I forgot to mention when I told you about my ex calling that he also sent the boys Christmas presents. He told me he’d sent them when we talked, and even told me what they were and asked if that was ok. They were fine (he got the ideas from his mother, who got them from me, so OF COURSE they were fine), so I told him no problem, I’d pass those along to the boys when they arrived.
They arrived the Monday after Christmas – what was that, the 27th? – and I promptly shoved them in the nearest closet and proceeded ignoring them. Now, in my defense, this was not as terrible a thing as it seems. Around here we celebrate all twelve days of Christmas, from Christmas day right up until Epiphany. One person opens a gift for each of the twelve days. It slows the great gift glut down a bit (nice alliteration, no?), and enables me to shop during the fab post Christmas sales. We also leave the tree and lights up until January 6, so there is the added bonus of our neighbors thinking we’re nuts or lazy or both.
Anyhow, I knew when the presents arrived that I still had ten days in which to give them. And I needed to think about IF I was going to give them to the boys at all.
Well, after a few days to calm down, I knew that YES, obviously I was going to have to fork them over. I mean.
So tonight Dad brought them in (ok, they’d been stashed in the outside shed), and I handed them to the boys.
“You get to open these presents tonight!” I was as cheerful as I could sound sanely. Calmly I added, “They’re from your dad.” The boys barely shot me a look at that, but proceeded to tearing into the boxes. Once Dad and I had sawed through the packing tape they pulled the packages free and ripped the paper off. Tre and Max each got a sleeping bag (something they’ve both wanted very much). Raphael got a large dump truck filled with Duplos. He set to building and driving immediately, and Tre and Max flung their sleeping bags out on the floor and climbed in. Right away they started hatching plans for sleepovers and campouts. Since neither of those would be happening tonight, they decided they wanted to sleep in their sleeping bags in Tre’s room. This would be a sleepover of sorts for Max, who was THRILLED at the thought. Tre was not so thrilled at the idea of Max in his room, touching his stuff, but quickly relented.
So tonight after a quick game of Clue, followed by a brief round of Uno (Max was so undone by being the recipient of a “draw two” that we had to declare the game done), Tre and Max hauled their sleeping bags to Tre’s room.
I was expecting much arguing and disruption. Many trips down the stairs to report the other brother’s horrendous behavior, stuff like that. But to my surprise they were fine. Tre read in bed, as usual, and Max settled right down.
I don’t know what’s going to happen with their dad. He hasn’t been in touch since last week, and history suggests it may be some time before we hear from him again. But tonight Tre and Max drew together to share what they have from their dad. They wrapped that warmth around them and enjoyed it. I asked Tre what he thought of getting a gift from his dad, and he allowed as how it was weird, but he liked it.
Sums it up, I guess. It’s no answer, these three packages out of the blue. It’s no relationship or proper apology. Possibly not even a new start. But it’s a gift, from their dad, and that’s a nice thing.
I’m glad I stepped back and let them enjoy it. I bit my tongue and said nothing but positive things (although between you and me? TOTALLY cheap sleeping bags). At one point Max came down after bed time to tell me something. I was standing at the counter in the kitchen, working on a puzzle with Clay (we are a madly exciting couple). Max came padding in and walked up between us, where he flung one arm around each of us. Clay and I exchanged a surprised look over Max’s head while he just pulled us tight for a moment, then turned and went back up the stairs to his new sleeping bag. Which he really wanted, and oh by the way, is from his dad!
There’s a part of me – I’d like to claim a small part, but let’s be honest here – that would rather have pitched the boxes in the trash. I mean, what the hell? He bops in after three years and sends some gifts? What’s that supposed to achieve? The boys don’t need that upheaval. I don’t need that upheaval. And more to the point, he hasn’t EARNED the right to be a source of joy for them. I’m angry and scared and angry again when he’s around, and I guess I want to punish him or protect the boys from their own feelings…I dunno.
But it was a good thing, letting the boys have what little their dad can give them. I don’t know what the fallout will be over the next few days or weeks, but for tonight they were happy – just happy – to have a little bit of something from him.