MERRY CHRISTMAS. If you celebrate something else, feel free to greet me with whatever that is. We celebrate Christmas here, taking a side trip here and there to Hanukkah. I get SICK of the "Happy Holidays" generic greeting. If you prefer it, grow a spine. If you don't, get a life, already! Just because somebody says, "Merry Christmas" does not mean they hate everything you stand for, and are out to make your life miserable and marginalized.
Once upon a time, not too long ago, over a decade plus a couple years, which older people will tell you is no time at all- Belle was a very clever toddler who was bright and happy and just the cutest little girl in the world. Lulubelle was busy taking a stab at attempting to straighten out her life before she gave up on that; going to college; working part time; along with making the gesture of attempt to take care of Baby, who really was a baby then.
A frequent mother's helper during that time was the television. Before you judge, remember the Mister and I were there, and this was NOT when Baby developed her affinity for "Divorce Court" and "Maury." And please don't tell me how it effects vision- they see much better than I. This was in addition to reading to all the children, along with plenty of games and interaction. When we were there- and after I quit working full time, one of us was ALWAYS there for the most part- there was no "Tonight Show" or even so much as a whisper from "Jimmy Kimmel Live." There was "Bear in the Big Blue House", and "Rollie Polie Ollie", and "Oswald", and good programs whether current or in syndication, such as "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "the Cosby Show."
Belle's favorite, over Bear and Ojo, was Cosby. I have never in my lifetime seen a child, let alone a toddler, relay such affection to a sitcom. She seemed to be particularly interested in the newer episodes, those being the 7th and 8th seasons. We thought at first she had a thing for Raven, as Raven at the time was a small child much like herself. But we were never sure.
No. Belle was under the impression the Huxtables were her "other" family.
Belle was a very smart little girl. She's a smart young woman now, but back then, we were still impressed with how much she understood and when she understood it. In her two-year-old mind, she knew kids came from two parents, and each of those parents had a family as well. We figured this out because, when we asked her about the Huxtables, she called Cliff "Grandpa" and Claire "Granny." We knew that wasn't the Mister and me. He was "Papa" at the time, and we won't tell you who I was, because then you will know who I am.
And as far as we could figure out, Theo was her father, the one who never came to see her except through the good offices of the cable box. And as sad as the story sounds, a two-year-old who replaces the father who was never there for her with a sitcom character, well, we had to give her props for dealing with her situation as best she could.
The Huxtables were actually preferable to the "other" family. Belle's real paternal grandmother has wanted nothing to do with our side of the family since the pending announcement of Belle's arrival. I wrote Sonny's mother what I considered a nice letter, and I received, on loose-leaf paper, a diatribe on what was wrong with me (she'd never met me), with my daughter, who stole Grandma's son- you get the point. I still have the letter in a box, lest it is ever needed for court. More than a few seemed on making grandbabies out-of-wedlock, second generation. But for the most part, Sonny's family seems to have preferred that we drift away with the grandchildren, no doubt somewhat due to some behaviors we discovered on Lulubelle's part, but certainly more than a fair share of their own foibles and faults.
So who would not prefer Cliff, Claire, Theo and the rest of the gang? Cliff and Claire would've set Theo straight if he had caused a pregnancy, and most certainly he would not have skipped out on child support or visitation. Their daughters were certainly nice, and little Winnie and Nelson would have made excellent cousins for Belle and Baby. I'm sure something would have been set aside for both Baby and Belle's college. For I all I know, Theo might be successfully raising the children now. If I was picking shows for Belle to prefer, "the Cosby Show" would have been at the top of the list.
However, it was not Theo that was Belle's father substitute.
We were remembering, after the annual mental health check, when Belle was a member of the Huxtable family, if not in name then in desire.
"Why do you always say that about Theo?" Belle asked.
"Because you said 'Daddy' when he came on the screen," I replied.
"Yeah, but I didn't think he was my dad. I thought it was the other guy. I wanted the other guy to come on, but it was always Theo."
"Which other guy? Cockroach? Russel? Cliff? Elvin?"
"No. The Navy guy with the little girl. I used to pretend I was the little girl."
OK. This makes more sense. Joseph C. Phililps was Martin Kendall. In the show, he played a Navy officer. Belle's biological father is not an naval officer, but he should be retiring from the military next year (why they keep him confuses me greatly, but that's another story).
"Do you know who the little girl was?" I was about to launch into a monologue on "That's So Raven," another favorite show of Belle's.
"Of course. She was me. Some of our clothes were even the same. She was living with her grandparents in a nice house in a safe place. And they loved her."
Tears. And thankfulness for second-hand clothes and thrift stores.
Speaking of remembering when- I am stifling my craving to bring in Lulubelle's quilt and work on it. The kids who live here won't permit me to ruin my Christmas this year.