Today is Christmas Eve. 4 generations.
We waited for mom and dad to come by so we could get some pretty things for card making. I wanted to show you how to make our own cards. And let you have fun with paints and sparkles. They didn’t show. So we went all together, you me Liza and both of your coughing gooey nosed colds. I decided not to care if someone scoffed at taking a baby out with a sloppy new cold.
We got strapped in and I forgot my list, and when I got back the dog, Georgia had hopped in the car and was on the passenger seat smashing a dry flower wreath I was going to drop off at the neighbor’s. Georgia had also tried her old spot now occupied by Liza’s carseat and had upset the baby in it. I shooed her out, tossed the wrecked wreath in the trash and we sang our way, sissy crying the entire trip, down the hill. At Trader’s she was strapped in the cart and you promised not to put things in unless I said it was okay. After a pie, some horrid looking strawberries and a rum soaked raisin loaf cake hit the bottom of the cart, I stopped and firmly reminded you about our agreement. I didn’t even hold your upper arms this time, you still cried at my firmness. You re-agreed. I reminded you when you reached one more time to put your hands in your pockets. I am sure I growled like a bear. What pockets you asked? UGH. I wiped Ellie’s nose so many times it started to redden, so I used my t shirt hem as it was softer. I tried to keep it out of sight under my jacket. She stood with the straps tightened several times. Ellie, sit down. Put that back, I told you. No we are not going to buy that beer for Uncle Neal, that cheese wheel for Grandpa or that huge candy cane for anyone. Uncle Mike doesn’t need more candy. Let’s get your yogurt. Great. You found it. Sit down, Liza. She wiggled and cries in earnest and I notice that she put two legs in one hole and was squished.
I unstrapped Liza and hooked her to my hip and watched a bottle of syrup drop to the floor with a crash and the man (this is true) behind us slide his walking cane into it and nearly fall. Liza caught him. Or rather he caught me and Liza with the one-armed grab. Sissy squealed and he glared and adjusted his hearing aid which was began a piercing electronic squeal. Liza stopped and stared, then shaping her mouth into a bow, delightfully mimicked the squeal of his tiny ear machine. I wiped her nose, went for help and you wailed because of the spilled syrup and glass. In an intake of breath you asked if you could please have just one taste of it. What are all these people doing shopping on Christmas eve? NO.
At CVS where I decided, because of its proximity to Trader’s, we’d get art supplies to add to what we already had, the store was packed with sketchy people. One bumped me and I tightened my hold on my purse. as he went for the strap. He and his friend were asked to leave the store. Sit down, Liza. Another knocked our basket in a squirrley drunken walk toward the door and a lady smiled a rotten tooth smile, with accompanying breath, at Liza and petted her head. Shescreamed and tried to get back to the safety of my hip. You said to her, “Don’t touch my sister without permission!” bravely stomping forward, “And you don’t have permission.” you shouted after her. We got some paper, new markers, “They are not called felt tipped pens, Grandma” you said. And you tossed a blue car, a book and a fairy princess set into the basket along with some kind of dried spicy meat stick.
Up the hill sissy started to doze, but had a coughing fit and threw up the baked ziti lunch we had just before we left for town. We were almost home so I didn’t stop, but you told me it stinked really bad and threw up, too. OMG. Just stay home.
I once told your mom, “Never to feed kids in the car seat, it just messes them up,” I’d explained every time I’d cleaned them up for her. Never put kids in them, that’s the real secret, I now realize. No kids in the car seats, no dogs in the car, no wreaths on the seat, no trips to town at Christmas time. Just stay home and make cards with natural objects. Use what you have. Or don’t make anything. Just skip the holidays. Right.
I just finished your stockings (you and Liza are asleep). I just had to do a little something sweet, from my own family tradition, with my hands, and for you and your sister. Christmas should be a special time. I love you guys. I love you being here. Even if we can’t see it sometimes. Its true. You will always have a home here with us if you need it. Always. Tomorrow we go to Auntie Robin’s to have dinner and open presents and we’ll sing on the way to town. Merry Christmas, gma-ma