Saturday, November 25, 2006

Countdown

Thanksgiving, for this year is now history; so is Black Friday. Now, at least for me, the countdown to Christmas begins in earnest. Well, considering my track record pertaining to organization and procrastination, it begins as earnestly as I will ever begin anything involving a "countdown."

The way I see this, in order to have a "countdown" towards something as important as the Christmas holiday, one must have a game plan. To have a game plan, definitely requires organization. To be organized, one must not indulge either in that other big issue that is a major problem area for me - procrastination.

This a akin - for me - to making New Year's Resolutions - something I did away with in my life many, many years ago. Actually, I wonder if I ever MADE any New Year's Resolutions in my entire life and if so, did I ever hold up to any of them for more than the time it took to decide I was making that resolution? Probably not.

In years past, prior to Christmas, mainly when my kids were youngsters, I was much more "organized" about my shopping. I started it the year before the holiday often with the after Christmas sales and would purchase clothing in sizes larger than the kids were currently wearing -usually in much larger sizes to allow for growth spurts - and these purchases would then be stashed in storage, in hiding, for gifts the next year. With my economic set at that time, it was often the only way I could afford to get nice clothes for my kids at what I considered "decent prices." That aspect of Christmas shopping would continue throughout the entire year as I would try to pick up bargains at close-out sales when the stores would start bringing in new merchandise for the next season. Rarely did I have any (or not much) shopping left to do then by the month just prior to Christmas and my kids would usually have a good supply of gifts under the tree of clothing. Yes, some of the packages they unwrapped in December were items that were geared to summer wear - sleeveless shirts, light-weight fabrics, etc. - but they were happy anyway, knowing it was the thought that counted in the gift - along with the number of packages they received.

My kids grew up knowing better than to ask for any outlandish gifts - expensive toys, fad-type clothing that was also usually outrageously priced. They knew it would automatically garner one of my two pet responses to requests like that: "People in Hell want ice water, see how far that gets them." Or my other oft-used reply - "Wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which one fills up first."

My son likes to point out that he was raised "poverty-ridden" and that he had made the choice to stay in a situation like that when he decided he was going to stay here, living with his mother and two sisters, rather than going to live with his father. His Dad had made the offer for the boy to come live with him when he was twelve years old because, as Dad had pointed out to him, he was now old enough to make that decision on his own without the courts intervention.

What had ensued after my ex had told the boy that lovely tidbit of wisdom was roughly three, maybe four weeks of misery for the kid as he tried to weigh this in his mind and would end up in tears over trying to decide should I stay with Mom and my sisters or go live with my Dad. I had told him I would allow him to make this momentous decision and would abide by his choice too, but only if he agreed to seeing a counselor to form his answer in a way that would allow him to see the entire issue clearly.

And, from September of that year until the following spring, the boy saw a counselor sometimes by himself, other times with me and/or his younger sister present, and we all worked this out together. After roughly six or seven months of the counseling, one day as we walked into the counselor's office, he announced he had "made a decision" and believe you me, my heart was in my throat wondering what he was going to say.

It was much joy that I heard him tell Dave, the counselor, that he had decided he was going to stay put with Mom and the girls. Dave then asked him what made him come to make that choice and the boy's logic then amazed me.

He had said that if he went to his Dad's, he knew he could then have the prized attraction - a four-wheeler - to ride, to play with and he knew there was no way he would ever have something like that if he stayed with Mom. But, he also figured out that if he went to live with Dad and had that precious four-wheeler, he would also not be able to ride it except maybe on Saturdays or perhaps Sundays, depending on whether Dad was working those days or not and also, depending on Dad's mood of the day as well. He also determined if he went to his Dad's place, the fact the house where Dad and his step-mother lived was right along a very busy highway so he would not even be able to ride his bicycle - also a very prized possession of his - and furthermore, he had come to the conclusion that Dad was trying to buy him with promises like this just to get him there and thus, lower his child support payments. Smart boy, huh?

No way was this kid going to be fooled by the lure of "Come live with me and be my love" and the promise of roses lining his pathway. I don't know when I was ever more proud of my son and his abilities as I was that day. I don't know either of a time in my life when I was more frightened either though.

My son loves to remind me and also, has no qualms about telling others that he chose to stay with Mom and he chose to live a life that was "poverty ridden" as a result but, to this day, he has no regrets for having made that choice. Now THAT really makes me proud when he tells me this or repeats his story to those who have no clue as to what his life was really like.

The girls were never given any options - no choice about who they would live with. For them, it was a given that they would stay with Mom. Probably because my ex thought he could impart more of his male chauvinistic attitude on to our son easier than he could deal with PMS and the moodiness young girls are notorious for as well. I don't think the thought of inviting either of the girls to live with him ever crossed his mind! I'm glad it didn't too because they might not of been able to sort through the offers and see "the forest for the trees" the way our son did. The girls both had a tendancy to be a trifle more materialistic back then.

But, had our son decided to go live with Dad, I think it might have been a very rude awakening for Dad, more so than for the boy. Dad only thought he knew the kid! Just because the boy was very interested in cars and such manly things, what Dad never knew about the kid back then was that he had other interests and had they become evident then to Dad, he may have been really worried that his son was a tad on the "wimpy" side. The boy was then, still is, very interested in art, which Dad has absolutely NO INTEREST in whatsoever, and the boy was then, still is, much like his mother in that he is a total, unadulterated sentimental slob too! And I don't think that would have gone over too well with the ex as behavior becoming to a MAN!

And, today, it is that sentimentality side of our son that usually brings forth some strong feelings from me - of so much pride in him that I could just about bust every button on my apparal when I see that part of him exposed. I am also so proud of him and his commitment to his beliefs - how he feels about racism, bigotry, prejudice, feminine issues, domestic abuse and violence - things of that realm that often with other young men his age in this area are never thought of except that they are accepted as the "Norm."

And, my son doesn't believe that is the way things should be and it sure does make the old lady here fill with pride to see I managed to instill a good sense of right and wrong in him in that respect somewhere along the way.

I tease him that it has to be the choice of the lullaby I used to sing to him when he was a baby - "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar." He says it can't have been that but then I point out to him I never sang that to either of the girls so what else could it possibly have been then?

That's my story son, and I'm sticking to it. And, for the record, I used to try to whisper-sing that to my older grandson when I thought I could squeeze it in to him and I fully plan on singing that - full-blast too - to the little grandson as he grows up too. It worked before, why not again?

"I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers to big to ignore." Yep, works for me, for sure!

1 comment:

SingingOwl said...

WOWZERS! Now you got me singing...

And thanks for your encouraging comments on my blog!