I’d woken up feeling shaky and nauseated the day before Christmas. I honestly didn’t think I’d had that much to drink the night before, just some champagne after work. I’d been sober enough to read 15 pages of The Hobbit out loud at bedtime. I’m always aware of the fact that there’s a child in the house and someone needs to be sharp enough to perform the Heimlich Maneuver or a crude tracheotomy. (I keep forgetting about 911. I could actually just go ahead and descend into genteel alcoholism, but I feel like that’s something I want to save for when I’m elderly and frail and have trained a herd of small dogs to make beer runs for me.) But I’ve had this cold for weeks and my defenses are down. An afternoon nap helped, but then the whole sleepless cycle started all over again, fueled by a boy who loses his mind every Christmas Eve.
“Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.”
“Hi. I’m awake. What time is it?”
“I don’t know.”
“Look at the clock.”
“Can you come snuggle with me? Mom? Mom.”
“No. Go back to bed.”
“But I can’t sleep!”
“Figure it out.”
“Mom. Mom. Mom.”
“Yes. I’m still awake.”
“I still can’t sleep.”
“Well, climb in, then.”
“I don’t want to sleep with you guys.”
Sometimes there’s no point in requiring him to be grown-up and independent. My God, he’s only ten, why shouldn’t I get into his bed to talk about video games, or death, or Yoda, or whatever it is we talk about on Christmas Eve? (We talked about 30 Rock and girls. And death.)
“I’m going to get you guys up at five o’clock so we can open presents!”
“No, you are not.”
“Yes, I am! Five o’clock!”
“Dude, don’t even think of opening that door until there’s a six on the clock.”
“Okay, I’ll get you up at 5:06.”
“Goddamnit, that’s not what I meant. I mean when the first number on the clock is a six.”
“Five thirty, then?”
He let us sleep in until 6:30. We’d taught him to use the espresso machine the night before, and he was under strict instructions not to wake us up until he’d made a double espresso with two sugars and an almond-milk cappuccino. And God love him, he did it.
But Christmas morning I felt like Death. No, wait — how could I feel like Death? Death is sharp-eyed and clear-minded and gets more than five hours of sleep a night. I had turned into something much worse.
I had turned into The Christmas Dick.
When people ask The Christmas Dick what she wants for Christmas she thinks, “Nothing?” and then spent 20 minutes on Amazon looking at colored tights and mid-range watches. She’s polite enough to throw some stuff onto her wishlist that she sort of wants, but she’s too conflicted about the meaning of it all to remember that people want to buy her something nice because it makes them feel good to do it. She gives with love but she’s not nearly brave enough to want nothing at all.
So when The Christmas Dick gets what she asked for and finds that she really didn’t want it at all, whose fault is it?
A. It is the fault of The Dick, clearly
B. It is her husband’s fault, because everything is
C. Jesus started this whole mess, I’m sure it’s in the Bible somewhere
D. All of the above
The correct answer is B: it’s her husband’s fault! And then after some breakfast and a nap, the answer changed to A: Her own damn fault. And then the next day when her husband told her to exchange the watch for one that suited her more, the answer changed to C: Jesus, the Bible, WalMart, Amazon, the English (because of their cultish love for King Wenceslaus), and the Germans (because of the tannenbaums).
Luckily, since the replacement watch will qualify as an early birthday present, The Birthday Dick is no doubt hiding right around the corner! To be closely followed by The Valentine’s Day Bitch and The Easter Cunt.