Here it is. Christmas day. The presents have been opened. The dinner has been eaten. I have had a few alcoholic beverages, but not nearly enough to understand why my mother-in-law is holding a Tibetan bowl next to my head, softly gonging it to create a rather pleasant, yet utterly confusing, humming vibration. How did I get here? And why do I hear rap music?
How I got here was 15 years ago, meeting a hot guy in my Anatomy class.
Why I hear rap music is because my daughter was generously given a keyboard for Christmas. Never mind that it’s 10 years old and has been sitting in my in-laws basement collecting cobwebs. It’s new to her, and that’s cool enough for a six-year-old. She has already become the next Eminem, and she’s only been playing with it for 10 minutes! Prodigy.
While my daughter is becoming the next big rap star, my mother-in-law (from this point on, called ‘MIL’) is channeling her inner Tibetan monk, and healing my holiday frazzled mind with a bowl.
It’s not the kind of bowl I would prefer at the moment.
I survived a day of late arrivals and witnessed numerous counts of heavy petting by the brother-in-law with Girlfriend of the Moment (from here on dubbed ‘GOM’). She’s a nice person, and I’m trying not to fault GOM for worshipping MIL and petting my brother-in-law. Neither of these actions make any sense to me. GOM seems to admire the grandmother of my daughter for cheating on her (MIL’s) husband, because MIL is “following her heart… hearing the call of the wild… mastering her universe…etc.”
And they both do yoga. So, there’s that.
I don’t see MIL in the same light. Yoga does not equal knowledge (though it is great for the bod). Beauty does not necessarily beget higher cognition.
Exhibit A: Naomi Campbell.
That, and starving yourself makes you mean.
The heavy petters left soon after dinner. My daughter’s eyes were glazing over with her impending chocolate coma and the realization that this period of eating sweets with reckless abandon has ceased. The knowledge that there is nothing left to unwrap has dawned. The dread over waiting an entire six months until the next Christmas has arrived. Yes. “Six months” is what my daughter sobbed to me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was going to be a bit longer than that.
The last to leave was MIL. Instead of saying “goodbye” she said,
“Let me get my bowls!”
What she meant was her new, $1500 Tibetan bowls. She told us they were really old, that’s why they were so expensive. I’m sure that’s what they said in store at the mall, as well.
In she marched with her bowls. I was seated on the couch continuing to drink. Not nearly fast enough. I have a rule not to stop until all in-laws have left.
Next thing I know, she starts bonging the bowl next to my head.
As the vibration was just settling down into a low hum, my daughter started rapping.
WAP BAP A RAT A TAP WAP BAP SMACK A LACK A
It was like the Beastie Boys were holding a concert with the Dali Lama. It was awesome! My MIL was stone cold serious in her attainment of a higher self, while my daughter rapped with reckless abandon.
After I composed myself by departing the room to add more vodka to my drink, I returned to find MIL sitting on the floor, my daughter sitting on the floor, three bowls between them, bonging away. My husband was on the couch next to them, holding ting- shaws. They look like mini cymbals attached to one another on a string. Of course, he was holding them at testicle level and booming, “I saw three ships come sailing in.” There was a symphony of bowl playing and ting-shawing going on in my living room (along with the random Christmas carol). The dogs seemed to like it.
They were probably just happy that the rapping had ceased.
My MIL started telling me (over the healing sounds of bonging, gonging, and tinging) that massage therapists are using these Tibetan bowls now. It is a huge asset to their businesses. You fill the bowl with a little water, put it on the client’s back, and bong it.
“Well, that must be a lot easier on their hands.”
I AM a massage therapist, which she seems to never recall as she lists off the benefits of massage therapy to me. I am thinking, if I put a bowl of water on my client’s backs, hit it with a gong, and call it a massage they might not want to pay me.
My bubble is somewhere between Mother Earth, and Mother Fucker, but I can’t seem to wrap my mind around Mother-in-Law. Christmas at my house. Don’t you wish you’d been there.
We could have shared a bowl.