I hope you are all surviving the week before Christmas. I don't know about you, but I personally find this to be one of the most stressful times of the year, that I have not yet learned how to enjoy. I am a procrastinator by nature and also not a money saver - so when Christmas rolls around I find myself panicking about how I am going to level up to all the gift giving.
Just when I think I have everyone covered, I get a text from a friend:
"Hey, when can we connect so I can give you and the family your Christmas presents"... (Note to self, add that friend to the shopping list)..
Then, me: "omg, yeah for sure, yours too.." (to self: fuuuuuck [insert head in palm emoji])
Oh and Then this one actually happened while picking up my kids from school last week:
The other mom: "Here you go, Britni, this is just a little gift from our family to yours, Merry Christmas!"
Me: "Yay!! I'm totally bringing yours.... um, tomorrow!.. look at you all on top of things..." (to self: we are supposed to bring presents for all of the families!?"
The other mom: "Haha, yeah, it's Friday... Merry Christmas."
Like. Where do you draw the line!? I am 27 years old and every year still shocked by the amount of people I should give gifts to. Is this just an only child thing? Or do other adults with siblings experience this too? I NEED TO KNOW! I feel like something is wrong with me.
The best Christmas gift you could ever give me, is to please never get me something. Casey and I do this ever year - we promise not to get each other something and it is so worth the relief not have to worry about one more gift.
Anyway. That's not even what this email is about.
It's about my own children and how Casey and I have handled Christmas shopping for our two kids.
For those who don't already know we have one biological daughter, Hadley and one foster child that we are in the process of adopting that I cannot share any identifying information about because by law I am required to maintain confidentiality about this kid until adoption is finalized. Meaning, I cannot share name, age, gender and so on. So for the sake of telling stories I will refer to this child as "Pat" a gender neutral name. I will change between "he" and "she" to keep you confused about this kid's identity and you can assume this kid is between the ages of 1 and 14.
Here we go.
Anyone who has spoken with my kids in the last month has asked this question:
"What do you want for Christmas?"
AND EVERY SINGLE FUCKING TIME WITH OUT FAIL...
Pat: A real, live turtle that I can keep as a pet.
Hadley: A bunny, a kitten or a puppy*.
Every time. Both of them. They never mix it up, this is what they have both been saying for at least a month, maybe even several months. Idk.. I've been ignoring these outlandish wishes for so long, I've lost track of time.
* I am fluent in five year old little girl language and the direct English translation of "a bunny, a kitten or a puppy" is "adorable, tiny, fluffy animal". Important to know for later.
This isn't because I am a bad mom, it is because I simply cannot take on one more responsibility. Casey and I have two kids, two cats, a horse, a dog a handful of chickens and some mice in our house that our worthless, free loading cats haven't taken care of. Some pets we want, some we don't want. I won't say which.
and. Just no. NO.
Pat is still very close to some members of his/her biological family and sees them several times per week. A few days ago, Pat's grandma texted me: "Does anyone plan to get Pat a turtle for Christmas?"
And I responded:
Then Pat's grandma followed up with: "Oh, ok great. Because I found one for him and I'd like to get it".
Then I was like:
My next reaction was happiness for Pat. Pat has never had his or her very own pet before, and is now in a stable environment where she could have one. I also know that Pat would literally poop his pants if he got a real, live turtle to keep as her very own pet for Christmas.
Who am I to get in the way of this opportunity for a kid who has been dealt a pretty shit hand in this life so far? Is it really a big deal to take care of a turtle? Probably not.
BUT THEEEEEN. I thought of Hadley. Oh boy.
How is Hadley going to feel when Pat gets a turtle for Christmas, but she doesn't get her puppy, bunny OR A FUCKING KITTEN!?!?
Look. I know that not everything is going to be fair and equal for these kids. Life is not fair. or equal. But if you only knew what this little girl has given up to be the best god damn sister this planet has ever seen.
IF YOU ONLY KNEW.
well. I'm gonna tell ya.
Hadley was just 3 years old when we sat her down and told her that she was going to get a brother or a sister. We explained in 3 year old words that we were going to adopt a child, we didn't know if it would be a boy or a girl or how old they would be or when they would come into our lives but that our family would be growing.
Hadley immediately made a "bed" in her room that we were not to ever touch or move because it was for her new brother or sister. Hadley told EVERYONE "I am going to be a sister" (once she said this to a stranger while I was drinking a beer out on the spit and I had to explain that I was not pregnant, that we were adopting).
Once Pat came into our lives, he required a LOT of our attention and Hadley has taken this like a champ since day 1. Pat came with some really aggressive behaviors that unfortunately, Hadley has taken the brunt of. The first time we took Pat to a restaurant with us, Hadley dipped her fry in Pat's ketchup and Pat clenched up her fist like a grown ass adult and socked Hadley right between the eyes - true story. This is one, of many examples and this has been really tough for our whole family, but especially Hadley :(
Hadley had her very own princess room at my parents house, complete with pink walls and a royal chandelier. When Pat moved in and shared all of these things, and to this day Hadley has NEVER EVEN ONCE said "That's my room. Those are my toys. Those are my parents." Never. Even. Once. you guys.. she was 3 when Pat moved in!!!!!
She has not only been a trooper though these major life changes but she loves Pat so much despite all of the crazy. She is an inspiration to me because sometimes I believe she is more patient and understanding than I am. The other day Pat bonked her head on the table - like, a good one that left a little bump but not before causing lots of tears and screaming. Hadley latched on to Pat so hard and started sobbing, herself, so concerned about Pat's wellbeing.
Then I cried. Because she was crying and we all love each other so much.
So, anyway. Casey and I were on our way to the local pet store yesterday, The Wagon Wheel to pick out Hadley's Christmas pet...
And. We decided on a hamster because it was the cheapest option with the seemingly lowest level of care. No. It's not a bunny, a puppy or a kitten, but it is enough that our little girl won't be sad on Christmas. And sometimes, as a parent, you just gotta suck it up and clean hamster poop because your kid deserves it.
Here she is. Our new pet rodent that we need to not only keep alive, but keep a secret until Christmas. 5 more days, if anyone doesn't have kids that remind them a few times per hour.
She comes with a pretty fun, circus looking enclosure made entirely of plastic. This will be interesting.
Then, I shit you not.. this is a 100% real story:
Hadley and I were walking out to the barn to feed Ash last night and out of nowhere she said "We should get a baby hamster and name it Pumpkin Pie."
NOT EVEN KIDDING.
and there is absolutely no way she knows about this purchase. We have not discussed it in the same 5 mile radius as the kids and we are keeping the little ham in our storage room THAT HAS AN ALARM ON THE DOOR so the kids can't peep at their presents... #howbeesare
I was hoping to name it Ham Sauce since we already have a Weiner dog named Hotdog and an orange cat named Nacho, but, Pumpkin Pie is pretty god damn cute. All I said in response was "and we could call it 'Punkiny Pie' for short. But seriously, no."
And she said "Oh, like me!" with a big grin on her face.
So, diary. That's been my life the last few days. How about you? I hope your week has involved less pets and surprises and commitments. I hope you all bought presents from us a long time ago and were completely prepared for this gift giving season. OR you're holding out to buy a gift card this week :) A girl can dream.
Please enjoy 10% off of your next salty purchase with this discount code:
This offer is valid through Christmas Day and will end with my seasonal stress on 12-25-20 @ 11:59 pm AK time.