Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas List

Like uncontrollable children, we fought last night.

Jeanine wants a TV in the kitchen.

I’m tired of stuff. More stuff. This stuff, that stuff. I hate houses with TV’s in every room, blaring away, constant mindless feedback of a Madison Avenue designed world. I hate the thought of needing to be connected to images on a screen while cooking. Can’t we just do one thing at a time? I don’t like the message it sends the kids.

Jeanine stormed out of the room. I’m tired of living by your rules.

She wants to be able to watch the football game while cooking. It’s not a horrible request. It made me feel inundated with more stuff. The kitchen is cramped enough. It leads to the discussion of changing, moving, altering- I want a year off from those decisions. Even about a TV.


I received the appraisal of all my mother’s personal property yesterday.

I could care less about stuff. And I am drawn to it. Tangible pieces of my mother I can hold in my hands. The contemporary pottery figure of seated black bear, $45.00 is the trip to Pikes Peak where they had small shop and restaurant. A creek ran by a few feet away from where my mother and great aunts sat, drinking coffee waiting for the bill. We were allowed to go play by it- don’t get wet- after eating delicious pancakes drenched in blackberry syrup. My mother relaxed, we did not have to wait for everyone to finish.

A potted, plastic plant is worth more than my mother’s wedding gift of gold-rimmed glasses. Eight Steiff pewter tumblers, also wedding gifts, my mother always kept but refused to use. A fondue set my mother bought from a catalogue in a moment of nostalgia but never had the energy to use. A late 19th century Chinese porcelain vase, a contemporary glass ashtray. Two umbrellas.

A TV in the kitchen seems so petty, small.

I can’t bear any more stuff right now. I want a break. One year. No changes.

Ben’s Christmas list is prominently placed on the refrigerator. Cingular Go flip phone. Dance Dance Revolution, 2 mats. Gwen Stefani, “The Sweet Escape” CD.

He added one more last night.

9. For Mom and Mom to get along!

I took the list and walked over to him this morning. It really bothers you, doesn’t it?

He smiled, nervous he would be in trouble. Yeah.

We’re trying, sweetie. I promise, we’re trying.

Doesn’t sound like it.

I know.

Jeanine has every right to want a TV in the kitchen. It’s not about a TV, it’s about the rules she feels she has bent to over the years that did not make sense to her.

I have every right not to want one. It’s not about the TV; it’s about being overwhelmed with the reality of my mother’s death.

Middle ground is now an entirely new place. Different rules. Different words. We need to remember the promise we made the other night. Cease-fire.

It’s on Ben’s list.


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