Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday 5: It's Christmas Edition

1. Happy Festivus. We celebrated by cleaning house, which is a feat of strength in itself. I’m pretty sure the grumbling by the Little Explorers counts as their opportunity for Airing of Grievances.

2. Today is also our British neighbor lady’s birthday. We rounded up the Little Explorers, The International Man of Intrigue tuned his guitar, and we walked down the street for birthday caroling, including, “We Wish You a Happy Birthday.” I was a little disappointed we didn’t get any figgy pudding in return—it seems like something British people should have lying around.

3. If you're friends with me on Facebook, we’ve done the “What’s your favorite Christmas song?” question. How about this one- what’s your favorite Christmas movie? I LOVE “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Typing the title, it takes all my power just to keep myself from typing quotes. I also love the movie “White Christmas.” We’re waiting until the day Amelia Earhart, Gertrude Bell, and Laura Ingalls Wilder can sing “Sisters” together, while Arthur Dent accompanies on the piano. Plus, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye aren’t hard on the eyes in that movie. Best thing? “White Christmas” is referenced in “Christmas Vacation” when Clark says, “Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.”

4. Christmas in the military is weird. It’s a constant state of rolling with the punches. There are Christmas traditions, but you never know where or if they will even take place. When I was growing up, it was always the same. Midnight Mass, coming home to lots of snacks, and getting up to open presents at the crack of dawn. As we got older, we started opening our gifts on Christmas Eve. There were always mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls. Cinnamon rolls with powdered sugar icing taste like Christmas to me. On Christmas day, we’d spend time with my dad’s aunt’s family. We’d come home and eat the tamales his cousin made for dinner and wash them down with cinnamon rolls for dessert. In later years, one of the kid cousins started making kibbeh to honor her Lebanese half. Let me tell you, kibbeh and a tamale on a plate might sound weird, but it works. Now, halfway across the U.S. or more from our families, we have tried to create our own traditions. We ate Chinese on Christmas every year when we lived in California. That didn’t work after we moved away—nothing was open. The last three years have been measured chaos- one year of an empty house with a borrowed tree in California, and the next with an empty house and some home made decorations in Sri Lanka, both with bags packed, ready for a move around the world. Last year, I was in New York with a four pound Laura Ingalls Wilder, coaxing her to grow so she could get out of the NICU so we could go home to the rest of the family in Florida. So there is always something different. We try to keep The International Man of Intrigue’s family tradition of  eating Mexican food and drinking margaritas on Christmas Eve, either before or after Mass. Santa always brings Legos, and underwear in stockings, and, no matter what, we do our best to be together, or at least be close to the ones we are with.

5. Happy Birthday, Jesus. What do you get a guy who is over 2,000 years old?  (That one was written by the International Man of Intrigue, who is tired and ready for me to wrap this up so we can go to bed.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday 5: Of Birth Parent Letters and Holiday Hip Hop

1. Every six months we send pictures and a letter to our adoption agency for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birth parents. Finding the pictures is fun. I enjoy the stroll down the last six months of memory lane. She stood up. She had her first Halloween. There was her first birthday. The letter is much harder. At the request of her parents, ours is a closed adoption. I have her parents’ names, ages, and a brief, worry free medical history. That’s it. I actually know more about the friend of a friend I met at a Christmas party last weekend. It is momentous, massive, heart breaking, breath stopping, and amazing to think that complete strangers gave us their baby. All that is true, but when I try to put it on paper every six months, in a letter that may never even be opened if her birth parents never decide they want contact, it always seems insignificant. 

Thanks for your baby. We love her more than anyone can possibly imagine. She is almost ready to walk.
          The complete strangers you trusted with your most precious gift, The Intrigues

2. The other day, the three older Little Explorers were roughhousing like something out of the Thunderdome, if the Thunderdome was louder and less organized. I was a little worried about Laura Ingalls Wilder, but I looked over and she was inside the pack and play with her face smushed against the mesh sides, watching it all in complete safety. It was kind of like the nets they put up at Nascar races to keep people from being hit by tires, only the pack and play was protecting her from flying Little Explorers and couch pillows, mostly.

3. It’s a wonder more spousal homicides are not directly related to whose turn it is to get up with a crying child. Not that I’ve ever contemplated offing The International Man of Intrigue in the middle of the night. Well, not in the last 24 hours, at least. 

4. My friend recently saw a picture of Amelia Earhart all dressed up at a dance party birthday. She was surrounded by friends, equally made up and sparkly. This prompted the friend to ask what a group of divas is called. Her vote? A Distraction of Divas. I think it works.

5. Tonight was Gertrude Bell’s holiday program at school. She actually had a big speaking part. After the acting portion, the kids performed a dance to LL Cool J and Naughty By Nature songs. I’m still trying to figure out if her teacher is super hip or I’m super old.