A Case of Child Abuse in O Little Town of Bethlehem…

IMG_1309IMG_1306I went to Mom’s house last weekend to help her decorate for Christmas.  She had already pulled out the boxes from the garage (which she shouldn’t have done alone but she’s as stubborn as an ox) and had baked a zillion Christmas cookies.  She is planning to have everyone over to her house on the Sunday before Christmas, and so of course she wants her house to look beautiful for the special occasion.

It is sort of unbelievable how many Christmas decorations that Mom has, but she was quick to remind me for the um-teenth-thousandth time that she had been building her collection for her entire life, and for MY entire life, and that one day I would be so grateful that she had saved all of the ornaments and decorations.  Of course she also had to add that, “After Christmas, ornaments go on sale for like 90 percent off!!  They’re practically giving them away!!!”

Yes, I know, I know…

At some point during the unloading of the Christmas boxes, I was on the phone with Rea (who was home sick with a horrible cold), and suddenly I had a vivid, traumatic, childhood memory.

Me:  “Um…oh my gosh…seriously?  SERIOUSLY?!  Spun glass?  SPUN GLASS?!  MOM!  You still use spun glass with your Nativity Set?!  HOW COULD YOU?!”

Mom:  “Huh?”

Me:  “Why can’t you just use cotton like a normal person?  I’m seriously having PTSD right now.  I think I’m hyperventilating.  MOM!  I’m having a panic attack right now!!”

Mom:  “Have a cookie.”

Me:  “Don’t you remember what happened to me, Mom?  When I was like, what…?  I couldn’t have been more than four years old?”

Rea:  “Should I let you go?”

Me:  “No, it’s okay, you can hear this.  I’ll just tell you about it later anyway.  Besides Mom is barely listening to me as it is and I need to talk about it.”

Mom:  “That’s not true; I’m listening!  Hand me that box behind you.”

Me:  “I remember being like four years old and sitting on the floor, just staring up at the Nativity Scene for hours and hours, because it was so beautiful on the mantel next to the Christmas tree at our old house.  I was fascinated with the Baby Jesus.”

Mom:  “Yes, you always did love the Baby Jesus.”

Me:  “My sweet little blonde haired, blue-eyed, innocent self; I remember that you would play Amy Grant‘s Christmas albums on the record player, and I would just sit there and daydream for hours and hours…”

Mom:  “You really were such a sweet and precious little thing.”

(Of course we were listening to Amy Grant’s Christmas music on the CD player as we were decorating Mom’s house in present day as well.)

Me:  “…this may be one of my earliest memories actually.  The Christmas tree lights were shining through the “cotton” that was billowing softly beneath the Nativity Scene, and it was all that I could do to resist touching the puff of cotton that cradled the Baby Jesus.  The more that I admired the Baby Jesus, the more that the cotton beneath him shimmered, and it just looked so soft; like pure silk.  I knew that I wasn’t supposed to touch it, but I just had to.  IT JUST LOOKED SO SOFT!”

Mom:  “I think we’re going to need more lights for the tree.  It doesn’t look like we’re going to have enough.”

Me:  “Mom!  Are you even listening?!”

Rea:  “I’m still here.  I’m listening.”

Me:  “Thank you REA, I’m glad that SOMEONE is listening.”

Mom:  “Fred Meyer has lights on sale for fifty percent off right now.  I should send you to the store to get some before we start decorating the tree.”

Me:  “Looks like I lost her.  Oh well, whatever.  It’s only my most traumatic childhood memory, no big deal.  This is why I go to therapy right?”

Rea:  “So what happened?”

Me:  “So of course I couldn’t resist, and I had to reach out and not only TOUCH the shiny, puffy, cloud of cotton beneath the Baby Jesus, but I had to PET it.  Like a kitten.  Of course you’ve figured out by now that it wasn’t actually cotton.  It was SPUN GLASS.  So what happens when you PET spun glass is:  you get your poor little four year old hand all CUT UP to SH*#!  I was screaming and crying, and I was bleeding everywhere!”

Rea:  “Oh honey, that’s just terrible…”

Me:  “Mom, are you smiling right now?!  Seriously?!  Rea!  Mom is smiling.  She’s not saying anything, she’s just got this sadistic grin on her face.  Oh and now she’s chuckling about it.  MOM!  THAT WAS CHILD ABUSE!  I THOUGHT THAT THE BABY JESUS CUT ME!!

