Grandma was excited to get her presents. Dad and I got her an Amaryllis bulb that you grow yourself on your kitchen table. We also got her an indoor strawberry bed. She was so excited that we had to plant the bulb immediately and take 30 minutes to find a cat safe place for it. Man she was like a little kid that just got the perfect thing. I finally got pictures of her where she's not all pissy and mean looking.
Dad liked the knife the best... but he immediately opened and thumbed through the Spongebob calendar I bought him. Asshole even has me secretly watching Spongebob now. He'll love it when his version of Uncle Tom's Cabin comes in the mail this week. I think I spent $3.50 on it. He's got 2 more books too, but I won't say what they are, yet.
Aunt Lynn loved her presents. She's so easy to buy for... and the joy she felt by being loved enough that I made sure to get her some presents too showed in her eyes.
Everybody ate and had a good time Christmas Eve. There were some emotional moments. My niece was overwhelmed with feelings of grief and missing my mother when she got to the back living room and saw that it was pretty much the same as it was the last time she was here to see her adoptive Grandma. It was at that time that I finally knew what to do with some of the jewelry Mom had. B got a nice probably CZ ring that kind of looks like a flower. T chose the setting with a Sapphire in it. Poor B told me that she felt bad for taking the ring and cameo because she thought that Dad and I could use them. I just explained that neither of us would wear it and Grandma would rather someone that's going to use it have it.
I almost had to go to the bathroom for an extended cry session. I fought it back though. Both girls seemed quite pleased with their spontaneous presents. And I'm glad they'll be used and cherished.
I've had a lot of good memories be made over the last few weeks. I'm happy my Dad decided to be a part of the good things, the spirit of the season. 2012 will go down in Spiers history as the year of the duct tape because we duct taped everything, including the garland and the lights in the living room.
Just seeing Lynn smile and be her happy, almost aloof self makes my heart smile. She was excited about her surprise presents. She even gave me a hug and a kiss over the fruit basket I made for her. I think she had a good holiday season too.
Now, to the more serious portion. I was moved by the emotional reaction Christmas Eve. Like I said, I was about to cry like a baby with a 20 lb diaper. I felt the need and that the time was right to impart some wisdoms to my nieces. I can't just keep the guidelines to myself, though. So here it goes:
We all lost someone special when Mom died. Unfortunately that's a hard part of life, and one I had difficulty accepting. I put myself in the mental hospital to get better a few months after Mom passed. I turned to Tramadol, klonopin and a lot of alcohol to help me get through. Foolish and irresponsible, I know. I just had to kill the pain somehow. I know you want to kill your pain. It's ok to feel. You can feel that pain and emptiness as often as you do. You're allowed. Cry. Talk to Mom or Dad. Talk to me. Talk to R. Play softball or the saxaphone or whatever.
See, when Mom died, I took on a special responsibility. The responsibility of being a good role model to you girls and A. A for a different reason than yours. Either way, it is my duty to instill into you the values Mom held and taught me. It's my duty to love you and be a part of your lives, to watch you grow and learn and hurt and heal and love and be loved. I probably won't get to know the joys of motherhood myself, but I can contribute to the next generation (you) and make sure you know that you're loved, cherished even, that you're valuable, that intelligence, kindness, empathy and standing up for the right thing or against injustices far outweighs looking pretty, being skinny, materialism.
I didn't know how to take on that responsibility. I wasn't emotionally ready to either. I even cut ties with R for awhile because I feel the same responsibility towards her. It freaked me out. I accept it with open arms now. Keep these things in mind:
Cherish warm moments and memories.
Don't hang onto negativity.
Harbor positive thoughts and emotions.
Don't kill yourself asking why other people do what they do. We'll never know until they're ready to face reality.
Your life is what you make of it. If you want a positive, happy, drama reduced life you have to be positive, happy and relaxed.
Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself or other people. She told me at least a million times that she wished she had the courage to stand up that I do. I can hear her saying it right now.
Make every moment count.
Don't forget to have fun, explore, enjoy life.
Accept no boundaries. Do not let anyone, ever, pigeonhole you into thinking you can't do something great with and in your lives. My principal in high school told me that I'd end up being a nobody, a nothing all of my life. It may have taken me awhile, but I'm beginning to accomplish things... great things. I started a support group for people with mental health issues so we can have a voice in things too, I'm stable enough with the bipolar that I can write these novels that I have in my head and become a famous author Either way, I'm touching people's lives in a positive way now. It's great knowing that if I succeed with the support group I can literally change how mentally ill people are treated. And I'm going to be a nobody forever. Pffft please.
Don't be afraid of aunt Sarah. She has a disease in her brain that makes her emotions do crazy things like be really depressed for weeks, sleeping 20 hours a day or so or she can get so excited and happy that the world is perfect sunshine and rainbows. Or she can be both at the same time. I know that when she feels threatened or provoked into defending herself or someone else (especially kids) she yells and screams and threatens. She's really a soft-hearted woman that will lay down her life for any child. The mental illness she has is really a bad one as far as what it does to people, it's difficult to treat, sometimes the medicine makes you so sick you'd rather just be crazy, sometimes the medicine makes the disease worse. She also didn't have a great childhood so she feels more defensive over kids.