I spent last Christmas in California with my kids and grandkids along with my son’s current girlfriend and past girlfriend who is the mom of two of my grandkids, her Mom and current boyfriend, along with my son’s current girlfriend’s parents. It was utter chaos and craziness with two toddlers, Baby Charlotte and Baby Isaak running around, and Jeremiah who is now eight years old and looks exactly like my older son Stevie with big brown eyes, dark hair brown eyes, and the same mischievous smile. Sometimes I accidentally call Jeremiah Stevie because he looks so much like him now. Everyone laughs like I’m senile or something.
Two-year-old Charlotte reminds me of my youngest daughter Megan, whom we always called Baby Megan. She’s 27 now and lives in LA and I haven’t seen her in person in ages, though we talk every day. Sometimes I accidentally call her Baby Megan as well, and little Isaak with his super curly blonde hair is the spitting image of his Dad, my son Jeremy. It’s like deja vu in a way when I was the single mom with four kids and it was never quiet at our house, wherever we lived. It was always lively, with music playing, TV blasting, kids laughing, yelling, and talking.
The gathering last Christmas was like that, full of craziness, chaos, and fun. At one point, both Isaak and Charlotte stood on top of the coffee table and no one seemed to mind. Charlotte banged on the new drum I got her for Christmas along with all the rhythm toys and baby Isaak shook the tambourine while pushing a duck that squeaked loudly. There were two of those duck toys — one for each of the little ones. I’m not sure exactly who got those for them, probably someone who wanted to make sure that Erika and Jeremy went nuts when they had all three of the kids at the house. Jeremiah was excited about his new X-Box and he and his Dad were working on that, while me and Jen’s Mom, Susie watched over everything and laughed, and attempted to play with the kids who were so excited and hyper because they had hot chocolate in the morning.
After a couple of hours at Jen’s apartment, we all headed to Jeremy and Erika’s apartment. I couldn’t believe it when Jeremy told me they moved into the same apartment complex as Jen, and that it would make the co-parenting way easier. Yes, I agree with that, but isn’t it also a little strange? “No!” my son said. He wasn’t always the greatest in the relationship department, and I was hoping things with he and Erika would work out. They seem to be. But he was a fantastic Dad, and that made me happy. When he broke up with Jen suddenly after Charlotte was born, I yelled at him. A lot.
I said, “Don’t you dare be a dead beat Dad like your Dad was!” It’s the first time I’d ever said anything really bad about his Dad.
“Mom, I promise you, I won’t be.”
Later my older son Stevie who lives in Oregon assured me that Jeremy was nothing like his Dad, and now I know it’s true. Those kids love their Dad and he loves them. No doubt about it. Even Jen agrees, and she doesn’t like Jeremy very much anymore.
So there we were, all together as one big family unit in spite of all the drama that happened. I loved every single minute of my time with them, the chaos, the insanity. Kids running amuck. My older daughter Melissa showed up, “Auntie Melissa” who decided she’d rather be an Auntie than a Mom — she bought me a new pair of Nike shoes for Christmas because she saw I had a big hole in my Asics. She said I should not be running around in shoes with holes in them. Melissa is 37 years old and still talks to me as if she’s the mom. I let her do it because she’s like my mother reincarnated in so many ways it makes me smile. And now that we’re all adults, it’s okay, though it wasn’t that okay when she was a teenager.
My sister also came to visit for a little while, passing through, with her long-time wife Pascale. But they only lasted about 45 minutes before my sister said that all the noise and chaos drove her insane. I guess you have to be used to it like I am. I live for that. I also realized that’s why I didn’t bring my boyfriend with me. Poor guy would probably go nuts. He’s never had kids. One day he’ll meet them all anyway.
I’ve spent my whole life keeping the family together, and I still worry about them all.