The gift that keeps on giving.

(flashback)

Big Boys: (yelling) Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, dad!

Husband: It’s okay to be wrong.

(scene opens in Christmas flavored pandemic parlor)

Husband: (unwrapping present, pauses in wonder) Oh. You didn’t.

Big Boys: (yelling) Mom! You didn’t!

Me: (smug) Now every year we can read it on Christmas eve and remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Big Boys: (yelling) Mom!

Me: Maybe you’ll stop complaining about being forced to watch the Hogfather every Christmas eve?

Beta: I thought you loved us.

Me: I love your father more.

Ars Gratia Artis

(scene opens in dining room)

Me: (slowly and carefully assembling flower pieces)

Beta: (enters from kitchen) Those are really pretty mom. Can I pick one up?

Me: (abstractly) Sure. Be careful.

Beta: Now what are you going to do with them?

Me: (sighs) I don’t know.

Beta: Something else to lay around the house and gather dust?

Me: (reprovingly) Maybe. Not all art is profitable. Sometimes we do it anyway. Because we can. It makes the world a prettier place.

Tough Crowd

(scene opens in dining room)

Delta: (watching Carrot light Advent candles) What are those for mommy?

Me: Each week we light one to remind ourselves what’s important; Peace, Hope, Love…

Husband: (interrupting from foyer) Profits for the candle manufacturers.

Me: ….and Joy. Which your father is.

Delta: No, he is pain and despair.

Me: Well then.

Husband: I heard that.

Lessons for my Daughter

(scene opens in dining room)

Me: (brushing Gamma’s hair) You’re getting so tall. You’re so amazing. (rests chin on top of Gamma’s head)

Gamma: I am tall.

Me: (continues brushing hair) I want you to know something. You’re going to be tall like your father’s family. Me and Aunt T? We’re not tall. Your dad? Very tall. (turns daughter around to face her) I want you to understand something very important.

Gamma: (uncertain) Okay?

Me: (smiles gently) There are going to be men out there who are going to be threatened by a tall woman. Because it makes them feel like they’re not strong and in charge and you know what? (stops smiling, pokes her chest) You don’t need men like that.

Gamma: (throws arms up) I AM INVICIBLE!

Me: You are.

Gamma: And I have poison coming out of my teeth. I’ll bite them.

Me: (kisses her forehead) That’ll learn ’em.

Old Fashion Hobby

(scene opens in dim dining room, homeschool hell in progress)

Me: (frowning, thinking, typing slowly)

Gamma: (comes around table to look over Carrot’s shoulder) Black Phoenix Alchemy? Is that for me? Because I like alchemy?

Me: (confused) What? No. Go back to your chair.

Gamma: (lingering) I’m curious.

Me: (sharply) Go!

Gamma: (flouncing away dramatically) Why isn’t it for me? Why won’t you let me do alchemy?

Me: (struggling to focus) Black Phoenix Alchemy is a perfume site, not alchemy.

Gamma: (bemoans) Why doesn’t anyone do alchemy any more?

Me: (trying to articulate) Now it’s called chemistry.

Gamma: Doesn’t sound as much fun as alchemy. I suppose I could do chemistry if I had to.

(Carrot puts head down on table, fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Did you eat them?

(scene opens in dinning room)

Husband: (grouchy) Beta is wearing shorts.

Me: (too through) I told him to go through Alpha’s dresser for jeans if they’re not in his.

Husband: They say they don’t have any. Alpha has been wearing the same shorts for two weeks now.

Me: But…I went to Goodwill. In a mask. I bought a dozen. It’s a pandemic. We. Haven’t. Been. Anywhere.

Husband: (throws up hands)

Me: (still confused) All the laundry has been done.

Husband: I told them at lunch they’re going up to their room and finding all their pants.

(the two stare at one another)

Me: It’s gonna get real cold in here when the Polar Vortex comes and they have no pants.

Husband: I doubt that will motivate them.

The kid gets it.

(scene opens in dim dining room, pandemic homeschool in session)

Delta: (climbing into his chair) Mommy, I was made for two things.

Me: (clutching coffee mug) Oh yeah?

Delta: Yeah. Eating chocolate and playing games!

Me: Those are good things.

Delta: And loving you! (big cheese five year old grin)

Me: (sound of heart melting) That’s three things.

Delta: Yeah. I made a mistake.

Regrets? I’ve had a few…

(scene opens in morning parlor)

Me: (comes downstairs to collective cheers of MOM!) Hey guys. Beta, come here.

(scene changes to kitchen)

Me: (opens fridge, hands Beta large styrofoam cup) I thought it was going to be a can or 1-liter, but it’s a root beer. I ordered cheese fries last night and got you a rootbeer ’cause the pizza places never have them. It might be flat. Sorry about that.

Beta: That’s okay, mom. I’ll –

Alpha: (suddenly appears) Did I hear someone say cheese fries?

Me: (hands Alpha a styrofoam box) Here’s the last of them. I couldn’t finish them all.

(Gamma and Delta run in, chanting “Cheese Fries!”)

Me: Christ! I’m not awake yet! (rubs face) Alpha, could you share a little of your fries? Like I’m sharing with you?

Alpha: (resigned) Sure.

(twenty minute montage of arguing over cheese fries and lamenting not enough cheese fries and wanting moar cheese fries)

Me: (head in hands over cooling coffee) For the love of… I should have thrown them out. Why do you make me regret the things I do for you guys?

Gamma: Because we like food.

Delta: Because I’m five.

Beta: (smugly slurping root beer) Wow, when did he get self-aware?

Me: He’s always been more self-aware than the rest of you. Maybe you guys could go somewhere and let me have my coffee in peace?