Open wound, but the blood has long gone sour

In the Clan, the metrical structure of love is gifts.

The quality of the gifts is not relevant. The quantity is. Predictably simple, the system is that, more gifts indicates more love. Thus does an entire family discover the glory of shopping Christmas at Walmart, because even a box of cherry cordials is worth a point on love’s scoreboard.

Othello’s birthday is this week. Zelda has sent him two t-shirts, a DVD, and a cell phone. I will be hard put to match the monetary outlay of the t-shirts.

[pinches bridge of nose]

Okay, okay, I am not an idiot. Just because the Clan is dysfuntional doesn’t mean I must be. But, for two and half decades, I have been deeply aware of the score in presents, have fretted while I watched Grandma dish out two dozen per kid – inappropriate in most cases, unwelcomed in most cases, but counted, regardless. I know my children hold me in fine regard, and do not compare the number of my gifts to the number of others they receive. And I know that the system is corrupt and pointless, merely a public relations tool for people who will not trouble themselves to behave appropriately.

But.

Oh, dear fucking god, how I hate saying that word. Interpreted, it means, “Now I have demonstrated that I understand sense and wisdom, and am going to further demonstrate that I can disregard it at will, and willfully will do so.”

Yes, that’s exactly what “But” means when I say it.

But.

I am deciding whether I can take Othello to dinner on his birthday and purchase him two paper backs, or whether I should reduce the books by one, or perhaps cook at home. I ….

I’m an idiot. I know what “But” means. I know that my children, Othello in particular, understands and values me, and feels valued by me. How I demonstrate that to him has nothing to do with Zelda, and, after about 15 years of paying attention to a dysfunctional and corrupt method of demonstrating affection — or, rather, replacing the demonstration of affection — it is high time that I shut the fuck up, stop getting ‘wrought over stupid shit, and heal.

Sometimes, I just bore the fuck out of me.

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