The Christmas cards are rolling in over at our place. I love opening these seasons greetings and seeing my friends and their kids, another year older—some with new, teeny editions. I tape them all up on the back door that leads out to the balcony. So far, the cards are all pretty classic and warm. Think glossy, red and green, families smushed together on a bed in cozy socks and sweaters; a little boy in a red shirt with his dog in front of a train background; snow falling perfectly like a ballet of ice. Our Christmas card isn’t so traditional this year. Here’s why …
As you know, Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, New York and particularly the Jersey Shore hard. Both my mom and older brother live down the shore. While the condo (my summer oasis) is still standing, there was structural damage and the surrounding area is just a disaster zone.
The boardwalk where JD ate ice cream and played mini golf is … poof … gone. The waves crash at the street now. While the condo gets fixed and the area improves, my mom and her dog, Max, have been staying with JD and me. Yes, I’ve taken in the displaced (as Carlo would say) and it’s been quite interesting. From my mom asking me about my “thong underwear” to Carlo sending me harassing texts to the tune of, “I want my dog back.” (For the record, I bought that dog in December of 2006 for my mom.)
I get along with my mom, Jacklyn, (JD is named after her) and love her, but when you’re used to living alone with your child, things can get … ah, close. And it’s not like I have a giant house—we live in a nice-size two-bed condo. There’s a pullout sofa bed. JD is thrilled to have his Mema at his disposal 24/7. Jackie cooks, does laundry and cleans—not because I ask her, too. I’m at work and JD is at school. She’s there. I’d be lying if I said coming home to filet mignon, made beds and clean clothes wasn’t awesome—and much appreciated.
I also have a free babysitter at my disposal. She kicks me out as much as she can and encourages me to “be normal”—whatever that means. Mostly I’ve been taking advantage of the gym at my condo and going out after JD goes to bed once in a while. It’s nice to have a reliable family member around for JD—especially one who doesn’t consider herself a babysitter, but a grandma. She’s loving this, too.
Sometimes I think life hands you things. It gives, takes away and gives back when it’s supposed to. Having my mom here has been a blessing on all accounts. My birthday is next week and while I’m not so much focused on my age, it reminds me that as I age, so does my mom. I’ve throughly enjoyed spending time with her. We chat after JD goes to bed. We have coffee on my work-from-home days. I think she’s leaving the first of January. I will miss coming home to her. To the smell of cooking food, to Max the dog and how he sits under my desk when I write and sleeps nestled next to JD—or on the top of the couch like a cat.
Hurricane Sandy taught me a lot this year and it really helped me to just let go of stuff I can’t control. It was complete chaos for so many people in our area and still is. My friends’ homes were filled like pools, trees took out cars and I know people who lost everything. As the year closes, I’m just thankful that my family, as always has hung in there … and that I’m certain the tide will pull in and out tomorrow like it always has … good or bad, there’s always a tinge of silver lining there. Watch for the sun to hit the water. You’ll see what I mean.
Happy Holidays from JD and me!
Let’s get a discussion going! Do you send out holiday cards? What does yours look like? Do you get along with your mom? Share!
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