I have a deep sense of peace this Christmas. There are many reasons why, but I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that life is moving forward constructively. This year I told the kids we weren't buying presents, but would be going places instead. Still, I ended up buying Disney Infinity. I'm not at all sorry; it's much more creative and far less creepy and violent than Skylanders, which I loathe and can't wait to get rid of. I convinced them we should sell the Skylanders to buy more Infinity characters. High-five to myself lol.
It's the first Christmas without the kids seeing their dad. I was resigned to that because I know he's not in good shape to see them, but still feeling upset for the kids. Whiz Kid informed me yesterday that we should pick up gifts for him anyway to save until we see him. So I was pretty angry last night when my MIL called to tell me he had unexpectedly turned up at his dad's door the night before, 30 minutes after we left, freezing cold and skinny as a rail, claiming he walked and ran from the jail about 4 miles away after being released. We thought he was still several counties away; he says they transported him back here to clear up more minor charges. Who knows. His dad let him spend the night, fed him, and drove him back to the state capital where he's been living with some guy he left the psychiatric ward with in September.
I'm not sure if I'm more upset that he didn't try to see the kids while he was here, or glad that we missed him without the kids having to know it. Very mixed feelings but sadness is certainly the overwhelming one. I would have met him at a fast food place with his dad or something, just so they could see their father at Christmas. But maybe that would have been the wrong thing to do.
As it was, we blissfully went on with a wonderful day, going to the Children's Museum on the way to our church holiday feast. Then Whiz Kid served as an altar boy for the 3rd time this week, a responsibility he takes very seriously and appears to do quite well at. It's good to see him participating in the service instead of slouching and moaning in his chair, refusing to stand and whispering loudly, "How much loooongeeerrrrr?" He needs participation to be interested in things. Little Bear desperately wants to serve as well, but I'm concerned about his interactions with Whiz Kid and also with his best friend, who is the youngest altar boy. Both of them are very impulsive and inclined to forget their instructions as soon as any distraction presents itself. I know Whiz Kid will try to supervise them, and that won't be good. When Little Bear does begin to serve, we will have to coordinate it so that he is not with his brother or friend. And I will probably try to keep him at Vespers and let his brother take the longer Liturgy. He has stomach trouble, and is not inclined to stand still very long as it is.
Speaking of Little Bear, his academic scores are as high as Whiz Kid's except in reading, and his behavior in school is better. I'm very surprised and happy. He doesn't come across as the academic type but clearly he does fine. He has begun to develop self-esteem issues, though, and I'm not sure what to do about that or if it's a phase that will pass. Several times I've heard him complain how stupid he is, and he writes it sometimes when he's upset. I keep telling him that's not true, and trying to come down hard on Whiz Kid for mocking him, but so far it doesn't seem to help. I guess these things take time. He certainly is not stupid by any means, and I don't want him to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Anyhow, Merry Christmas to all! I'm delighted to face the year ahead.