Night Life

Small gifts along the way

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.



Sometimes we get tired of being the bigger person, but I think it's marvelous that you are managing to do so anyway for your boys. And your "madly exciting couple" comment cracked me up. At least you were doing something TOGETHER. :)


Good for you. GOOD for you.
You make Jack Nicholson want to be a better man. And you make me want to be a better man, too.


Wait, I'm sorry. Did you say something ELSE here? Cuz I'm mostly just stuck on how Max HUGGED CLAY. MAX. Can Raphi be far behind? (Cue the Twilight Zone music!)


Hi, my name is Liz and I'm a recovering lurkaholic and dork.

I love your blog!

Come visit my January 5th post and be a part of De-Lurking Day.


Way to go for being the better person.
glad the boys enjoyed the gifts, such as they were...
and WOO WOO for the hugging thing....its becoming clear how the boys feel about Clay....he sounds like a wonderful person...must be, cause he's got you!


I HATE when the non-custodial parent doesn't do all they can to be there for their kids. HATE it. Probably b/c, Corey is the non-custodial parent b/c the law rips on dads (thanks to dead beat dads the world over) and the X has way too much power and won't even let us see DSD unless we drive to Alabama during Corey's non-existant vacation time and she refuses to tell us anything going on in... well... never mind. I won't rant here. LOL! Anywho, I just wish your boys had a dad who cared how Corey does.


How awesome that a disturbing thing (ex's sudden interest in the boys) led to a sweet thing (Max's sharing some love with you and Clay). Here's hoping for all the best for you and yours as this year unfolds.

A Lurker


My own absent father only made me more thankful for those around me who really did want to know me. Maybe that's the story for Max, too.



Tough choices, but you did the right thing.

My name is Shelley and I'm not lurking today!


The high road is rarely the easy road. You're doing great. :)

BTW...I'm Lisa and I greatly enjoy your blog. I'm celebrating De-Lurking Day and raising $$ for tsunami relief. Read all about it at my blog. :)


Happy De-Lurking Day! Although your blog is so compelling that I find it hard NOT to comment.

I think you did the right thing. It must be so hard, though. The trash would've been calling me too.


Happy De-lurking Day! I read every day, even if I barely comment. Sorry to hear about the upheaval. It sounds like it was all okay though. It will make them appreciate you more. It made me appreciate my mom more.


Happy de-lurking day, Kira...

I definitely know what all of that can feel like after having the ex pop back into her life after all those years of absenteeism.


Great writing, as always. Even though I'm a regular reader, I know I don't comment enough. So, I'm de-lurking :-)


Great writing, as always. Even though I'm a regular reader, I know I don't comment enough. So, I'm de-lurking :-)


Oops! Went a bit overboard on my de-lurking!


Just logged on to read your blogs for the first time (first time to read ANY blogs, to be honest)...I love your honesty (not a surprise) and how you bring a smile or chuckle out of me as I read. So glad your mom told me about this!

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