Tuesday, March 13, 2007

St. Patrick's Day = stress

Our Family has these extra traditions, that tend to stress me out, the odd part is I am the one who came up with them. St. Patrick's Day is coming, and I am not prepared. For what? Well in first grade my son heard a story about leprechauns pranking you if you don't put something on your front door, a shamrock maybe (fuzzy fuzzy brain wont tell me), and I said cool so we will get one and put it on our door, and my son was like "no way, I want to be pranked". So every year since then he wakes up to a house full of pranks, and a hidden pot full of fake gold coins and chocolate coins, hidden somewhere near something that serves as a rainbow. Last year, we were to be away on vacation during it, so I said well it couldn't happen, and my son was like "well then I am not going, there are only so many times a year anything good happens at this house and I am not missing one of them!". ( I couldn't decide whether to be pleased that he enjoyed these holidays, or to feel totally dissed about how substandard he felt the general home thing to be). Ugh. What to do, what to do? How could I prank the house while not here, could I rush back into the house after we packed the car and do it, so he would return to a pranked house? In the end I decided to prank the hotel we would be at, so I bought all kinds of cheesy fake stuff, hid it in the car, took it with us, and crawled around on the floor (of the one room and bath) place we stayed at (other people's dirt germophobe me), at 1:30 am to set up these pranks. (Husband did not find all the marbles on floor next to his bed, at all funny). So now here it is another year, and I got nothing, and I mean, I can't do repeats. Can I? Can I please do repeats!! I am not a prank person, I do not like april fools day, and the husband is no help at all. Me, I am, every magical creature, or being that makes things happen in this house, he is the person who watches TV and then goes to bed.

This summer for Christmas in July, I got caught. Why the heck did I ever start this one? A daydream I had, that I had a boyfriend whose mother did this (I was younger in the daydream than I am in real life, hey that is why it is called fantasy), you would wake up in the morning on July 25th and the house would be cold (air conditioning), there would be a set of new christmas themed pj's at the bottom of your bed, you would put them on, and go downstairs, and the whole house would be decorated like christmas, tree (smaller one), tinsel, lights, christmas music, christmas specials on tv, windows covered in that fake frost so you can't see the lush greenery of July, hot chocolate, sugar cookies, and some little wrapped gifts. I thought it would be fun so I did it. (I now do a more breakfast like menu and have given up getting up at the crack of dawn to put hot cocoa on, and stuff in the oven). Well that was all well and good when he was younger, though I must say that child never ever ever has gone to bed at a decent hour. Now that he is older, it is even harder, first the siamese cat follows me around while I try to set everything up, and meows, and meows and meows, then he runs around and trys to get at whatever I am doing (yeah he is only 12 pounds, but he sounds like cattle stampeding). Long story short, this summer, my son at about 3 in the morning comes downstairs, I wasn't done, I hid in the shadows around the corner of a hallway, and he walked around and around, and around, said"huh", went upstairs ( I didn't move), went into my room, came down and walked around some more. He went upstairs but didn't go to bed, lights are on, he is waiting. Ugh!!! So, I take some clothes out of dryer, and carry them upstairs, "oh hi, I say, you shouldn't be up", "where were you?" "Oh I just remembered I had forgotten the wash, I didn't want it to get wrinkled, and went down to get it" ("then why didn't I see you?". Ugh damn it! "I don't know, I was there"). He still didn't go to sleep, he wandered around, and talked, and talked to me, we discussed how it seemed that "they" (we have theories as to who they could be, such as elves who got sick of the North Pole cold and moved somewhere warm, Florida maybe, but missed their work, so they bring stuff (but only to some very special boys and girls, in summer. And another one involving other magical beings jealous of Santa so they are trying to encroach on his territory. Or a prank meant to confuse us as to the real time of year) had sort of come, but hadn't finished. And I couldn't finish setting stuff up, it was disappointing. And with my guilt I blamed him, "you know magic like that, can't happen while you are watching. I am sure they got startled away, and wouldn't come back to finish" to which he reminded me that I had been up walking around too.

