I hope you all have had a very Merry Christmas and that your lives are settling back down into a normal rhythm of new toys and final servings of leftovers. We had a.... wild? loud? busy? exhausting? entertaining? Yes, with three boys and a girl, ages eight to three, our day was a combination of all of the above!!
They were up just before 7 am digging wildly into their piles of adventure toys from Santa... binoculars, lanterns, voice changing mega-phones, hand-held laser tag, a pogo stick and night vision goggles, and then the stockings stuffed with fun goodies. They ran upstairs with lights off to try out the night vision and chased each other through the house with laser tag while Scott and I made cinnamon rolls. We need the fuel to make it through the noisy toys, gift piles, wrapping paper and squeals of delight!
After the pit stop and another cup of coffee, it was time to divvy up packages, oooh and ahhh over piles and beg to "go next", "no it's my turn!". But this year, there was one small change. Each of our kids went on a shopping day with Mimi and bought a gift for each of their siblings and something for mommy and daddy. This small act of ownership over choosing gifts and thinking of others in our family gave them such a sense of the joy of giving...of seeing others excited about what you picked out, just for them. When their gifts were chosen from the pile to open they exclaimed, "That's from me! You're going to love it!" They chose, shirts, tractors, a baby doll for sister, motorcycle and swords. It was great, mostly seeing their selfless joy. But there was one small gift that deserves mention of it's own.... This is my favorite Christmas story of 2016.
Our five year old, Elijah was the first to go on the shopping day with Mimi. They went to the Tractor Supply where there's always wonderful goodies for farm kids and country living. