Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christmas Will Still Come

This is a response to the GBE2 prompt: Numbers.

By the numbers, I am losing. I am slack-jawed on a stool, begging money that is owed me, and placing one more bet. Twenty on the grey horse! By the numbers, I am cooked. A big win right now could save me, but it won't. Big wins tend not plunk themselves in plot lines at this point. More likely, Vinnie will take off my thumb.

This is holiday budgeting. Somebody has cooked the books and Guido will kill us all.

This remark keeps running through my head: "Is this just math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better,or is this real?"

You know, I'm not a Republican myself, but I deeply sympathize with Rove. Some creative math would not go amiss. This creative interpretation of numbers can span party lines all the way, in my case, to somewhere left of Ralph Nader. We can all partake. Imagine a future that belies that stark and ugly truth. Look away, I say and think of something else.

Christmas must be saved. And if I could understand financial derivatives, I think we would be all right. But I kept dropping out of Algebra. Is there a mathematician in the house?

Numbers sometimes obfuscate. It is hard to find the truth in red and black. The details are in the values. Both kinds. Old furniture and instrument lessons. Worn Target socks and organic pears. Four year-old winter jackets on our kids and too much homeschool curriculum on our shelves. What else do you cut when you are cutting apart your values? We can all wear socks with holes, but it seems harder to wake Christmas morning with empty stockings. So much of whining, I think. Buck up and make fudge again that nobody needs to eat. You can afford the marshmallow creme.

It's the thought that counts. Eat your damned fudge.

We keep on at the track like drunken fools, giving our kids a middle-class lifestyle. We are betting our hard work now against the possibility of penury later on. We're all in.

I've been all in from the beginning, when as a cafe barista with a positive pregnancy test, a twenty-one year-old teenager who hadn't finished school, I decided, Yes. I am keeping that baby. There was never any way forward but a willingness to do math that made me feel better, because the real math didn't add up.

I'm not very practical. What I am is committed.

Christmas. It comes. It has come when we had nothing, come when we felt flush. I have made it out of flour and water and kneaded it with my hands into something that would glisten when brushed with egg yolk and placed in the oven to bake. I have converted base scraps into pride. One year, my kids received presents from the Giving Tree. Many more, we gave them. We have made ornaments with clay, torn holly from the wood, and made merry. Christmas always came. And year, after year, presents were torn open, stockings full, lights twinkling upon our tree. We ate roast beef, drank cider and paid the piper later.

These numbers don't add up. This is just math I do as a mother to make myself feel better. Magical math. It doesn't matter.

Christmas will still come.

*Note: Sorry if this is sort of whiny. I try not to have that be a style. Numbers are a loaded topic around here right now. I sat on this for two days and it was the best I could do with it. At least if I am going to do the NaBloPoMo thing. You can always nod politely and read what I put up next time instead.


  1. I recognize those numbers and that type of math. It's how our Christmas have come and gone for 20 odd years now. The mama-math must be universal and somehow it always adds up, just enough.

  2. I'm trying to learn this math .. Victor and I spent quite some time last night trying to figure out this math ... we only have three presents to buy .. but occasional lifeguarding and a newspaper route aren't exactly steady jobs ... so I'm learning math. :)

  3. Math is a tough one in the real world. Bills, Christmas, medical expenses, and just everyday needs all add up. It is scary. I know exactly where you are coming from. Somehow Christmas always comes.


  4. That kind of math has given many kids good Christmas memories and I think we have all used it at some point. I don't know how (well, yes I do) but, it always works out in the end. He likes that we celebrate His son's birthday by honoring our children. Suffer the little children to come unto those words.
    Merry Christmas.

  5. The best memories I have of Christmas are the people and the joy, not the 'things' that are forgotten about moments after the wrapping hits the floor. What matters most are not the numbers but the people!

  6. A few years back, I was laid off--money was extremely tight, everything was on the line. We had an "old fashioned Christmas". My kids seemed really disappointed at first. All gifts to each other were hand made--they had to make them from stuff we already had. We only bought the Christmas Dinner. We had music through the radio--and besides our lights (which we had bought in previous years) we didn't have any electronics that Christmas Day. What we did was exchange gifts, play music, play the keyboard, play games, sing and dance around the house. We played MadLibs for HOURS laughing our heads off. And to this day, my kids think that was the BEST Christmas ever. it still comes--but I've been there trying to make that money magic happen and found another way around it.

    Cheers, Jenn

  7. Money wasn't much of a problem to us before. While we weren't swimming in it, there was always enough (and at times more)for the holidays. I understand what you're saying but Christmas always comes and usually, it comes with a little bundle of surprise that will see you through.


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