#238 (Christmas with S)

This is the first year in a long time that I’ve opened Christmas presents in a house that wasn’t either owned or occupied by someone I knew or in my own house. I rented a house located near the foothills of Mount Hood to accommodate our commute up and down the mountain for the next several days of skiing and having fun in the snow. This is also S and my first event together that included all her kids. 

Now I did Christmas my way and bought presents that I thought her kids would like. I know two of her kids would appreciate their presents as they expressed interest in the theme of their gifts. However, the younger of her sons is the questionable one as it’s hit and miss with him. Oh the adolescent millennial male. 

Regardless of their reaction (excited or non-engaged) it matters not as I cannot control how they act. I can only control how I react to them. I read that somewhere in one of those self help books as I was going through the loss of my first wife many years ago. So whatever will be will be – isn’t that an old song…

I packed up my truck, which just came out with a ‘good to take on this road trip’ thumbs up from her new doctor (mechanic), and headed to pickup S. Now once I picked her up, we had yet to finish the grocery shopping, and then had to collect her kids from their dad’s house. 

I expected drama…and it showed up 

The grocery shopping with S wasn’t bad as I had my list of things to buy based on meal planning which we agreed on days in advance. Prior to grocery shopping, I did create the list based on our menu planning and after reconciling with items I already had in my pantry and refrigerator. It turns out the list wasn’t as long as it seemed it was when we were planning out the meals. 

The drama didn’t hit until we were at her kids dad’s house and when her younger son broke a unique Christmas ornament that his grandmother on his father’s side had given his father. Basically he broke one of his father’s keepsake ornament passed down from the family. 

Now no hell actually broke out, but apparently his father wasn’t happy which caused the younger son to sneak out the back door of his father’s house and scamper across the front lawn. I didn’t realize it until minutes later when we were packing up the rest of her kids in my truck that we saw her youngest child in the back seat in hysterics, and adamantly refused to go with us on our skiing trip. 

After S tried to coax him without success as it didn’t help that S forgot to get his outer winter gear from the back of her car. His dad came out and also tried to calm him down, which he did temporarily with an alternative plan to clothing. 

Plan B was concocted with her youngest using some of his moisture wicking clothes he had at his dad’s place and to borrow some of his dad’s clothes which then only added more fuel to the emotional turmoil her youngest was experiencing. I figured the breaking of the precious family ornament and now having to borrow from his dad’s closet set him further into an emotional tailspin. 

Plan B worked for a brief moment until round two of fighting broke out as there was no ski jacket available.  Finally after many moments of yelling and actual hatred and hurtful verbal exchanges from both the parent and the youngest, they were able to connect with his grandmother who agreed to bring her youngest son’s clothes to a meeting location between where their father was and where S lived. This meant another 45 minutes or so before we would actually be on the road to the rental house. 

I drove towards our rendezvous point in awkward silence for the first 10 minutes or so but then began talking with her daughter. Soon the tension broke and they were back on somewhat amicable grounds. The silent peace treaty was in force and conversations took on a normal tones until grandma showed up at the meeting location. One last of mother son argument occurred when he still refused to go to the rented cabin in the woods. 

During the drive to the rental house, I learned the kids’ father is very strict with their kids in that he strikes fear in them when they do anything wrong. So maybe that’s why the children are the way they are. And whenever asked if they would spend time with their father, they all would opt not to go if given the choice. So sad as this is very contrary to my upbringing. 

The gift exchange

All was normal during our drive to the rental house. We reached there a little over an hour and unloaded. The kids retuned to being kids and were excited and claimed their individual rooms. One we toured the house and the sleeping arrangements were decided, I started on dinner as S decided to relax and the kids unpacked. 

After dinner we opened our Christmas presents and I got genuine tears from her youngest child as he wasn’t expecting the gifts he received from me. It wasn’t the values of the gifts , but the fact that he appreciated what he received. It was a breakthrough to see the loving side of her kids as each seemed genuinely happy and appreciable. 

The evening ended on a high note as I got legitimate hugs and thanks from each of them. 

#life #teenagers #emotional #firstchristmas

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