Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Chick Lit Cheerleader: Married to a Grinch

Introduction by Melissa Amster

We're glad to have Chick Lit Cheerleader Jen Tucker back with us today....for one last post. Yes, you heard that right. Starting next year, we're taking a different approach to columns and focusing within our team. This also affects our Go-to-Gay, who sends his love but has a whirlwind month going on. We're hoping to have them back for visits from time to time, so this isn't the end end. 

Jen has been with CLC since almost the beginning. I don't remember how she found our blog, but suddenly she was there and she had me cracking up in public from her first book, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out. Her first e-mail to me sparked a whole chain of e-mails that had nothing to do with books. She's just so funny and good-natured. A joy to be around. This made her an instant choice to be our guest columnist. We first met in person in 2014, when she still lived in Indiana and we were on our way to Chicago from DC. Then she came to DC in 2015 and we got to hang out again. Even when we didn't get to see each other for a while, we'd always stay in touch and keep each other up to date on the ups and downs of our lives. When I found out she was moving to my neck of the woods, I was beyond thrilled. Even though we are both busy, we find time to get together. Most recently, we met up at a high school production of Legally Blonde, with (some of) our family members in tow. While Jen was befriending me this whole time, she also befriended my older son. (Like an honorary cool aunt.) So when we met up at the show, I had decided to make it a surprise for him. And boy, was he surprised! (Of course, nothing compared to his reaction when he first found out she was moving out here.) I could think of a billion more reasons why I adore Jen so much and why I'm so fortunate to have her in my life. However, we know you have places to go, people to see, and gifts to wrap!

We hope you have enjoyed getting to know Jen these past seven or so years, both as an author and as a columnist. Her final column (we're not crying...YOU'RE crying) is sure to put you in a holiday mood!

Side note: Jen also connected us with Keith, our Go-to-Gay since 2016. She knows the best people!

Legally blonde...and brunette

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I love Christmas. Like, you don’t even understand love Christmas. The only hiccup is I married a Grinch. A man who thinks the commercialism of the holiday dampens the true meaning of the season. He wasn’t raised by Scrooges. Many a beautiful holiday I’ve spent with his family over the years. So, what’s the difference in our holiday attitudes? Perhaps it can be summed up by a bird.

My mother’s parents, June and Ernie, we’re magical grandparents. Gramma let me have a spoonful of sugar with just about everything. Grumps carried me around Kalamazoo, Michigan in his arms, on his shoulders and even piggyback until I was in third grade. Neighbors would tease, “Ernie, doesn’t that girl have any legs?” If Baby Bjorns were a thing back then, Grumps would’ve utilized that little helper until I could drive.

With the Grinch

My December memories with my grandparents run deep. Gramma lovingly sewed new pajamas for me every Christmas. The year I opened Donnie and Marie Dolls: holy purple socks, honey. The Christmas when Gnip Gnop battles were epic and cutthroat. The time my mom and her brother bought Gramma new dishes. She was so overcome, her tears kept her from opening the crate until later in the day. No matter the year, one thing remained constant. The bird who lived in my grandparents’ Christmas tree.

Christmas 1971

After the long drive from our home (I’d sleep the entire way from Naperville, Illinois—winning!), I’d run downstairs to see the tree. Twinkling lights. Heirloom ornaments. A few decorations made with love by me. Grumps always made me pause before that last step into the basement, close my eyes so there would be no peeking, and wait until I heard the sound. Suddenly, the bird call would instinctively jar my hands away from my eyes and I knew I could head towards the tree. Grumps would rib me that some crazy bird landed inside the faux conifer and he couldn’t get the deadbeat to leave. Every year, until they sold their home and downsized, this was our thing. I’d close my eyes and listen to the chirps and songs and sit with him in the tree’s warm glow. If I close my eyes, I can hear the bird whistles to this day.

I can’t tell you if it was an ornament or a sneaky sound system. Perhaps it was a legit freeloading bird. Magicians never reveal their secrets. I’ve never been attached to things; you can’t take them with you when you check out in this life. Yet if I could turn back time, I would beg and borrow to have that mystifying bird call thing-a-ma-jig to carry on the tradition with my children. It wasn’t the cornerstone of my early Christmases. It is what made the season bright and made my tiny-tot eyes glow. The magic of Christmas, friends.

I’m lucky enough to have inherited the Christmas stockings Gramma stitched with love, her desire to spend hours baking in the kitchen and I think her genuine heart of love and service for others in need. Gramps imparted to me his wit, memories of skipping stones across Lake Michigan and the reminder to get out and enjoy fresh air when life feels stale. Those are my true cornerstones. They come in handy when reminding Mike that this is the season of love and miracles. Reunification and forgiveness. Blessings and peace. And that even a heart like his—the most loving I’ve ever known—can grow three sizes on Christmas Day. I mean, if it happened to the Grinch…

Happiest of holidays to you and yours,

Christmas 2016

Christmas 2018

Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of SaltIn September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at TwitterFacebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.

No comments: