Promise me you'll continue to believe in magic you know for certain doesn't exist. Try your hardest to have faith where there ought be none. Know something in this life to be true simply because you decided one Tuesday morning that it should be. Myths are simply dreams we refuse to forget because they make us happy, nothing more. Remember how to believe, though belief is never sensible and rarely probable, but is almost always red and white and pepperminty. There is no reason why.

Algebra and faith are the most important things you will ever learn. 

That, and that your mother loves you. You are my sun, my moon, and my star, and I could never ask for anything else as long as we all shall live. 

I Probably Wouldn't Bother Putting An iPhone on Your Wish List

My children have reached the age where I am certain they simply cannot believe in Santa Claus anymore. Honestly, I don't really know how this works because I never believed in him. Incidentally, he never brought me a single fucking present, so either I was right, or what I keep telling my kids is right - the moment you stop believing in him, he stops believing in you.  

So my brother was asking me today if he could gift my kids a copy of Modern Warfare 3 for Christmas, and I was like, I think they have it already, and he was like...

So I checked. I needed to find out whether they'd be shooting the shit out of nazis or people. There is a difference. I hoped on Google and before I could even put the 3 in the search, the Great Eye of Mountain View popped this up:

Okay, it's weird enough that Google always always knows what I'm searching for, but now it knows who my best friend's husband is? Isn't the slightest bit odd that Google is like, "You know, there is really no better testmonial than that of a friend who's kitchen you sat in last weeked, talking about his trick finger *wink wink nudge nudge*" Does Google get a kick-back off all the XBox 360 rehab searches we parents are going to have to conduct over the next decade, or are they really just that into me?

Of course I'm obsessing about this because I'm 51% Pisces and 73% paranoid schizophrenic. I'm freaking out that Google has figured out who I know and it putting it together with what I'm interested in. Somehow, Google has figured out a way to see me when I'm sleeping, and knows when I'm awa.....HOLY SHIT GOOGLE IS SANTA CLAUS.

So I figure I better listen, since it's like five weeks from Christmas and Yes, Virginia! There really is a Santa Claus and HE HAS ARRANGED FOR YOUR FRIENDS TO MONITOR YOUR INTERNET SEARCH RESULTS. So I do what Google tells me to and ask Ron Mattocks.

Ron Mattocks tells me to raise my own damn kids. Figures.

Christmas Cards Make Everything Shit

I find myself as of late completely unable to do most of the things I've always done with effortless efficiency. Like, cook, or write, or take a picture.

It's like one day I woke up and couldn't walk. This has happened before. One day, 18 years ago, I woke up and I couldn't play the piano anymore, and I'd been playing the piano for about 10 years previous, daily. I loved playing the piano, I taught myself and was hideous to watch but delightful to hear, and I just realized that playing the piano is exactly like having sex and funny, because I woke up one day eight weeks ago unable to do that either and oh my god fuck my life.

But the weird thing was that one day I could do it, and the next day I just couldn't. I couldn't read the notes, my fingers couldn't find the keys, the peddles made no sense to me. It was selective amnesia and the part that was selected was the Theme to the Incredible Hulk sheet music. Maybe the world is better off for it, I don't know.

Lately, everything I've cooked has come out all kinds of wrong, and I've blamed the change in altitude and stocked up on Hamburger Helper just in case. And then my camera broke one day, but it didn't break in the traditional way, it broke in the I fucking hate you, motherfucker kind of way that means it actually works perfectly fine, I am just incapable of operating it anymore. Of course, I thought the settings were all jacked up and happily blamed it on that and swtiched my my phone's camera until my brother could come save the day with his amazing skillz of a hacker but oh no, he tells me it's me.  35 years, eight months and 27 days he's known me, and he still thinks it's smart to tell me things like, "It's you, Shannon; you fucked it" like I'd put clip art on it or something.

But it's me, Shannon. I have a brain full of clip art. It's shit and I can't take a damn picture to save my life right now. This is only inconvenient in that it's Christmas-time and if I don't send my inlaws a picture of my children, whom they haven't seen in, oh, years, they will team up to make my life more miserable. So I finally found one night when no one was getting grounded for the next five weeks and no one was biting all the other someones and no one was painting his toenails black and listening to Distingration on loop and I bribed them with treats to put some goop in their hair and stand almost touching each other for a few minutes.

