This thing showed up in the mail this week.
I am fairly certain that, some time tomorrow, away from the innocent eyes and ears of my children, I am going to take a hammer to this foot-long papier-mache delight from Mexico and break it into a thousand little bits. Partly because it is creepy; partly because I have a little anger over not getting to go to dance class tomorrow because E. is working on a Saturday (again); but mostly because it symbolizes one of the very fucked up things about my family of origin (FOO).
See, my grandmother took these trips when I was a kid. She traveled to Africa, China, and all over the US. I think this is one of the cooler things about her, and in my mind it is associated with her financially enabling me to do some travel when I was a kid, too, which was quite huge for my personal growth and desire for freedom. Those subsidized trips eventually paved the way for my one-way trip out of Idaho.
I know enough by now about my family history, however, to guess that my grandmother's many trips may have had something to do with fights she was having with my grandfather, or even with affairs she may have had when I was young. Freedom for her too, I guess.
For example, she spent quite a bit of time mining for gold in Arizona when I was very young. I'm not kidding about that. It's not a euphemism. Though perhaps it should be, because she wasn't with my grandfather. You can fill in the blanks about as well as I can. And I'm not exposing any skeletons here: she has written an autobiography about those times and asked me to read and edit it a few years ago.
Anyway, while she was in Arizona, she made frequent trips to Mexico and bought copious amount of weird shit down there, including a vast collection of papier-mache clowns in various states of dress and emotion. They are terrifying. In fact, I can't think of one souvenir from my grandmother's many travels that is not, in some way, incredibly disturbing.
So grandma calls last week and leaves a message indicating that my mother returned this little dude on the horse to her house (you know my mom is not feeling well when she actually initiates a physical visit with my grandmother). My grandmother gave it to her many, many years ago. My mother returned the little dude on the horse because she didn't want it anymore (probably never wanted it) and my grandmother strictly forbids you to ever get rid of anything she has ever purchased for you. Ever. And if you do get rid of it, she will find out. She has a secret network of yard sale and thrift store spies strategically located all over the universe.
At least, it feels that way.
So my mother has taken to returning gifts to my grandmother over the years. This has resulted in my grandmother also returning gifts to my mother, causing massive amounts of hurt feelings and confusion on both sides. It has blown up into epic proportions such that now nobody gets anybody gifts, or else one spends an entire paycheck on a gift so magnificent it cannot be returned.
And then it is returned. Or, at the very least, disparaged. Or given away to the checkout girl at Albertson's.
In recent years, as you know, grandma has taken to sending me loads of her stuff. Anything with any feeling attached to it in particular. I am the Curator of the Family Heritage and Hurt Feelings Society. She usually calls first and asks if I want something, though my answer can never be no. True to form, the last phone message from gram asked if I wanted this horse (I didn't) and asked me to call her back right away (I didn't). So then this little fucker showed up anyway.
And tomorrow or the next day, it will get the hammer. That way it will never freak any little kids out, ever again, and it will never again be regifted, returned, or serve as retribution. Most of all, this destruction will symbolize that I will not be in the middle of my mother and grandmother on this one.
Die, little dude on the horse. Die.