A Morning with Charles and Ebenezer

If I write about how I feel so light and airy and free from stress, then it is inevitable that Jack will respond by putting a small child in a headlock at church, getting strep throat, smashing a pretty Christmas plate, and wiping diaper cream all over the chair-and-a-half in my bedroom.

I need to internalize this inevitability.

I stayed really calm tonight when he deuced on the basement carpet, tossed baby’s basketball hoop into the Christmas tree, and ate six mini bags of chips. Then he fingerpainted diaper cream all over the upholstery and I lost it.

I called my son a curse word.

Did you know that diaper cream is designed to not be water soluble? It’s designed to block water, meaning that if you want to clean it out of fabric, you can keep dreaming.

As long as I’m confessing scandalous things, I put the baby down for an early nap today and spent the morning reading A Christmas Carol by the fire, totally not caring about the Big List of Things That Need Doing. Also, I was inhaling some amazing popcorn at the time, a la the Pioneer Woman. That last bit is an important part of getting a good visual on my tableau of scandal, don’t you agree?

I’m not sure how it took me until my middle thirties to recognize that Charles Dickens has one of the best literary voices of anyone, anywhere. I mean, he is so readable. I didn’t think so in high school. Or even in college. Now, however, I find him brilliant.

A Christmas Carol is so much more than the abbreviated Disney and Muppet versions they churn out every few years. Dickens invented the trope of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. He painted, with words, Jacob Marley’s face as the door knocker and he did it with a deft hand at imagery and dialogue. There is a depth to the unabridged story.

There is some value in reading it as a grown up, when it can effectively resonate with one’s own life experience. It’s also nice to read it on a cushion by the fire, with some buttered and sugared up popcorn handy, while disregarding one’s To Do List.

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