Christmas is for Kids, Right?
Dear Blog Friends,
I'm back! Refreshed and renewed? Well, that is debatable.
I attended a 21-day prayer event at my church in Texas (yes, online church is popular these days – part of our crazy lives.) Now, that was refreshing. Lots of incredible praise. (I think my church has every pro-level musician in the state of Texas.) Lots of encouragement. Lots of reminders to believe for what is good and right. Especially helpful at this time when we can’t understand a blasted thing our government is doing. Also, God must have known I needed strength for my holiday visit.
I will say my trip to New York for Christmas was challenging. A three-hour weather delay caused me to frantically urge my cab driver to make it to Brooklyn in time to pick Elodie up at Montessori and meet the teachers and families. The cab ride, hindered by school buses dropping off every child in Brooklyn for their holiday break, prompts a few expletives, my driver in Pakistani, me in English.
I met Mary at her coop door with minutes to spare. She flung my two-ton bag full of gifts through the door and we sprinted to the daycare, Mary crying, “Hurry, hurry, I don’t like to be late.” I thought I might expire at the pace but, by God, I was going to visit the school!
We arrived and no problem. Swarms of parents were gathering children. No one noticed we are nanoseconds late. Inside, Elodie cried “Mommy!” Mary, afraid early on that Elodie might never stop saying, “Daddy, Daddy!” now could do with a little less, “Mommy, Mommy!”
Elodie recognized me not at all. Twice a year is not enough to be known by my grandchildren – even with Facetime and multiple kisses on screen. Oma Facetime is not Oma in person. I was ok with that because I knew within a day, I would be Oma again.
I greeted Elodie's teacher and we gathered her things in the stroller for the walk home – slowly.
Life has changed at Lenox Road. Elodie talks now – a lot. Her hearing issues have not slowed her down at all. Montessori and Mom and Dad have worked wonders. And Elodie is a firecracker anyway. But here’s the question: how many times can you dance to “Baby Shark" and keep your sanity? And what was the new obsession with “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star?” “Dar, dar, dar!” she shouted until Daddy played "Twinkle" one more time. When Ishaan arrived with Jenny for the holiday festivities, the fever roses. There as no hope for the grownups. We were slaves to Sesame Street, to “Dar”, and to that damned shark.
The day proceeded with gift opening. The flashlight I brought Ishaan went over less well than I planned. He’s obsessed with light switches and climbs anything to get to them, endangering his physical well-being. The flashlight has three cool, bright LED settings. I was hoping it would distract him from the wall switches. Not so. The flashlight landed on the floor and Ish got busy climbing a chair to flick the kitchen light switches. The keyboard I brought Elodie was well received by all. Everyone’s a pianist, it seems. Then when she smacked Ishaan with it, shouting, “Mine!” the keyboard was quickly stowed away.
I shouldn’t leave out a few wonderful stolen moments with my daughters: on stroller walks with kids facing forward,, brunch without the kids, and a short chat with Steve about his life. But let’s face it, our days of dinners out in Manhattan, shows at BAM, and brunches at Blessings are on hold for a while.
Back in my quiet apartment, I noted a text from Mary with a link to a Late Late Show episode. James Corden called up a song that defines a generation called, yes, “Baby Shark,” performed by James, Sophie Turner, and Josh Groban. I know you will want to hear it so here’s the link. Please note that James mentions having heard Baby Shark with his three kids, many, many times. (I apologize for the mandatory ad).
Now imagine this song being played 150 times over three days at the speed of light, two toddlers and their parents and grandparent whirling and twirling until they are dizzy. Then imagine Steve, the frayed at the edges son-in-law, cracking out the only drink he can find in the house – bourbon – and we grownups clinking our glasses and downing a straight shot.