I waited too long to get my son an advent calendar from Trader Joe’s, so now they’re sold out and I feel like a bad mom.
Well okay, I felt like a bad mom before I went to Trader Joe’s.
Today, I made my son cry. And I made my mother cry.
Just for good measure, I asked my husband if there was anything shitty I could say to him too. Wisely, he offered no suggestions. 😐
The little boy’s upset was related to homework. Or rather, my upset was related to the homework (and to the accompanying note of parental reprimand from the teacher.) The little boy’s upset was related to homework and to my reaction. Big surprise. Might I just say, AGAIN, that I am baffled by the papers that come home with my son?
Getting him interested in looking at them is a daily nightmare for the two of us. He is tired when he steps off the school bus. He wants a snack and then something mindless to amuse himself for the rest of the afternoon. Homework is painful for my child and painful for me. We both hate it.
But enough about that. It’s an old, worn-out problem with no solution. I work daily not to care what the teacher or anyone else thinks of how we handle it. Or don’t handle it.
I made my mother cry because I reminded her that we weren’t the best of housemates when I returned from college feeling all independent and snappy two decades ago.
I had moved back into the house with her and my dad and she and I argued sometimes. Who wouldn’t have? Headstrong twenty-something suddenly sleeping in her old twin bed? I was unpleasant.
Ultimately, mom and I came to a mutual understanding that I needed to find myself a real job and somewhere else to live. It was an excellent idea, and I am the better for having done just that, but now mom is worried. She hadn’t remembered the low points of that summer until I burst her rosy impression over a cheap plate of pancakes at Denny’s this morning. Sorry, Mom! 😦
So, two for two. My son cried. My mom cried.
I cried too, but that came after I had filled my cart at Trader Joe’s and then discovered the item I had come for, the advent calendar, couldn’t be had. I bought every seasonal chocolate product the store carries.
And yes, I waited until I was in the car to open the teary flood gates.
Okay, so changing the subject completely…
Husband is mending more each day. He might even go back to work tomorrow – driving in his own car! Yippee! He is still uncomfortable at night and if you watch him for a few minutes you will notice how much he favors his right side, but he’s getting there. The ribs, the collar bone…they are repairing themselves.
The Mission Inn Festival of Lights
We drove up to Riverside on Thursday to spend one quick night at The Mission Inn. We sort of owed it to the boy (and ourselves) to do something spontaneous and fun to make up for the Palm Desert accident weekend. The Mission Inn was the perfect answer.
The Festival of Lights is amazing. There are animated characters, lighted horse carriage rides, giant nutcrackers, icicle lights, garlands, candles and falling snow too. There are real reindeer and vendors with gingerbread, roasted nuts and miniature doughnuts available every night during the holidays. There are Christmas carolers and a roving Santa in the restaurants.
The sleeping rooms are luxurious and full of charm. The spa products in the bath are rich and fragrant and the windows actually open. The beds are very comfortable and loaded with extra pillows. The linens are crispy white and super fresh. There are big fluffy bathrobes in the closet and the package we got came with a divinely citrus-scented aromatherapy candle.
The hotel itself is a work of art. There is a rotunda with a spiral staircase. There are gorgeous plazas and flowered balconies. There are stained glass windows, catacombs and an amazing clock. The hotel pool is walk-in warm and landscaped to feel private, even though it is surrounded by sleeping rooms. Everything is beautiful. Everything is humbling. And we didn’t even see it all. We saw a lot, but we missed far more. Next time, I think we’ll take a guided tour just for the heck of it.
My favorite thing was the twenty-foot, ornately carved church pew sitting in the hall outside our room. I told my husband that I would gladly tear up the inside of our house and completely rebuild our decor to accommodate that pew, if only they would let me have it. Sigh.
One of the best things about the trip for me was the little gray striped cat who appeared at the pool when we went for a swim. My own gray baby passed less than a week before. It was comforting to see a similar little face so clearly interested in my activities. When my son splashed near, this cat was just as reserved and removed as my Poupon, but when my son wandered away, the cat came a little closer and talked a little more insistently to me. I wish I’d gone back down to visit with the cat once we were dry and dressed. Maybe next time.
Before I change the subject yet again, I have to mention Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s, the store across the way from our room. I went in once with my husband and son and immediately I knew that I’d have to return again without them. When I did, I bought a painted metal bird and a weird little nativity set.
Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s is jam-packed with the most interesting little trinkets, wrapping paper, bath soaps, whimsical tins, garden treasures, dishes, tiny paintings, knick-knacks and Christmas ornaments ever! The hours aren’t set in stone, but it seemed to me there was someone behind the register most of the day. It will take you some time to see everything, so be prepared to browse for a while!
The little boy has liberated some empty magazine files from my bedroom and is constructing makeshift body armor with scotch tape.
The husband is playing computer games and I am dreaming of pajamas, ice cream and a better camera. 😦
The last remaining cat has finished eating dinner alone in the kitchen.
And tomorrow our routine starts all over again.
What are you up to?
P.S. That Santa plaque at the top of the post is something I picked up on clearance in Bazaar Del Mundo a few years ago. It reminds me to tell you how emotional it was for me when Santa stopped by our dinner table at the Mission Inn Restaurant the other night. It was the first time our ten-year-old had ever met him. Because of the many challenges our son faces just getting through a “normal” day, we have never bothered with shopping mall Santas and their incredible lines. We’ve never been to any event where Santa was a main attraction and even the occasional Santa in front of a store or at an amusement park has always been too removed or surrounded by other children for us to have a meaningful experience. This time, Santa came to us and asked our son what he wanted for Christmas. Our sweet little boy told Santa what we already knew…he just wants pencils. 🙂