Something screwy is going on around here. OK, let’s be honest: my family is not like other families we know. None of my friends has ever had to shoo a rabbit out of their bed or been dive-bombed by a parakeet while taking a bath. I’m starting to think it’s not “the norm” to have to clear nearly a dozen musical instruments off the dining room table in order to eat dinner. I concede the possibility that my mother spends more time moving bugs out of the house “so they can carry on with their buggy little lives” than other moms. But… seriously… something’s up.
It all started almost a month ago. We went to my friend M’s house and ate a huge dinner. Of course, when I say, “we” I mean all of the grown ups ate a huge dinner while M and I consumed the fluffy center part of the dinner rolls while surreptitiously feeding the outer layer to the dog. Afterward, even though we hadn’t eaten a single bite of vegetables, M and I both got pie AND a cupcake. I didn’t think much about it at the time. I was too excited about going face-first into a plate full of whipped cream and bright red frosting. Looking back, though, that day was the start of the Season of Strange Stuff.
The very next day Daddy dragged a tree into our house.
That’s weird, right? I mean – this wasn’t a pretty vase of flowers or one of Mommy’s potted plants (FYI – she does NOT think it’s charming when you “pick” those and give them to her). This was a full size pine tree. It was taller than Daddy and he can ALMOST touch the moon! And that’s not even the strangest part! Daddy set this big box on the floor. I opened it up and it was full of the shiniest, sparkliest, most fabulously touchable glittery stuff I’d ever seen! Mommy called them “ornaments” and she must have told me 700 times that day to be very gentle with them. Geez! I tell you! Shatter a few glasses and plates and the woman has trust issues for life. So we’ve got the tree and we’ve got all of these lovely glass ornaments and (you may not believe this but I swear it’s true) then my parents and sister started hanging the ornaments on the tree. In our living room. I could not make this stuff up!
Just about the time I was getting used to seeing the giant tree in the living room, Mommy started telling me to repeat after her: “Today we light the candle of hope.” I would say it and then she would tell me, “great job! Let’s try one more time, nice and loud and clear. Today we light the candle of hope.” There were no candles. I had no idea what she was talking about but, you know, I love her and I aim to please so I went along with it. Then, on a Sunday morning, right in the middle of church, she took me up on stage and handed me the microphone and I stood there with my big sister. She had a lighter in her hands. If you don’t know, this is breaking just about every rule there is, regarding Sunday morning church. It has been made clear to me, repeatedly, that I am NOT to go on the stage during church. The microphones are NOT for touching. And, under no circumstances, is ANY child allowed to hold the lighter. But there we were – big sister and me. I looked out toward the pews and not a single grown up was making a move to stop us. They were all just sitting there, like they were waiting for something to happen. I glanced over at Mommy and she whispered, “today we light…” I remembered what she had told me: loud and clear. I held the microphone to my mouth just like I’d seen other people do and, in my VERY LOUDEST most clear voice yelled, “TODAY WE LIGHT THE CANDLE OF HOPE!!!” I glanced at the people again as sister lit one of the big purple candles. I think I may have a future in preaching because, let me tell you, not one person in that church looked even a little sleepy. There were nothing but wide-awake eyes in the whole room.
I did so well that they let me go on stage AGAIN, the very next week. I got to wear a beard. Pastor Z has a beard. Mr. M, who leads the singing, has a beard. Maybe you have to have a beard to talk in church? But Daddy talks in church sometimes and he only sometimes has a beard. Oh! I am SO CONFUSED! Anyway, there was no fire the second time I was on stage. No microphone either, but several of my friends were there and we all sang a song we learned in Sunday school called, “Away in a Manger.” It’s about a baby, asleep in the hay. The baby wasn’t in his crib. The song clearly states that: “No crib… asleep in the hay.” I’ve seen chickens and rabbits and cats asleep in the hay but… babies?!
You may think my story ends there but, no. It gets even stranger.
We went to the mall. I dearly love the mall; Those long, wide corridors, just perfect for running, moving stairs, colorful objects to be examined everywhere you look, and there is a tiny inside park where you never get your bottom wet from rain water puddled at the bottom of the slide. The MOST IMPORTANT RULE at the mall is, “stay with Mommy.” I know this, because Mommy says it at least 900 times every time we’re there. She also tells me, “NO! Get down from the edge of that fountain!” But that doesn’t come up as often. Come to think of it, she hasn’t gone down the fountain hall the last few times we were there. I’ll have to remind her about that. She must have forgotten what a great fountain it is, just begging to be jumped in. But I digress… the rule is to stay with Mommy, yet she took me to this guy in a giant, fuzzy, green chair and told me his name was Santa Claus. She put me on his lap and walked away. Uhm… Mommy? Mommy! MOMMY!!! Of course, she came back pretty quickly. But still. It’s weird, right?
Later, she told me Santa Claus is coming to our house and he’s bringing candy. There’s nothing so strange in that. People come over to the house all the time and they bring all sorts of stuff. But Santa, apparently, is going to put his candy… wait for it… this is really just too much… I swear I’m not making it up… IN OUR SOCKS. I thought maybe I’d misunderstood at first but she’s told me repeatedly now. “Santa is coming! He’s going to put some candy in your sock!” I asked her, “Why is the candy going to be in my socks?” She said, “because we’re having a party! It’s Jesus’ birthday!”
I had a birthday a while back. Sister and Mommy both had one not long ago, too. I clearly remember cake and singing and a pretty gift-wrapped box. There was no sock candy. I’m certain of it.
I’m baffled, I tell you. I can sense that all of this is connected, somehow but I just can’t quite wrap my mind around it. If there can be a tree in the living room and candy in my socks, if kids can hold the lighter and say VERY IMPORTANT THINGS in the microphone at church… well… I think maybe anything could happen in this crazy topsy-turvy world. Next thing you know they’ll be telling me furry four-legged animals can fly or something.
I’ll keep thinking about all this. Maybe I’ll figure it out. If I do, I promise to let you know.In the meantime, may your days be full of fun and may your socks runneth over with candy.
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