My favorite gift, hands down, was the gift card given to me by the Goose. The amount and the store didn’t really matter. (But, by the way, she bought a gift card from one of my favorite stores and spent a week’s allowance on it.) The fact that she bought me a gift with her own money that she earned is absolutely precious, and I will cherish that fact forever. This is the first year that has happened, and I am thrilled because she focused on doing for others instead of focusing on what she was going to get! Not only did she buy me a gift, but she bought one for her brother, her father and her pseudo-cousin, as well. For her real cousins, she made hand-made gifts. She put a lot of thought into all of the gifts she bought and made, and to watch it was a blessing. This mother’s heart is warm.
My favorite moment was last night on Christmas Eve when my kids were baking cookies for Santa. I’m pretty sure the Beetle was just there for the cookie dough, but he was there none-the-less. For just a brief moment, my kids were little, and they were getting along. They both laughed and joked, and no one bickered. It was a glimpse at how life used to be before hormones started bouncing all around and making my kids crazy.
My favorite fact was that the Goose still believes in Santa. This very-well may the last year for that, and I loved it while it lasted. She had to make the annual reindeer food and leave her drawing and note to Santa. She has left him gifts in the past, but this year, she chose to draw him a beautiful picture. In a time when both my kids seem to be growing up so quickly, she is still little in some ways.
My other favorite fact was that the Goose woke up at 1:00 in the morning because she was so excited about Santa coming. (And I love the fact that she told me that this morning instead of waking me at that time!) Can’t you remember that anticipation and excitement? I’m glad she has that, even though she lives in a world of technology and instant gratification.
My third favorite fact was that the Beetle woke up at 2:00 AM in anticipation. (I have a lot of favorite facts.) Although he is a little older, and he believes a little differently than the Goose does about Christmas, he was excited! Normally, he is so emotionless that I was glad to see a little excitement. (And, again, glad that he told me about it this morning.)
My favorite expression was the look on the Beetle’s face when he realized he was getting the one thing he really wanted, a rifle. I had been saying for months that there was no way I was going to let him have a gun. I had him convinced. We had disguised it so he wouldn’t know right away that he was getting it. (By the way, it’s really hard to disguise a gun.) When he realized it, I saw my three year old little boy who was always happy and was always excited. It was a rare moment.
My favorite after-gift opening activity was cooking while listening to my family. I actually enjoy cooking when I’m not having to work all the time. I loved hearing the Goose hum and singing contentedly while playing with her new doll. I enjoyed seeing and hearing Mr. Everything and the Beetle out shooting the new gun. I’m not sure at this point whose gift that really was, because Mr. E was as excited as the Beetle. (By the way, for those of you who are worried, we have already put rules in place. The Beetle will not be shooting by himself. We have a trigger lock and a lock on the other thingy on the gun. Plus, the Beetle has been through gun safety training. Relax, mothers, I’m not completely crazy.)
My favorite realization was how much our Christmas has changed over the years. When we were first married, I insisted on having a fancy breakfast and using the Christmas dishes on Christmas morning. Now, I don’t even own Christmas dishes. We had breakfast on the couch while admiring our gifts. I like that better, because it suits us. We aren’t fancy. We weren’t fancy back then, but I was trying to establish traditions. Now, we have traditions and quirky things we do, and it suits us much better.
I rushed into Christmas this year. We were out of town until December 16. I wrapped presents here and there when I had time. Normally, I put everything out and make sure what I have for my kids is even and that we are giving them a fair amount compared to Santa and other people. I realized this morning, with horror, that my kids each only had two presents under the tree from us. They each opened two last night, and one was an electric toothbrush (Lamest. Gift. Ever.). If I had known we didn’t get them anything, I would’ve made them wait! I felt really bad and was afraid they would be upset. If they were upset, they hid it well. I’m pretty sure they just shrugged it off as, “Mama is crazy.” I’ll accept that.
This was a Christmas full of blessings and love. I came away loving my kids a little more (if that's possible) and feeling like I might actually be raising decent human beings. I can’t say that about every Christmas. Some years, I have regretted giving them anything and have vowed to deprive them for months just to make them less rotten. This year, they did their mama proud. -Al