Of course, it didn't work out so well for me, because, yeah. I can't take pictures anymore.
This one would have been really awesome if I'd only remembered how to focus on something. Anything. One thing.
And then this one was pretty awesome with the utter disdain on the face of 1/5th of my family. If only everyone mirrored it. And I'd had the right lighting.
I love this one. I love it so much I want to kiss it. She just decided we needed to pray half-way through, which is only funny because I don't exactly so much believe in god and she's seen me pray exactly never times. But, yeah, completely unsalvageable. Which, #@*%.
Or This
And this one would have been precisely what I was going for. All I had to do was make some really awful joke about myself, throw in one of the more colorful words my kids wish they could say without gnawing on a whole bar of Ivory after, and voila! Shiny happy children! Giggles and laughter! And no ones chonies were showing! It was made of WIN except it's complete shit and I can't use it.

But I have to use something. So you get to vote for one of these two:
Family Christmas Disaster #1
Family Christmas Disaster #2
I know they're not fantastic, but have you ever tried to get a five year old girl to do anything twice? These are what I'm stuck with. Which one sucks less?

Two Weeks, Four Days and Counting

My Christmas tree is not yet up. The only candies in the Advent calendars are the ones my kids found in them from last year. Which, how does that happen? I have yet to buy one Christmas present for any of the onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten people I have to shop for.

I have, however, managed to launch two strategic strikes in the Wish War. Priorities, I haz them.

I'm hosting the Houston Blogher holiday meetup on Saturday at my house (please, for the love of god, come) and my mother in law arrives here on Christmas Eve. And luckily for me, the day before my six week checkup when my hoo-haa doctor was supposed to clear me for normal activity which includes, but is not limited to, vacuuming, steaming the carpets, putting the large dishes away, lifting big ol' cars and big bails of hay* and test driving the new equipment, I got an infection in my throat the likes of which left me huddled in the fetal position at urgent care for 2 1/2 hours, which leads me to believe that they and I share different opinions on the meanings of both Urgent and Care, to eventually get one antibiotic shot and one injection of steroids in my fat, white ass, which was almost more painful to bare in front of the 5'2", 23 year old never had a baby or a birthday cake nurse than the shots were or the infection was. Almost.

And now I am back on a series of drugs that, though don't make me crack whore space cadet like the narcotics did, do interesting and colorful things to my intestines and their natural ability to regulate themselves. Which, I suppose, makes it a blessing that I just got some brand new intestines to go with the new cervix and vagina and perineum and labia, I guess. Everything has a silver lining.

Even better? My daughter has the same infection, but lacks the ability to willing take medication or wipe her own ass.

I guess my point is that I am simply not ready for Christmas. And that all I really want is a case of Purell and some Lysol.

*If you don't know where that comes from, well, I just weep for your childhood.

I Also Believe in the Lock Ness Monster, and That The Government Killed JFK. Sue Me.

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{Thanks to Goon Squad Sarah for sharing this post on Kirtsy}

Mom, do you believe in Santa Claus?

I get this question more than I get any other one. June 8th, they'll be asking me. I think it's because they want to believe what I believe, whether or not they know it can't be true. They want to believe in me, so they believe in Santa.

I tell them yes every time they ask. When they ask if I ever doubted, I tell them no, but that Santa didn't come to my house when I was a kid, so I never really believed or didn't. I tell them that when 1of3 was a tiny baby and I saw the magic of Christmas, the true meaning of it, for the very first time, I had to believe.

That is true. And I do believe in Santa. I believe that you are Santa and I am Santa and that guy in the grocery store who bumps into you and doesn't even apologize? He's Santa, too. We parents, we are magic personified. Everything we do is of fairy dust and pixie wishes in the eyes of our children, if we let it be. We are legends, we are gods, we are giants. We are myth and legends. We are earth and sky to these children who just want to believe in us.

We Santas aren't just the fat guy in the red suit how drops gifts off...we are the symbol of hope and of faith to our children. We are what teaches them that their actions matter, even when no one is looking. We are what allows them to realize that, even though they maybe totally fucked up, there is always the chance for redemption, that no one actually ever leaves coal, that there is always forgiveness and love waiting for you, dry and toasty over the fire.

I believe in Santa Claus, yes I do. I believe in me, I believe in you, I believe in all of us. My son believes that the beams of light that cut through the clouds after a storm and slice the sky in yellow shards are the fingers of god, and he believes that his mother has faith in something purely good and loving and generous and beautiful, and so he knows that he can believe in those things, too.

And that is the greatest gift Santa could ever give a child. Or his jaded old broken grown up mom.