My daughter, my ex-husband, my ex-but-not-really-stepdaughter, her mother (my ex-husband's first wife) and I had decided on a traditional Christmas in NYC. Before we even left Los Angeles, my ex-husband gashed his head open on the cab door. Great. We hadn't left my driveway and already someone was bleeding. I was reminded of a time when my ex and I were still together... I believe it was in 1993... and we were woken up by an earthquake. We ran to the front door, naked, the apartment shaking, and I thought: "Now what has he done?"
Because of the storm, our flight from Burbank was delayed. On the bright side, the rains weren't as bad as the last bad rains, which had been so bad a house on Laurel Canyon imploded. (An urban legend I made up is that said house was a porno movie shooting house, and it actually collapsed under the weight of sadness).) My daughter is scared of flying, because it takes place in a compact, shaking vessel 37,000 feet above the ground. Also, before boarding, JetBlue announced they needed to perform a maintenance check on the plane because on it's previous flight, it got hit by lightning. Lightning. I did not know that happens. Lightning strikes airplanes, did you know? I mean, of course, but still, really? Much like the porno house, my daughter imploded. Thanks, JetBlue. I'm not sure how we can help in the lightning situation; but, thanks for telling us.
My ex-husband's first ex-wife and I are both Jewish, and our collective ex is a non-observant Gentile "something." Both our daughters wanted a gooey, kitschy, family winter wonderland type deal, so Christmas day started out at Radio City Music Hall. I grew up in Manhattan, so I'd seen the show, but I didn't remember it being so Jesus-y. I don't know what Bill O'Reilly is bitching about in his "War On Christmas" spiels, but they don't skimp on the Jesus at Radio City. Although, Jesus is really the B story. The A story revolves around two brothers who don't have enough money to get their sister a Christmas present. That's where Santa, who's, like, just hanging around on the corner, comes in. The younger boy believes it's the real Santa right away; his 14-year-old brother, who's clearly seen some shit go down, is more circumspect: "Yeah, right. Let' trust strange, old men in the street who want to give us presents." So, Santa whisks the two boys away to the North Pole -- (on Law and Order this is where Benson and Stabler would come in) -- where they're greeted by elves, (played by little people. Hey, it's a living). A bastardized version of The Nutcracker ensues for no reason except to see people in bear suits do comedic ballet. Our heroes, the brothers, pick out a toy, (or a toy picks out them because Santa said it's all magic and blah blah blah), after which Santa takes them flying. The teenage boy finally decides he believes. And I'm thinking, "Of course you believe. You just got proof." After that we saw, Little Fockers.
My ex-stepdaughter spent that night with me and my daughter, (her sister), in our hotel room. Just us three girls. We ate the leftover cookies from Milk, plus the fancy good night chocolates on the bed, plus the roasted pistachios nuts I'd bought earlier. We fell asleep watching Minority Report. The next day -- snow. So much snow. We took pictures in it, threw snow balls of it, planned our outfits around it. At one point my daughter said, "No one can understand how happy I am right now." And at that moment, I knew what my ex-husband had done -- he'd given me these two great daughters. And I believed this crazy family thing could work.