Silent Night…

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I should be in bed. Jeremy’s been in zir room for over an hour now and I’m fully expecting zir to wake me before sunrise. Zie’s so anxiously hopeful about getting a remote control car, to the point where I’m glad I bought it (and remembered batteries) because I’m pretty sure zir Christmas would be crushed without it. The flip side is I’m also reasonably sure finding a big purple remote control car is going to be the highlight of zir day.

Tomorrow should be relatively peaceful. I say ‘should’ because nothing ever truly goes as planned. It’s about as un-chaotic a day as anyone could organize though. Emma and Mark are coming over for lunch and then Jeremy and I are spending the rest of the day on our own. I did originally invite their grandmother to join us but their Dad came down to spend Christmas with her instead. This meant the kids visited them yesterday.

To say I was nervous about the visit would be an understatement. Their Dad called the day before to inform me that he was going to warn the kids that if they acted up the person who was misbehaving would be sent home.

“That’s fine,” I assured him then added, “As long as it extends to you too.”

“I don’t fight with the kids!” he said, sounding affronted. I simply waited. “I only point out the flaws in what Emma says.”

“Yeah, don’t do that.” His version of pointing out flaws involves picking at her until she blows up then cheerfully complaining about how argumentative she is.

He agreed then I got Jeremy to call zir sister and warn her about their Dad’s new rules. I didn’t want it to be their Dad who shared the news because I knew he wouldn’t be tactful.

The kids started their visit while I was at work. I wondered aloud if I’d need bail money. Thankfully I didn’t because I don’t think our laundry quarters would stretch very far.

Jeremy was worried before zie left because we didn’t get a Tim Hortons coffee mug for zir Dad this year. Their Dad asks for one every year without fail, dropping repeated requests that start back in May. Two years ago I bought him one and Jeremy carefully placed it into a gift bag and signed the tag. Then it sat underneath the tree until I took the tree down and placed it under the end table… where it sat until the summer. By that time the package of coffee inside was about to expire and Jeremy gave the mug to someone else. Last year Emma bought him a mug with her own money. Once again it sat unopened until the summer when she took it out of the package and used it herself. This year he told her he really wants a mug because he threw away every single other mug they’ve given him because he didn’t feel like packing them when he moved. There was no way on earth I was buying him one but that didn’t stop Jeremy from worrying.

I pointed to the counter and the racks of freshly baked cookies. “I’m filling a gift bag of cookies for your Dad. Don’t worry sunshine, you’ll have a present for him.”

Jeremy sighed with relief and headed off to bed. Zie sighed too soon. Their Dad opened his gift then said, with obvious disappointment and sarcasm, “Oh cookies, yum, thanks kids.” Meanwhile he didn’t bring the kids anything, not even a card. I told Emma that if he didn’t want them, I’d take them back. There’s plenty of people who’d appreciate homemade cookies. There’s plenty of people who did appreciate them. I’ve been giving them out all month.

And then he got creepy. Joking that his mother should tell her friend she was too busy banging an 18 year old and a 13 year old to answer the phone. He couldn’t understand why no one else thought that was funny. Plus he repeatedly told the kids that all he wants for Christmas is to unwrap an 18 year old. The kids are 17 and 19 years old and found their Dad’s unsubtle hints that he wants to have sex with someone their age beyond gross. Hearing about his comments makes me want to get a scrubbie from the kitchen and scour myself raw. I can tell myself (truthfully) that he’s gotten worse over the years but still…

Finally it was time for them to leave. Their grandmother bustled around, making sure they had their Christmas cards and that everyone was in their coats and set for a goodbye hug and kiss. Meanwhile their Dad wandered over to the bed and laid down, immediately pretending to fall asleep instead of saying goodbye. He might claim he passed right out except when Emma announced she was sure he was lying on her tablet, he conveniently rolled over and off the device.

Jeremy hasn’t said more than five words about the visit. Instead zie’s been anxious and fidgety about everything else. Repeatedly commenting about the remote control car, dissolving into tears when I asked to pause the Christmas music zie’d wired to the tree so I could listen to a video for a minute, barely able to sit through dinner. Zie settled down at bedtime and has been quiet ever since but I can honestly say I’m glad zie only sees zir Dad about once or twice a year. I wish that wasn’t the case. I wish zie had an amazing father. But as Karen says regularly, it is what it is.

I’ve got a very laid back day planned for tomorrow. Roasted sweet potato soup and homemade cinnamon buns for lunch with Emma and Mark followed by a quiet afternoon and an easy dinner. And this is what’s waiting for Jeremy when zie wakes up.

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I can’t say it’s a silent night anymore because we’re now getting wind gusts of 100km/hr but hopefully tomorrow will be filled with peace.

Sweet dreams and best holiday wishes to everyone!

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