Today's Image

31 Days

Boy, I can't wait to be a grandma, so I can lose my mind every Christmas and apparently go cash out an IRA to go completely nuts on my grandkids.

The doorbell rang while I was putting Sam down for his nap (well, of course it did), and I barely caught the UPS man in time for him to leave three gargantuan boxes of presents on our front porch. I had a heck of a time just hauling them through the front door. They were stuffed to the brim with presents for us and for the boys. My parents are totally ga-ga, but then I suppose they don't have any other grandchildren to spoil right now. One of the boxes was actually cobbled together from two smaller UPS boxes to make a behemoth-sized box.

That picture of the tree up there? It's packed full up to the lowest branches, and the skirt is covered and overlapped by a mile on all sides. The only gifts I've put under there myself are the ones to Eric; I haven't put out any of our gifts to the kids. Don't know where I will, at this point.

It's kind of embarrassing, actually. It seems like they always go a bit overboard, while Cory and I try to buy them one or two nice things that they'll really enjoy. I suppose it's a parent's prerogative, though. I imagine I'll like enough do the same thing, especially when they're grown and we're not supporting a family of four any longer. I certainly won't expect Sam and Gabe to go crazy on gifts for us in return, so I probably shouldn't feel guilty for not showering Mom and Dad with a mountain of boxes. I don't even think they'd want us to do it. (I am looking forward to hearing how they like what I did get them, of course.)

I hope, I hope, I hope that Sam can handle lots of gifts better this year than he has in years past. Last year he got tired of it by the time he was opening the third box. I was planning to set up the easel the night before so that he sees it when he comes downstairs in the morning; I don't even know if I'll be able to tear him away from it to open anything at all. I'll have to make certain that he opens the train stuff last, or it's all over but the crying. Gabe, of course, will be oblivious. Mom and Dad sent him boxes to open too, though. I'm thinking he'll most likely sleep through most of it as long as Sam allows him; he takes a pretty hearty nap around nine o'clock every morning.

And by the way, that pile doesn't even include the two extra gifts for each of us that Mom pre-earmarked for New Year's and Epiphany. Gads.

I remember my Christmases as a child were chock-full of traditions. Every December, Mom would break out the felt Advent calendar that hung on our wall: a Christmas tree that we decorated over the course of the month. Cory and I fought over who would put the first ornament up, since Mom had us alternate days and we figured out early on that the person to go first would get to put the star on the tree on Christmas morning. We'd decorate the real tree together, though we kids knew to steer clear of the living room until the lights were up for fear of becoming embroiled in the accompanying waves of parental frustration. Mom would play records of Christmas music while we worked. I recall a few Christmases when I was a teenager and the family was wrapped up in other distractions; those years, I took matters into my own hands and did the lights myself so as to both avoid anybody else getting upset over it and to just get it done and hopefully propel the family headlong into the holiday spirit.

I loved Christmas. Mom had an old silver Christmas tree, gaudy as can be (darned if this isn't the very one), that I adopted for my own and kept in my room, decorated with older, uglier ornaments that nobody else wanted on the family tree. I cranked up The Chipmunks Christmas album and made my room a veritable Christmas showroom. It was perfect.

I actually don't recall much about the presents I got as a child, which speaks volumes about where my priorities were even then. I remember getting a dollhouse one year, and a bike from my aunt another on another. When I was in sixth grade, we got our first computer; I remember that well because Dad had us believing we were getting some kind of go-cart or some such thing. Mom didn't believe in lying, so she had teased us by saying we'd need to wear "special caps" for that year's gift, meaning our "thinking caps," and Dad took the ball. "Yeah, you can't use it without wearing helmets!" Fooled us, proper.

Sam keeps asking me to hang Christmas lights in his room. Maybe next year, when he's a little older, I think. I hope this means he'll be as excited about the season as I was, presents aside.

Gabe stares at the Christmas tree with hungry eyes. I wonder what he thinks it is.

previous one year ago:
Seriously, when does the ability to choose gifts for yourself just up and vanish?
two years ago:
I refuse to succumb! I have too much to do!
three years ago:
Still, I do think we're on the road toward healing, not going the other way.
four years ago:
Call me overly cautious, but that little bulge in my abdomen has infused me with a heightened sense of caution.
five years ago:
What else could account for a freaking 27" color television????
In the ears:
Dead silence

On the Bookshelf:

Gratuitous Sam



Nose tickle

Extra Gabe

Yellow sleeper


For me?


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