All I want for Christmas is my family home. Actually, I want a picture of them all together too. It will just take a second. One choreographed second when all are smiling, looking at the camera with their eyes open and fairly clean.
That was hard when they were little. It was like herding cats. It took many takes and often several outfits. You’d think at this point, being nearly adults this would be a piece of cake. Not so much.
All are living in different places now and they miss each other. I had this vision of harmony and love knowing that they’d all be home for Christmas.
As kids they got along. There was order, a hierarchy. Youngers looked up to the olders, and the olders watched over the youngers.
Now things are different. The relationship is realigning: the older and younger roles are not as distinct. Their differences start to surface and old order is confused.
The first son practically came into the world reading. The happiest place on earth for him — the library. Material items were generally seen as an annoyance, something to be put up with.
The second son has always been more a part of this world, a practical just do it sort.–a very goal oriented person. His current stated goal is to have enough money to do whatever he wants whenever he want. With that he will be happy. Enough said.
The third sits quietly listening. Probably not wanting to take sides.
With high hopes of peace and good will, we went out for a pre holiday family dinner. It started out fine with references to favorite movies. We haven’t had a television since the summer, so some discussion centered around the purchase of a new one.
Then somehow we got to what is love and if you stop loving someone did you ever really love them in the beginning. I’m not really sure how we got there, but there were references to Milton and Christian guilt. This all tempered with if I have enough money it will all be alright.
My husband tried jousting with them at some points and then just said to stop the talk. I just sat by, watched and listened, trying not to appear to be on anyone’s side.
As I sat I thought:
Where is the check?
Can we talk about the new movie with Amy Adams and Christian Bale?
Did I talk like this when I was their age?
Then I remembered when I talked with high moral principles and big dreams.
Yes, I did talk this way.
And then I worry, do they, can they have a relationship?
Will they have each other when it matters?
They have strong beliefs, and opposing points of view. Both think the other is dead wrong.
They are their own person. That I am proud of in a way. But I can help but think, were they not related, would they be friends? They worry about each other and miss each other the minute they are a part. So odds are I tell myself, they will be there for each other when it matters.
Things settle down with the delivery of cheese cake and discussion about favorite movies and favorite scenes. Ah, common ground. Peace.
Then out of nowhere, I hear, “You never pay attention to me!” She stomps off to the bathroom. Peace is fleeting.
Our time together will be over in five days. In that time, I’m hoping that they have moments to laugh and share. I’m wishing for some light comedy at the movies or with a new TV. Could that be the real purpose of stupid comedy?
And if I really push my luck, perhaps I’ll get one choreographed second when all are smiling, looking at the camera with their eyes open and fairly clean.
Happy to have them home.
Happy Holidays, 2013.