Friday, December 28, 2012

It's a Wonderful Life...When You're Free

I guess most people would say it's not a great Christmas when the police show up in your kitchen.  That's what happened to me this year.  Technically, the police were there the morning AFTER Christmas.

My mother and oldest daughter continued the fight that started on Christmas morning.  That's when the younger daughter went into her sister's room and asked her to move the car so she could leave for work.  She works at one of Chicago's most prestigious restaurants and she was preparing for the Christmas brunch being held there.  All she did was ask to move the car.  She wasn't, "sweet."  She was in a rush.  The older daughter said, "Ask nicely."  And then it was, "Good Morning Vietnam."  Two young women screaming at each other to the point that their brother had to break up the fight.  One daughter left for work, and told me later that her head was pounding so much, she never really felt the joy she should have at brunch.  

The older daughter continued her rant for two full days.  Right after the morning fight, I tried to hide her car keys.  I didn't want her to drive in a rage.  She screamed that she needed a break.  A time out.  I went to Christmas Mass with my mother, husband, and son.  We were there 40 minutes early.  We needed a break.  A time out.  Thank you, Lord.  You're always there.  My daughter went to Mass at another parish.

I was hosting Christmas dinner for my family and my brother's family.  My daughter returned, and instead of giving her a hug, and being grateful that she came back, I said something stupid and cruel.   Guests were literally walking through the door, and my beautiful daughter was in tears.  I wished at that very moment that I was in a cell.  Peace.  

The next morning, day after Christmas, my daughter confronted me about that cruel comment and we went at it for the entire morning.   My mother was in the middle.  It got loud and my son was worried.  At one point, I turned and there walking into the kitchen was a local police officer.  I just looked at him and said, "This is the way Italians talk.  Was it the neighbors?"  He said, "I understand.  I grew up in a Sicilian household.  It was your son."   He left, after calling off the rest of the squad cars making their way to my house.

Christmas started off so right this year.  I shopped for everyone and I was grateful to have enough money to buy what the kids needed and wanted.  The week before Christmas, I planned an outing downtown so my mom could shop for her five grandchildren, with the kids there.  She gave each one cash, and off they flew to find a perfect gift. We went out to lunch in the city.  It was such a joy.  

On Christmas Eve, we took the kids and my sister-in-law to a French restaurant for dinner.  We brought meals to my in-laws since they can't walk. We had a terrific night.  Later we opened gifts at my house.  My son loved his gifts.  My younger daughter loved her gifts.  My older daughter was sad because she thought no one appreciated the gifts she gave everyone.  That's what set her off.  It's never a perfect Christmas, is it?

Through all of this, I've been grateful to have the freedom to be part of this mess.  It really is a wonderful life as long as you're free.  And as long as Officer Nelson keeps driving past the house.