I still have shopping to do, damn damn damn. In a fiendish holiday tradition, a couple days ago I counted all the presents for each kid and discovered, oh horrors, that A had more than M, so I dashed out and got some more presents for M. Well, I wrapped all M's presents yesterday and somehow, in some demon arithmetic, I screwed up and now A has way less presents than M, and so I have to go spend more money I don't have in a crazed attempt to even up the scales, and that bites. Not only that, but I spent so much time telling the kids that this Christmas was not going to be a big one (okay, let's get this clear now: I was raised by Christmas fools who loved spending money and I inherited this gene and Christmas has always been an opportunity for my family to get itself deeply into the kind of debt you never claw your way out from under, so all you sensible types who give your kid $20 and a toothbrush, or one toy a year or something, had better stop reading now, I wish I was you, but I'm not, and we can all give that vain hope up) and now, yet again, there are going to be too many presents under the tree, giving me vague misgivings and guilt of American consumerist greed and overspending, while, meanwhile, neither of the kids will have gotten what they really wanted in the first place. Do you believe that is all one sentence? Wow, I wonder if I won something.
However, what I want to tell you about is a small Christmas miracle whereby I found an unread book by Jan Willem van de Wetering on my bookshelf. This was welcome on many multiple levels, not just because I really like him, and had recently found a collection of short stories I hadn't read either at the library, but also because the library was closed yesterday, and will remain closed until Tuesday. Do you believe it? They allow the library staff to have a real Christmas holiday, the fascists. How dare they? Such a thing was never allowed at the nameless non profit cultural institution where I used to work. Actually, while I support the NY transit strike, the library being closed, and all rights of all workers everywhere (Oi!! Man the barricades!) I was pissed about the closing and stood there stupidly with my plastic Ingles bag of books to return until I ran into another young woman with a shopping bag of books and desolation on her face. "What will we do?" I asked. "I don't know." she said, "I guess I'll have to go buy some books." We walked away sadly. It is, after all, imperative to have books to dive into and escape the madding holiday weekend, and thanks to my foresight in, at some point in some dimly lit and dusty, or, for that matter, fluorescently lit and screeching with hangers, used bookstore or Goodwill or Salvation Army, finding and buying an actual unread by me Grijpstra and de Gier novel, I will have just that. Oh Christmas joy.
And all M wants is to move in to the Sword and Grail and never come home and all A wants is an endless succession of parties, party party party, and all I want is for both of them to immediately cease and desist from this growing up stuff and get small and sweet again, want to stay home and watch Santa on Norad instead of both of them sighing and looking at the clock and saying, "Mom, why exactly do I have to be home Christmas eve? I mean, it's not like there's anything you really need me for" and so on. But ah well, that won't happen, and it's their nature to not want to be home. Maybe next year I'll book myself a cruise or something ghastly like that and they can have the house. Or not.