Mom (very quietly):  “I told you not to touch it ya dumb shit.

Me:  “What did you just say?  Did you just hear that Rea?”

Rea:  “No.  What did she say?”

Me:  “She said, ‘I told you not to touch it ya DUMB SHIT!’  Can you believe she said that?!  Oh and now she’s thoroughly pleased with herself…”

Rea:  “I wish I could be there with you guys.  Sounds like you’re having sooooo much fun!  Love you!”

Me:  “Yeah, you’d better run Mom!  Okay, love you too Sweetie.  I’ll call you later.”

——————

It turns out that Mom has several Nativity Sets that she has inherited over the years, and instead of using only the best piece of each of the sets to make one, Ultimate Set, Mom likes to put every single figure out on display; on top of spun glass.

Me:  “Mom, your Nativity Set is too big.”

Mom:  “No one has ever said anything before.”

Me:  “Well I’m saying something now.”

Mom:  “It’s like this every year.  You never said anything last year.  Or the year before…”

Me:  “I must’ve been too drunk to notice.”

Mom:  “They are all such beautiful pieces.  There’s no sense in NOT putting them out on display.  Oh look!  Another camel!!  Isn’t it beautiful?!”

Me:  “Oh yes.  So beautiful.  Can’t you at least pick the best Mary and the best Joseph?  For example.  Here is a blonde Mary.  Mary was Jewish.  Do you really think that she would have been blonde?”

Mom:  “Well she could have been!  Stop being so judgmental!”

Me:  “Whoa!  Okay, sorry…I didn’t realize that you were so sensitive about your blonde Mary.”

Mom:  “Well maybe she’s the next door neighbor.  These could just be like cousins and neighbors who just felt like hanging out that night.”

Me:  “They just wanted to hang out during the birth of Jesus.  No big deal.  Like, ‘Hey what’s up neighbor?  Give birth to any Messiah’s lately?’  There just happened to be a really strong resemblance between everyone is all.”

Mom:  “Well it was a really small town.  I’m sure that there was a lot of inter-marrying going on.  Oh look!  Here’s another Baby Jesus!  TWINSIES!!

Me:  “Two Baby Jesus’?  Where are you going to draw the line, Mom?!”

Mom:  “I guess I should draw the line at two Baby Jesus’…”

Me:  “Well there are some religions who believe that Jesus had a twin brother, and that his twin was Satan…”

Mom:  “Oh yeah!  Well that could work!  This Baby Jesus does look kind of evil…”

Me:  “That must have been the Baby Jesus that cut me.”

Mom:  “Yes.  It was.”

Me:  “It wasn’t Baby Jesus’ fault that I got cut up!  Stop laughing!!”

Mom:  “You’re getting a lot of good material for your blog huh?”

Me:  “Oh yes.”

Mom:  “Where should I put the other Baby Jesus?”

Me:  “Mom, seriously…one Baby Jesus is enough.  We are Christians and we don’t believe that Satan and Jesus are twin brothers, remember?”

Mom:  “Yeah, that’s true.  Okay, I’d rather have the sweet looking Baby Jesus on display if I have to choose.  We’re running out of room on the mantel anyway.”

Me:  “I think that you should probably rename this set, because it’s really not technically the Nativity Scene anymore.”

Mom:  “Let’s call it, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’…”

Me:  “Yes, that’s perfect!  Now, will there be any kids coming to your Christmas party next Sunday?”

Mom:  “I don’t think so…not really little.”

Me:  “Well you’d better make sure.  You don’t want another Spun Glass massacre on your hands.”

Mom:  “I will just be sure to tell the kids not to touch it.”

Me:  “Oh yes, because that works so well…”

Mom:  “As long as they’re not a bunch of dumb-sh*#s it will be fine.”

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2 thoughts on “A Case of Child Abuse in O Little Town of Bethlehem…

  1. Why are all the wise men on one side and all the sheppards on the other? Isn’t that economic segrigation? What the rich, hoity-toity wise men don’t want to stad near the sheep smelling, dirt poor shepards?

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