I don't know, you would think, it would all be over now, no way he could buy it anymore, well if so, he is admitting nothing. I imagine if he knows, now, he is shocked, for he would think me to lazy to have been doing this stuff all these years. And has often remarked that the elves do a better job of decorating for Christmas in July, than I do decorating for Christmas. ( he did walk up and down the stairs this Christmas too, but we had wised up, one big gift from Santa, and then little gifts from us in different wrapping paper. He caught me with these but that was ok. I told him I thought we (his parents) should start getting him stuff too, because as kids get older and older they eventually get less stuff from Santa, because the gifts get more expensive, and you know there are a lot more kids in the world now, and it used to be simpler stuff like wooden trucks and dolls, but now it is Xbox, and Wii, and also grown-ups don't get gifts from Santa, but they do get gifts from their parents, and relatives (in honor of Christmas. Which is about the spirit of giving, and love. I can honor God and have Santa too.)

it is weird as parents, the wanting the child to still believe, and the feeling that they are old enough not to. I don't ever remember believing (the tip-off, I never got what I asked for, what I really wanted. One year, I asked for a toy horse pulling a cart/carriage, and I got a plastic mule pulling a wagon in some mining themed type of thing. Santa would never do such a thing to a 5 or 6 year old girl, it wasn't a revelation though, I had known). I still loved it all. The stories. The myths. The culture that hands this down from one generation to the next, as a gift to believe in magical things. I don't think of it as a lie at all, rather a reminder. When the world was newer, each sunrise was magic, the world was vast and unknown, and what wasn't understood, was filled with awe, and given meanings, sometimes wonderful and sometimes horrible. I still think the world is that way, vast, greatly unknown, filled with things we don't understand, with great beauty to fill us with awe, and things both so wonderful and so horrible, that we try to fill them with meanings, or say it is all devoid of meanings. But it feels like many people think it is known, because of what we do know, and because we understand, seasons, days, the tilting, turning, planet going round the sun. I don't know the more I learn, the more amazed I am. I don't know maybe I am just too stupid to be scientific, but it is all magical to me, meaning mysterious and enchanting (the how it happens doesn't explain the why). I have no interest in slight of hand, or tricks, but seeing the magic in the natural. And people's minds, and ideas, and creating stuff, that is magic. A myth, or an idea, passed down like this, something beautiful in it, the spirit of the idea (which is a good spirit), goes on and on, someone to give gifts, to bring joy. I suppose in some ways it is like a game, we all play, together. And I am grateful that I have gotten to play such a wonderful game, both as child, and as a parent.

back to how we observe them-
The Easter thing ( the greatness of spring) (I love Easter), involves hidden eggs (of course) with some special plastic ones, with riddles inside, you have to figure out to find gifts hidden in the house (lots of bad rhyme involved there, and special handwritting). Of course there is chocolate!
Halloween is the easiest one, with the great pumpkin (it is the one I came up with first, obviously from Charlie Brown). You wake up the day after Halloween night, and if you are a kid, there is a gift inside your pumpkin. This evolved because no one was helping me, in any way, do the pumpkin carving, and the great pumpkin will not leave you a gift inside your pumpkin if he can't because it isn't a jack-o-lantern. (now why he would want you to masacre them I can't say, my reasoning is, it is more about embracing the pumpkin part of the holiday). My Husband hated this one, the first time I did it, thought it would mess our kid up in the head, and all the other kids would make fun of him. In 05 it didn't happen, no one carved, but last year, he was determined to get the Great Pumpkin to come. My DH can stick a sock in it.

which brings us back to-
I have to figure something out, for Saturday, and my mind, is blank. My son loves this game we play together, and so do I (as soon as I can figure out what the heck I am going to do for this holdiay).

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