Saturday, December 25, 2010
(Father) Christmas Past, Present, and Future
Daisy, Beast, Fire, and I are all spending Christmas at my dad and Step mom’s home. My sister, brother-in-law, and their three boys are here as well. The packages have all been opened, the food has been eaten, alcohol has been consumed, movies have been watched, toys have been assembled, the internet has been browsed and couch naps have been taken.
Just as the coffee was being brewed and kitchen snacking on fudge and cookies had been restored to life, my father began to reminisce on Christmas past. He noted a particular Christmas when my sister had become a recent Madonna convert and was listening to, “Papa don’t preach”. Evidently this was bothersome to my father and he had remembered it for all of these years. Perchance it was the idea of teen pregnancy or that Madonna was talking to her father in a commanding tone that appeared to be disrespectful. Hell, maybe she played it too loud or too often. Whatever the case, dad was annoyed back then and I was currently nervous. Why?
Well let’s move on to my very own Christmas present, except let’s make it yesterday. Daisy and I went to the Christmas Eve service at church. Y’know the Christmas Eve services that are offered five times throughout the day? Y’know the Christmas Eve services where people show up a half an hour early and save seats for the whole damn pew by laying jackets and purses down? Yeah, the family comes 15 minutes late and, oops, Jack and his 5 kids aren’t able to come so now the pew is have full and the balcony is crammed so people are sitting in folding chairs and everyone around the, “HEY, these seats are saved!” lady are pissed but trying as hard as they can to still praise the baby Jesus as nicely as possible.
Because what the “saving the seats” people did was put us directly behind the head pastor with our kids who do not always behave in a godly manner. After Fire yelled, “Jesus in a manger? That’s silly!” for the pastor and half the sanctuary to hear (including the “saving the seats” lady who gasped in horror) I took him, kicking and screaming, to child watch. After Fire was contained I had to walk the aisle of shame back to my seat at the front of the church.
I was a bit of a grumpy dad so when I saw a young child with a ponytail sticking out of a shaved head I was, well, annoyed. What are those parents thinking? How could that kid think that haircut is cool? I wonder if he would still want that ponytail after I swung him around by it for a half an hour? Then I stopped. Uh oh.
Right around the time my dad was annoyed by my sister’s music I had bangs that went down to my chin, hair on the back of my head long enough to be braided, the sides of my head shaved to the skin, and a cross my dad constantly threatened to rip out, dangling from my pierced ear.
Now let’s move to my Christmas future. Am I going to make excuses to the family for Beast’s blue hair or Fire’s midriff? Probably. No! Probably not. No! Never, they are just teenagers finding their independence. Ugh, but what if it is a reflection of the internal evil I did nothing to stop? How can this be so difficult? How was my dad to know that after my sister listened to, “Like a Virgin” it didn’t mean she was days away from losing her own flower which would eventually lead to her saying, “Papa Don’t Preach” to him?
I guess I can just love them no matter what. Ultimately, I think that is what the baby Jesus would want.