Yesterday, I caught you all up on my Christmas Eve and Christmas morning festivities. It's hard to believe that it's already been three days since Christmas Day. But, I promise, once I get through today's post I'll leave Christmas alone and start focusing on the new year....as much as I don't want to.
When I left off yesterday, I had recounted the tale of how I had a wonderful Christmas Eve with P-Momma and how awesome Christmas morning had been once "Santa" had come and the kids had opened all of their presents.
We finished unwrapping around 9AM, after getting up at 6:30AM, and so the kids had a couple of hours to try out their new toys before it was time to head to Grandma's house for Christmas Dinner.
We arrived at my parent's house around 1PM. Everyone opened up the gifts that had been bought for each other. Peanut and Butter were happy with the gift cards they received, but Jelly was a little shocked and not sure what to say about hers. After having surgery only two weeks before Christmas, I didn't blame my mom one bit about opting to buy gift cards for the kids. She was hardly in any condition to run around looking for Christmas presents as it was...and Jelly was a little more understanding when she realized that she could use the money to pick out a gift that she wanted. In fact, once Jelly realized that she had a gift card and money from my grandparents AND money she still had left from her birthday, she spent the next hour devising a list of all the things she could buy for herself.
Christmas dinner was wonderful, like always. My dad had worked hard all day preparing a feast of turkey, ham, roasted potatoes, boiled potatoes, cooked carrots, green beans, corn, brussel sprouts (yuck), Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, and turkey gravy. The feeding of 16 people wasn't near as bad as I thought it would be, and it wasn't long before everyone had their plates and were chowing down around the table.
After dinner, my parents fell asleep. My dad because he'd been slaving in the kitchen since the butt crack of dawn, and my mom because so much excitement had wore her out. Any kind of activity still takes it's toll on my mom after her surgery, and it will for a few more weeks...maybe even months.
Hubby had to work Christmas night, so he decided to head on home. I had decided that the kids and I would stay, as is our tradition. It had been something I'd been thinking about for a few weeks, and originally the plan was that we'd go home on Christmas Day. With Hubby working, the kids decided that they wanted to stay after all.
I wish I could say that the rest of the evening was spent full of fun and joy... but that's just not the way it's done in our house. Christmas just isn't Christmas without at least one family fight. And nine times out of ten it's usually between my brother and me.
The brother closest to me in age lives in Virginia. He usually comes home for Christmas, and that's about all I see him. The relationship that my brother and I have hasn't changed since we were kids. Back then, we fought like cats and dogs. Constantly. My parents used to pull their hair out trying to break up fights between my brother and me. Once we became adults, we were able to be polite to each other for a small amount of time, but it's only a matter of time before one of us says something that ticks off the other...and the fireworks start.
This year, the fight all started because of a disagreement about who knew more about computers. Well, that's not true. More about my brother knowing more about computers, and him telling me that I knew nothing about computers. Which is neither here nor there, because either way you look at it, it's a ridiculous reason to fight.
But, one thing my brother and I have always been is competitive. It's a constant parade of who is doing better for themselves whenever we are around each other. He likes to parade around that he can party 24/7, makes a lot of money doing whatever job it is he does, has a DJ gig that he does now and then that brings in even more money, and life is oh so grand a small drive away from the beach.
I like to parade around that I spent four years going to college, while raising three children. I then found my dream job, and even though I don't bring in big bucks, I am very happy with how my life turned out. I have a man that loves me, kids that are amazing, my dream job, my dream house, a new car, and I'm near my parents so I am there when they need me. And I like to rub it in that he has no business showing up once a year acting like he owns the place, and knows absolutely nothing about what life is like the other 358 days he's not around.
This year, however, a small disagreement turned in to major blowup when he made the BIG mistake of yelling at Peanut.
Last year, a similar fight broke out. Again, it's tradition in my house. At that time, he called Peanut a fat, spoiled brat. Something that poor child has carried with her all year long. Her own uncle saying something about her weight, and making judgements when he knew NOTHING about her.
Since then, let's just say that Peanut's feelings for her uncle have been very similar to mine.
One thing I've always instilled in to my children is that respect isn't just something that's weighed by age. I don't care how old a person is, if they don't respect my children respect will not be returned. My kids have been raised with the mentality that you get respect when you give it. My kids would NEVER be intentionally disrespectful to anyone, but if they are being disrespected, they will disrespect right back. The way my father taught me.
My brother's way at looking at life is that he can treat children anyway he chooses, and they WILL respect him because he's an adult. WRONG-O...as he found out when he told Peanut to shut her mouth and watch her place.
All she had done was make a comment about how stupid it was that my brother and I were fighting over something like who knew more about computers. My brother looked at her and told her to mind her own business, shut her face, and don't interfere with "adult conversations".
