Is it really countdown? Is Christmas really almost here? This winter does not make any sense, really. I’m glad it’s the solstice, that’s for sure.
I am grateful for two things right now. One is all the kerfuffle at my house about Christmas Steve, who is COMING FOR SURE this year. Strudel flipped the fuck out the other night when she was overly tired and kicked the ladder to Franny’s loft bed from behind and it made a terrible cracking noise. Her father sighed and said he could fix it, but it is permanently attached now, apparently.
Strudel is very nervous and is making suggestions to stave him off. Perhaps if she is really good for the next couple of days he will not come?
“Maybe,” I said. “Maybe there will be less naughty child stink waves coming from the house.”
Perhaps we could hang a sign on the door explaining that they hadn’t really been THAT naughty, and could he skip our house this year?
“I dunno, man. You cannot get between Steve and his sock beer,” I said, slightly apologetically.
Franny had more questions about him as we were out on errands last weekend.
“what does he DO?” Franny asked.
“Not much. He enjoys his beer in the summer, and scotch in the winter. He has a string of ex-wives all over the country and children he never sees, and he does not pay child support.”
“Mom,” Franny said quietly. “Is Christmas Steve my dad?”
“What? No, honey. No.”
What do I do with this?
As always, I am still trying to think of a present. I am considering something that might ooze through the wrapping and smell, like raw chicken breasts, but the girls enjoy having something, even if it is crappy, which it invariably is.
The other thing I am grateful for is that SeaFed called me on Friday night after getting Franny back and bumbled and did not make any sense, but eventually came around to the fact that he wanted to return Frannie a week early during Xmas break. Originally he told me he wanted to keep her from school ending through the return to school (the 3rd). My last correspondence with him in regards to that was that I objected to it, but at some point, what can you do? Could I go snatch her back? Have a screaming fit? I did not hear back.
Unfortunately, Franny has spent a month fretting about being away from me for so long, and not spending any part of Christmas with us, which I get. I am still encouraging her to advocate for herself, and she did speak to her dad about this more than once. With my help she came up with a plan to remind him we had always split breaks in the past. I save all my calendars showing how she is with us most of the time, and I offered to photocopy last Christmas for her, which she took to him.
So things have been changing since SeaFed abruptly called me a year and a half ago and told me he was moving away. Franny has settled with me. It is her place and we are her people. She refers to her father’s other children as her “half” siblings, but Strudel is her sister. Now that her stepmother is about to pop sprog again, Franny has asked me more than once, I am not planning on having any more children, RIGHT?
I feel conflicted about this. There is a part of me that wants to say, “Of course, victory, this was inevitable. Of course, I am her mother,” I think 75% of parenting is just showing up. The other 25% is the work, but man, that showing up goes a loooong way.
In other news, I have planned my Christmas meal. I bought many, many animals at Central Market yesterday. The checker watched a duck, a rabbit, some fish, and some beef suet go by.
“You have every member of the animal kingdom here,” he commented.
“You know what they say,” I said.
“The cuter the face, the better the taste,” I said.
“I have never heard that,” he said.
“Well, that is because I made it up.”
“I’m blogging that,” he said.
“Okay, link me.”