Christmas – 1994
Happy Holidays to friends and family of the Williams/Cogbill household. I hope this letter finds you all prospering. Please read on for updates on our blended family.
My husband has had a very exciting year. He was able to move from third shift to second shift, so now I never have to see his face, which is a delight. He fills his late evenings by drinking an entire case of Budweiser while watching Cinemax “after midnight” programming and leaving the most precarious pyramid of empty beer cans known to man. Without confirmation, I suspect he leaves this pyramid specifically to yell belligerently at whoever inevitably knocks it over and wakes him from his slumber. On special occasions, the case of beer leads him to lose his wallet somewhere between the recliner and the bathroom, which means we get extra family time when he wakes everyone up at 2am and drunkenly barks at us to find his belongings, often not bothering to turn off the breast-ridden television. The children and I cherish these moments of togetherness, of course.
As some of you may know, my husband’s two children have recently come to live with us from down south. Their presence has been charming, from their quaint accents to their strange, colloquial idioms. The oldest, Tammy, is thirteen and truly testing her limits (and mine). Just this past weekend, we had to ground her and my oldest daughter for a month as a result of some rather grownup shenanigans. My oldest, Kaira, is 10 years old, and was caught masquerading as a 13-year old to impress older boys. While we were out, Tammy was in charge of the other three kids as well as a handful of very loud neighborhood children and she used the unsupervised time to invite her hussy friends and some of their older (black) male friends over to the house. Kaira describes an evening full of Boyz II Men songs and adjusting the tissues she had in her borrowed training bra as being a magical glimpse into teendom. She was surely passing as a teen herself in her forest green turtleneck/snap-crotch bodysuit, gold hoop earrings and inexplicable choice of Mickey Mouse boxer shorts. She felt she had “nailed it” and mentioned to me that she “don’t want no short, short man”. I’m positive she is misinterpreting the lyrics of that song, though she’s on the right track. The other children were ultimately the girls’ undoing, as they were kept in the basement bedrooms with only Nintendo and juice boxes to keep them occupied, and, growing tired of the poor treatment, tattled almost immediately. When confronted, Tammy responded by throwing a beer bottle at my head. She missed.
My husband’s youngest, Brian, is only two months older than Kaira and in the same grade at school. I thought this would make for a fast bonding experience but it seems they only interact with one another by screaming and throwing the television remote control at each other’s heads in between the sound of slamming doors. They disagree on most things, none more than Saved By The Bell vs. Power Rangers, apparently. He seems to have charmed her giggling friends, however, and what can only be described as a “prepubescent emotional cyclone” is created whenever one of them calls the house and asks for Brian rather than Kaira.
My youngest daughter is 6-years old and a never ending bundle of destructive energy. She has been to the emergency room a total of 8 times this year alone, and the nurses have started giving me the side-eye upon arrival. Between leaping off the couch and catching her temple on the corner of the entertainment center, putting her face near the mouth of a sleeping dog, jabbing herself in the eye with a knife and many other exciting recreational activities, I ask that friends and family please act as character references for our family rather than sending gifts or cards. CPS is circling and my nerves are shot.
I’ve resorted to tuning everyone out completely, losing myself in anything with more than fifteen pages and carrying around a giant thermal mug full of “Mommy Pop”, which of course is spiked with Captain Morgan. When I can, I retreat to the bathroom for several hours of quiet time, where I perfect my crossword skills or finish reading whatever it is I’m currently reading, while screaming at the kids to stop trying to open the door every five minutes. On Sundays, the family is all together and typically spends the time waiting impatiently for their turn to lie about their age in an AOL chatroom while my husband stinks up my only sanctuary with his toxic beer shits until we have to evacuate the area and make our weekly trip to Sam’s Club.
Please keep me in your thoughts as you gather around your loving family this holiday season.
All the best,
Karen and (what I’m calling a) Family