Dear Child That I Don’t Have, But Might Have Someday,
I feel I owe you an apology.
You see, yesterday afternoon I got a clear vision of your future, and… I’m sorry to say, it doesn’t look pretty.
Oh, it’s all innocent enough, but I got a glimpse of what it’ll be like for you when you one day come home for the holidays to visit your old parents, and I saw your point of view from the back of the car.
Your mother (that’s me) had a pile of un-stamped Christmas cards in her lap, and she was wondering out loud if it would be best to go to Ralphs to buy stamps or if it was just a better idea to go to the post office, because that’s where you can get pretty stamps. Yes, it was just as boring as it sounds now, and if you didn’t fall asleep just reading that paragraph that shows you’ve got some of my genes.
Anyway, as I was babbling along about optimum stamp purchasing power, your father was worried about a light that just came on in the car — it’s his battery light. He asked me why the battery light would be on since the battery appears to be working. Well, I don’t have to tell you that your father’s still driving around that one car he’s had since birth, and it means the world to him, don’t you know, since he saw his first boob in that car or whatever (Oh, don’t make that face, dear. Your father had to see boobs, otherwise you wouldn’t have been born. And I don’t know what you’re getting so worked up about, anyway, you used to love my boobs even more than your father. Where are you going? Come back here!)
So I tell your father that it’s probably the battery writing out its will and that it’s screaming out its final cry of pain as it dies and that he should probably replace the battery, as it’s older than you, but he starts insisting that I’m wrong, and that the light wouldn’t come on if there wasn’t something really wrong, but the battery appears to be just fine.
Then your father, you know what he does? He starts testing the battery by fidgeting with every single thing in the car that has anything to do with a car battery. He’s turning the overhead light on and off. He’s flipping the windshield wipers. The turn signals. He honks the horn (which doesn’t require the battery to work, I don’t think… wait, yes it does. I know this because there was that time that my horn wouldn’t turn off in my car and it turned out that disconnecting the battery stopped the horn and wouldn’t you know it, I can’t find that old entry anywhere where I talked about it, but maybe I only talked about it in my one woman show, and not in an old entry. Wake up!)
Anyway, the point is, my favorite thing your father did, was he turned the radio all the way up and then back down again. Testing the volume to see if playing the radio louder would tax this weakened battery to the breaking point. You know he’s driving around at the same time, right? So if he had killed the battery with the loud Eminem, I suppose we would have just coasted into a telephone pole.
So there I am chatting to myself about where I can get stamps and he’s testing all of the dials and knobs in the car and at the same time we’re arguing over whether or not we had a conversation about writing down things as we run out of them so we don’t forget to buy them at the store. Your father swears we had a conversation where he said, “We should write things down when we run out of them so we don’t forget to buy them at the store.” And I don’t remember this conversation, but I feel that it’s pretty common knowledge to buy things at the store that you’ve run out of, and if I think I’m going to forget it, I’ll write it down. But your father thinks that I can’t remember anything unless he can see that I’m reminding myself, so he wants a list. And maybe we did have that conversation yesterday or the day before, but why should I be expected to remember that? It’s not like I’m going to remember that the other day he asked, “Do you want a Diet Coke?” and I said, “No, I already have one.” Should I be quizzed on that three days later? Is that a reasonable request to give me? I don’t think so.
Your father thinks this is because we both work here in the house and we’re together all the time, all day and all night. He says that there are times when we just tune each other out now, as a survival tactic, and that the other one often feels like nobody’s listening. Or he said something like that. Just ask him. He’ll be happy to tell you. But God forbid you have to remember something while he’s talking and you don’t write it down.
We finally bought the aluminum foil we were out of, by the way, so you don’t have to worry about us. And the pizza was fine for one night in Seran Wrap, anyway, so it wasn’t really the crisis you might expect it to have been.
But my point is, dear, is that when we were both babbling, twisting knobs, arguing about lists and remembering not to forget things, I just flashed on this image of you in the backseat, twenty-seven years old, dialing up your boyfriend on your braincell phone or whatever they’ll have when you’re my age, and whispering, “Please come and find me. They’re driving me crazy.”
I just want you to know that I’m aware of what you’re going to have to go through. I know we are strange people. But we love you very much, and I know you love us too. Just hold onto the love. Because we’re really great people. Just quirky, right? It’s quirky. Sure your father explains everything three times to make sure you understand, and he checks up right after to see if you’ve done it, even if you couldn’t possibly have even gotten up from your chair yet. And yes, I sing too loud and I’m going to try and tell you how to do everything better than you’re already doing it. And perhaps both of us will remind you all the time to pick up one item that we’ve run out of, and nobody can ever find the keys and there are cats all over the place and there’s a strange smell because the five of us (I’m counting the cats, dear, they matter) have all lived in this one house for thirtysomething years. But that’s life. That’s why we have holidays. So you can come and see us and get all filled up on love and family and not need another fix for a while. It’s good for you. It’s healthy. But I don’t want you to think I don’t know what you see. I know what you’re thinking when you look at us. And maybe you’re too filled with fear and anxiety to say it, but we know you love us too.
I mean, look at us! We’re adorable! The way we never finish a complete sentence? So cute. Right? And the way we somehow are always dressed kind of the same even though we don’t get ready together at the same time? Don’t you think that means we’re meant to be?
What did you just say? I heard that. I heard you mumble. You think I can’t hear you, but I can. I hear perfectly. It’s your father that can’t hear anything. Or is that me? Damn, I can’t remember. I’ll ask him. He has it written down somewhere.
Well, it’s looking like I should wrap this up, as I’m getting a bit long-winded. You didn’t mind my long letters when you were at camp when you were little. Now it’s such a pain, isn’t it? I’m such a burden. I’m sorry. I’ll let you go. Oh! I wanted to tell you. I got email today from “Santa.” The subject line was “I have cash for you.” So apparently Christmas is back on. Tell your friends. Santa’s got the hook-up for us all. Let me open up his letter right now so I can see how much money, okay? Hold on.
Now where did I put it?
No, hold on. I just had it. Wait a second. You’re always in such a hurry. You get that from me, you know. Just wait a second. Drink your tea.
Here it is. It says it’s from “Santa” and it says “I have cash for you.” Pretty simple, huh? And inside it says… oh, there’s a big graphic. Wait, that looks like a girl. That can’t be your sister because… wait, that girl’s not wearing any…
Nevermind, dear. It appears Santa’s playing a little joke on your mother. Ha-ha-ho-ho-ho, or something like that. My goodness. Santa’s also offering to give me a bigger penis. What do you think, should I take him up on the offer? I’ve been a good girl this year.
Don’t make that face, it’s just a joke. Oh, you’re always so touchy.
Where are you going? Come back!
I love you!
Your Eventual Mother
P.S.– All of those stories your grandmother will tell you one day are lies. LIES. She’s just getting crazy in her old age and thinks it’s funny to make up stories about your mother. And your Aunt Bosie’s just as bad. I never ate her turds. I just didn’t. The next time she tells you that story, you tell her she’s batty as a loon and we’re just about to take her to a farm.