My back immediately went up, and I told him that he would NOT speak to my child that way. And then... BAM....release the fireworks.
Out of his mouth, once again, was the "spoiled brat" remark.
Now, let me take a second to share a little about Peanut. For being 13 years old, she's well ahead of her years. She's smart, caring, extremely mature for her age, and takes on worries that no 13 year old should ever take on. She also HATES confrontation. She can be mouthy, but she's a lover and not a fighter. She bottles all of her feelings inside (something I wish she wouldn't do) sometimes, because she'd much rather keep her thoughts to herself than cause any problems. And, at any given time, she is usually the most mature and level headed person in the place when it comes to being at my parents house. Even around all the adults present.
She would give the shirt off her back to help someone if they needed it. She would pack up every belonging she owns and hand it over to someone that wanted it, if she knew it would make all their problems go away. And even though she's pretty spoiled in the way her life is playing out, you would never know it by spending any amount of time with her. Which is the main point to all of that... he knows/knew NOTHING about her.
Well, once he made the remark that he did, I didn't have a chance to get anything out of my mouth. My youngest brother had jumped to her defense before I even had the chance to breath. And in a matter of a few minutes, tempers were flaring, and I was packing up my stuff ready to take my kids home and away from the volatile situation.
Peanut told me that there was no way I was leaving with the situation being the way it was, and that it was going to be resolved before she step one foot out of the house. Right there, doesn't that just ring out "spoiled brat"... seriously...most mature, I tell ya!
Very long story short, the next hour was spent yelling and screaming. My brothers were duking it out, I was duking it out with my brother, and finally Peanut took her place and let my brother have all the anger that had been bottling up inside of her. To the utter shock of me and everyone else in the room. And she didn't just let my brother have a piece of her mind, she let out all of the feelings she'd been bottling up about my sister, my mom's situation, the way my youngest brother treats his parents. It was her time to shine, and she wanted everyone to know exactly how she felt.
I have to say that I couldn't have been more proud of my daughter than I was in that moment. But, being Peanut, she instantly regretted it and felt awful for acting the way she did. What she didn't realize was how much her outburst would do.
Which, actually became the moment when everyone took a step back and realized what was happening. Peanut took control of the situation, comforting my mother who was heartbroken by all the fighting. My mom gave a very tearful, and heart wrenching speech about how difficult the last month had been for her, and how we can't take our family time for granted anymore. It was then Peanut who starting initiating all of the "make up" that would then take place between all parties involved.
My brother got a glimpse about how far off base he was about Peanut. She sat him down and gave him a piece of her mind, but in a calm and collected manner. She told him that he knew nothing about her, how he doesn't get to see what all takes place while he's off living his life in North Carolina, how when he shows up he demands respect even though he does nothing to earn it, how he is not the savior that can swoop in and try and fix all the problems that have been months in the making.
She then sat me down with my brother and made me tell him how I felt. I explained and reiterated everything Peanut had already said. He didn't know us, he didn't know what we'd been through, and to show up for one week out of the year didn't automatically give him a free pass to cast judgement and expect life to be any different just because he was there.
Then it was my brothers together that had to repair their problems. My youngest brother explaining that he'd been raised to defend women, and he would never sit by and watch a girl or woman be attacked verbally by a man... regardless of the situation.
All in all, after a lot of tears, and heartfelt explanations, everything was opened up and all was forgiven.
My Peanut had managed to accomplish something that my parents had been trying to accomplish for 30 years! Spoiled brat? No. Loving, caring, mature young lady? Absolutely.
Then, and only then, did Christmas Evening festivities get started. We all played board games until the wee hours of the night. Laughing, joking around, teasing, and having probably one of the best Christmas evenings we've had in YEARS.
The next day, we all decided to stay for Boxing Day dinner. Hubby came over once he'd gone home and got some sleep, and shortly after dinner we decided to head home.
Christmases aren't always perfect in my family, but one thing I can say is that they are always memorable.
Since Boxing Day, the kids have enjoyed playing with their new toys. Peanut, Butter, and I sat down last night and tried out a couple of Peanut's new board games. We ordered pizza, Hubby played his new video game, Jelly played with her new Furby, and the kids and I laughed at trying to guess words on cards that were attached to our heads.
After all the playing and eating, we all sat down together and watched Turbo. A lovely family evening. Something I cherish when they happen.
I plan on keeping some Christmas fun going until Tuesday. Then it will be time to box up the tree and the decorations, and focus on making plans for 2014. While I promised I won't talk about Christmas anymore, it doesn't mean I'm ready to give it up just yet. I don't see why we can't celebrate Christmas for a week after it's over.
OK, I really need to clean my house. P-Momma is coming over today, and the house is quite the disaster zone.
Have an awesome Saturday, everyone!