So, this just happened.
When me and Sammy are apart for more than a day, Sammy has taken to asking for long phone conversations. Like 2 hours long 🤭 About things like… the zombie he defeated in his game today… or the hats we are wearing today. 😴
Yes, hats. I can’t talk about freaking hats for any longer! So like any decent parent – I try to distract him from the topics he is actually interested in, squash his spirit, and indoctrinate him with what I like. I mean… broaden his horizons. Yes. I like to broaden his horizons.
Today’s topic? Politics. Specifically: why I wasn’t hanging out with Trump while I was in DC.
The conversation went something like this:
“Well, bud, the thing is that Trump and I don’t agree on a lot of things so I don’t hang out with him”
“Like what? What don’t you agree on?”
“Hmmm… well, you know when you go to Callum and Finn’s? And Finn can eat really fast and wants to eat all the pancakes? And after he’s eaten lots I make Finn stop, and make sure you and Caroline have enough pancakes? Well, Trump thinks that if you are good at eating pancakes you should have all the pancakes you can get… I think you should have lots of pancakes, but not let babies like Caroline go hungry, just because they can’t eat quickly…”
“Trump sounds like a very bad man”
“Well… I don’t know bud… I don’t think he is very nice, but some people like him and you have to make up your own ideas about him”
“What else does he do?”
“He’s just not very good at sharing bud”
“Is this like when Caroline wants to dump all the sugar on her pancake, but you say she has to have a sensible amount so that we can all have some sugar? And when she ends up with more that everyone, you just say I have to just look at my plate, and if I have sugar then I don’t get to worry about Caroline’s sugar?”
“But if she takes all the sugar, and I have none, I’m allowed to get mad then?”
“I guess so”
“Trump is very naughty! He’s going to get in trouble!”
“Ha! Funny you should say that! He already is!
“He colluded with the Russians”
“What does that mean?”
“Well… America is a country, like England where Mummy is from is a country, and Russia is a country… and America – and England for that matter – don’t like Russia.
And Trump was friends with Russia”
“I don’t understand”
“Like, think of someone who did something really bad, like they might to go jail bad, and Trump is friends with them”
*gasps* “Mummy! Is Trump friends with the man who stole all your money?”
“That’s so bad. I don’t like that man”
“He and Trump should go to jail together!”
“…….”. “So bud, guess what? I bought a new hat today… it has ears like a cat!”.
Never discuss money, religion or politics with polite company. Or with your 5 year old…
Nope, not “epiphany” but “Epiphany”. So (sadly) I have not had either a major breakthrough nor a dramatic insight. However it *is* the time when we (us Christian-folks) stop celebrating the birth of Jesus and on the date (ahem, cough cough) that the 3 Kings came and acknowledged Baby Jesus in person, we start recognizing Jesus as The Son of God, and so appreciate all His sacrifice for our salvation.
In other words, we stop partying and start praying.
AKA: We gotta take those Christmas decorations down (sob).
In fact, US-peeps may not know that for us UK-folks, Epiphany (or 12th night) is often considered the date by which all our Christmas decorations must be down or WE SHALL BE FOREVER CURSED. Or at least, if not exactly forever cursed, we will have bad luck for the year… and weirdly, for a repressed group of folks such as us Brits, we do often adhere to this superstition. Feeling like I have had enough “bad luck” recently (thanks 2017), all my decorations are indeed down now (sob, again), although due to my slight tardiness I decided to adhere to something I read on a pottery board* this week (always a good place to get religious and / or metaphysical advice…) and chose midday on Epiphany as the final cut-point rather than the night before Epiphany. (And should anyone care to know, this involved me running outside in my PJs, glasses, and bedhead into freezing cold Houston at 11.45 am this morning and hastily taking down my outside decorations… nice mental image for you there).
If, like me, you don’t really recognize NYE due to all the post Christmas booze and cheese muddling your brain a healthy recognition that progress should be a constant process free from the constraints of artificial checkpoints, Epiphany is also a time when it is hard to avoid looking back. And let’s face it, 2017 sucked for me. Like, here is a real, actual screenshot of Webster’s Dictionary:
A really, bad, awful year:
noun a.real.ly.bad.aw.ful.year /Lekki in 2017/
- The year you nearly destroy your hard-won career trying to save your marriage only to find out your husband probably never liked being married to you, lied to you for 3 years about his earnings, stole $4K of tax money from the family, committed identify theft in your name, officially accused you of domestic abuse in a document to court, officially accused you of child abuse in a document to court, lied in court, smuggled drugs into Texas to sell using a credit card in your name, requested the court keep you from seeing your kids at all for two years, requested the court evaluate you for “the mental defect that makes you so abusive” and – possibly worst of all – spent the last 6 months you were together (and trying to save your marriage remember) setting you up and both secretly and not so secretly filming you to document you as violent and abusive so he could ensure when he left you, he got the house, child support and alimony. All while you were still in love with the guy who, OK, was a pot head and lazy, but was funny and laid back and good at things you are not (like building fences) and was, after all, your husband.
And the illustrated version has a picture of my “2017 best 9” from Instagram. Its an awfully specific definition, but I swear it’s there. And, I’m not saying this actually happened to me (denial is more than just a river in Egypt my friends), I am just saying this that would be a really, really bad year. And that I had a really, really bad year.
However, what amazes me is that the kids and I had the most amazingly, perfect advent season! (And I swear this is not the anti depressants talking!). We managed to hone our weekends to be busy, but fun, with lots of kiddo-mummy time, and we managed to check every Christmas box that either I, or they, felt needed to be checked…
And we did have a gloriously perfect, drunken (me), magical (them), spoiled (all of us) batsh*t crazy (also all of us), Christmas Day.
Such that, (and I swear this isn’t the barbital talking) when someone asked me what my 2018 resolutions were, despite thinking super hard, I couldn’t come up with anything I would change (nothing I have the power to reasonably change anyway…). I think I have figured out our finances, I have figured out how have some luxuries on a shoestring and stash a little away, how to have amazing weekends with the kids, how to stay on top of all those life things like car repairs and tax returns and changing air filters and de-fleaing the dogs… the house is kept clean (passably), and I cook a variety of healthy foods most nights (but we also visit Mickey D’s a fair bit because… academia people).
[Also, in the interests of honesty, the kids don’t actually eat those foods, but throw a chicken dinosaur or two in front of them and be quick or you’ll draw back a nub… but hey, I’m eating like a queen… Witness a wee sample of the beautiful meals my children have refused to eat
For now, I actually do just want to be able to keep doing what I am doing for a while… and there is nothing I want to improve…
In the end I came up with “seeing a new movie, and trying a new food” each month for my resolutions. Maybe I’ll do that… I don’t care if I don’t, but maybe I will 🙂
*Ummm… yes I did just admit to hanging out on pottery boards.