Joined at the Heart · Writers Write


I’ve lost my keys. I haven’t lost keys since . . . I was a school teacher. I’ve been through the laundry, looked under the car seat, pilfered around the piles of leftover Christmas wrap. No keys.

I haven’t been blogging. I’m aware that the posting of kid picts is not a substitute. The kids are cute, but that’s beside the point. I have a bad attitude, and I grew up with a Mama, whose favorite saying was “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

I’m not angry. I’m whiny. I hate whiners, and I don’t like myself when the impulse takes over. So, I suppress. There’s a problem with suppression. I call it the Statin Principle, like the cholesterol drug. When you take one of those little pills so your arteries don’t fill with goo, it works indiscriminately. Your LDL drops–the lethal goo that causes trouble.  But so does your HDL–the good stuff that keeps your body working.  It’s a Catch 22.  

No matter what Mom said, I can’t write when I suppress. So, here it is. I like Christmas, but it bugs me. I don’t like obligation gifts. I don’t like obligation parties. I don’t like to make excuses. It feels like lying, but I don’t like hurt feelings, either. Catch 22, again. I don’t like television ads that market to my children. I don’t like people who randomly give my children sweets that destroy their teeth and make them crazy, then leave it up to me to be the bad guy. Ditto with dollar store trinkets that might be covered in lead paint. Try telling a seven year old that the cool mood ring is poisonous. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

But, I do like Christmas. I do. I love my girls on Christmas morning. I love new pajamas. I love the gifts they choose for me. I love watching them play with new toys all day.

I love to remember the time when I was 10 or 11. My brothers were home. BBC1 just back from Vietnam. BBC2 leaving for Vietnam just after the holiday. They bought me a Twirling Baton and wrapped it in a tube, calling it a “Glass Map of South America.”

I love to remember the surprise in my Dad’s voice when I phoned him from China on December 25, 2002. “Hello Daddy, Happy Birthday. I’m holding your newest granddaughter.” Baby Coco squealed in the background. I shook with pride, elation, and gratitude. “Thanks for everything, Daddy.”

Not every moment is a peak experience. Good thing. Sometimes, I have so much emotion that I have to suppress. Take the pill to get through the mist. Some days, it would be enough to find my keys.

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