So let’s lighten things up a little bit and get away from alcoholics and dead best friends. Well, strike that first one, we’re gonna talk about my Mother. My Mom is one of the most courageous, strong, and inspirational people I know. She really is. She’s also one of the funniest, although often, she doesn’t mean to be. If you know me in real life I have likely held you verbal hostage at length and told you ridiculous tales involving my Mother.
This is a seasonal favorite. Gather ’round children, it’s time for. . .THE NUTCRACKER STORY!
Years ago I was hosting a Christmas party at my place and per usual, my Mother arrived early to help me prepare and naturally, to start drinking. Ben and I would often call this our “primer coat”. You know, the drinks you have before you leave the house. Or have people over. Or go to work. You know, something to put some glide in your stride before the main event. This is normal, no? Um, no. Nonetheless, it was part of my preparations.
Anyway, as I poured her a
carafe glass of wine, she walked around my living room and took in the Christmas decorations while throwing out snippets of observations and thoughts. I put the finishing touches on my cheese plate and tried to keep up.
“So, I’m still not sure about Christmas dinner. No one but me likes fucking sweet potatoes. Did you get your new trashcan delivered? I haven’t received mine and I’m about to call the city and raise hell. I swear to God Jennifer Ann all I want to do is recycle my booze bottles and they make it so damn difficult. Did you make a hot dip? I should’ve brought my hot seafood dip, that’s always a crowd pleaser but those fucking shrimp are a bitch to clean, then again if push comes to shove you can use canned shrimp, but they make me nervous.”
And so it went. Now, my Mom has always been a colorful lady, but it’s not like her to drop an F-bomb unless it’s really, really warranted. She doesn’t let ’em rip like her kid does, and I’ve always applauded her restraint.
She was over at my fireplace mantle where I had placed two nutcrackers on each side for a nice bookendy look, with my evergreen wreath between them. It is also significant to note here that my Mother is notsomuch with the pomp and circumstance of Christmas. She loves the baby Jesus, sure, but she’s always thought that the commercialization of the holiday was somewhat blasphemous. She had picked up a nutcracker and was working it’s handle up and down like it was silently trying to talk to her.
“Mom, are you alright? You’re swearing an awful lot right out of the chute, don’t ya think”?!?
She glanced over her shoulder and looked at me quizzically, and I truly don’t think she realized she’d been quite so salty in her vernacular. Upon my comment though, she DID realize it and a sly smirk slowly spread across her face. (Can I also mention here that my Mother is very petite? This bears nothing on the story itself but it helps with the visual because in reality she is just so stinkin’ cute and elf-like.) She stared right at me and slowly moved the nutcracker’s mouth to move in sync as she loudly exclaimed “well, fuuuuuuuck yoooooouuuuuu!”
I must’ve had quite an expression on my face because she immediately began laughing so hard she almost dropped the offending nutcracker, and of course I started giggling as well from the sheer shock of it. It’s one of those memories that makes me chuckle now just at the silliness of it all.
Years ago when I talked about writing a book my Mother encouraged me but asked me to respectfully wait until my dear sweet Grandmother passed away, and really, that was fair because there’s plenty of things in my life and about me that I wouldn’t want her to read about. My Mom had already embraced me as a disappointment* but my Grandmother still coveted my potential. She’s gone now and all the skeletons can come bursting forth from my closets but from that Christmas forward when we went to visit her my Mom and I would use the word “nutcracker” in substitution of two other less appropriate words that are not nice to say around your sweet Granny.
Mom: “Here Jennifer Ann, your Grandma made some hot beets for dinner. . . have some.”
Me: “Um, no thanks. More for you!”
Mom: “Nutcracker. She made ’em and you’re eating ’em.”
So, really The Nutcracker story is one that keeps on giving, year after year. My Mom and I still say it when we can’t share our thoughts the way we’d like to, which is pretty often as you might imagine. She’s coming to visit this Christmas and I can only imagine what pearls of wisdom I may pick up while she’s here. Much like a twisted version of “Elf on the shelf”, I’m somewhat expecting a similar nutcracker situation after she reads this post. She may additionally add the caveat that SHE might in fact have to die before I author a book because of posts just like this. I love you, Mom.
*My Mom is an endless source of positivity and encouragement in my life and always has been. She understands the value of a joke even when she’s the butt of it. She’s a professional, after all.