My son called The Husband one December and said, “If Mom hasn’t already bought my Christmas stocking underwear, let her know that I wear large now and not medium”. This sounds kind of adorable until I tell you that happened this year. And my son is 32. And married. I can’t help but wonder if this falls sharply into the #parentingfail category. Of course I rushed out and bought him large boxers. It’s a tradition dammit.
I really don’t feel that we failed as parents but there was a year where our path of life bifurcated and our family took the hard road. What would have happened if we had taken the other path? Is there an alternate universe where a perfect family now resides with perfect kids who buy their own boxers?
Back when I believed we were the perfect family, I used to send those Christmas letters, the ones touting the straight A’s Johnny made and the perfect SAT score Sally made. (Wait. Who are Johnny and Sally? My kids probably sat behind Johnny and Sally in class so they could cheat off them.) Our boys were never the straight A type, but we still had plenty to brag about…
I wrote the 2001 Christmas letter (more of a jingle, really) but The Husband wouldn’t allow me to send it because 2001 was a really crappy year in our family. So we opted not to send the letter which was the right move. Had we sent it, most would have believed it was a work of fiction. Regrettably, it was 100% true. So here is an excerpt from our 2001 Christmas letter:
Jingle bells, our life is hell, all we can do is pray.
Oh, what fun we’ve had this year with teenagers at play, hey!
Dashing home to find that Taylor’s been up late,
hosting a beer party while we were out of state.
Jake got a speeding ticket and he’s been in two small wrecks,
then there’s the incident in court where he pleaded no contest.
The jingle went on to single out the kid we still liked that year while calling the other two to the carpet for making D’s and F’s. It wrapped up nicely with a little segment about The Husband losing his job, Taylor wearing a sling, Jake having hand-surgery and getting bit by a copperhead snake. Here’s the actual letter for those riveted with my prose:
If 2001 was a crappy year, things actually got worse. From 2002-2012, aka The Crappy Decade, I stopped writing Christmas letters because if you didn’t believe 2001 really happened, you would have called me a liar to my face for the things that I “alleged” happened during The Crappy Decade. But in December of 2012, my son got sober. By the middle of 2013, my two stepsons did the same thus ending The Crappy Decade.
We exchanged Christmas presents last night with my son and when he opened his size large boxers with the glee of a six year old on Christmas morning he announced with great pride that he still has never bought a pair of underwear for himself. “Hmmm,” me thinks, “#parentingfail?” Then I open my present from him and it’s his five year sobriety chip. Five years since we got off the crappy train.
Now that’s Christmas.
Somewhere in an alternate universe the perfect family’s son is whining, “Mom, why do you still get me boxers? I’m 32 for Pete’s sake”.
#sothisischristmas #wegotthis #sobriety #parentingwin #buyyourowndamnboxers