“I LOVE ANGELS!”
“Okay, C.J., but we have to get all of the Christmas decorations down before we can start opening the boxes,” I repeat over his screams.
It’s the Sunday after Black Friday (or Thanksgiving or whichever one you celebrate) and C.J.’s Dad is up in the attic handing down boxes of decorations to me and C.J.’s Brother. As each box is passed down, C.J. asks what’s in it. I reply by reading the writing on the box.
Two boxes came down that read “Angel” and C.J. nearly pissed his new pajama bottoms that I bought at one in the morning two days earlier. He was bouncing around yelling “I LOVE ANGELS” while his dad was yelling “IT’S TOO HOT TO BE CHRISTMAS” from the 100 degree attic. Of course we had a heat wave in Southern California the day that C.J.’s Dad had to climb to the hottest spot of the house and retrieve 10 boxes of heaviness so that we could deck the halls with boughs of holly; it’s not exactly his most favorite chore of the year anyway.
C.J. finally got his wish, to open the two boxes marked “Angel.” He squealed out of habit and then a look of slight disappointment crossed his face. I don’t blame him. The angels aren’t my favorite either, but once upon a time when I loved Shabby Chic and thought Rachel Ashwell was a design super-star, I loved them.
“When do we paint them?” he asked.
“We don’t paint them,” I said.
“But, they are just white,” he stated not being able to comprehend why a blank canvas would be left blank.
“Yes, angels are just white.”
C.J.’s Dad swooped in to put the angels in the spot they have occupied every Christmas for the past eight years. He obviously wanted to get the decorating job done and to watch the football game that was on T.V. and it wasn’t helping that Uncle Uncle sat on the couch watching “Pop Up Video.”
“NO!,” C.J. yelled. “The angels don’t both go there. One goes there and one goes here.”
He was pointing dramatically and moving things around and standing back to give his merchandising a better look. He was like a mini Tim Gunn in the workroom.
“The angels have both always gone here,” C.J.’s Dad pointed.
“Boys, let’s not fight,” I instructed, as I do a few times each day.
The angles in their place (one where they have always gone and one where C.J. wanted them to go), we opened another box.
“A STAR!,” C.J. yelled as he picked up the gold star that perches on top of our Christmas tree. He held it high above his head with his right arm and marched through the living room, kitchen, dining room and family room.
“I’m da Statue of Liberty!,” he announced.
“C.J., please get back here and give me the star. I don’t want you to break it,” I said. Maybe I should have decorated when the kids were at school. C.J. proceeded to run around the house with the star, being Lady Liberty as I chased him.
He handed over the star and, when I wasn’t looking, took two of our beaded and embroidered Christmas stockings and put them on his feet, they went up to his crotch.
“I’m an ice skater girl!,” he said. Sure enough, the glass beads on the stockings allowed him to glide on the tiled kitchen floor. A regular old Johnny Weir.
Uncle Uncle was still on the couch, now getting the 4-1-1 on Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” video. The person best suited for decorating my house wasn’t helping. Between him and C.J., I should have been able to host my own version of Design Star and have a seriously festive interior. Instead, Uncle Uncle got the boys hopped up on Rice Krispie treats that they made the night before when he was the babysitter on duty. Which was when C.J.’s Dad and I went on a date and saw J. Edgar, who I had no idea was gay (I’m not exactly “up” on history) and while everybody in the theater was hating on Mr. Hoover, I was pulling for him because he liked to dress in his mommy’s dresses and because he cried after she told him that she’d “rather have a dead son than a daffodil (gay) son.”
Yes, the frenzy of the holiday season is upon us: boring angels, liberty stars, ice skaters, J. Edgar Hoover and all.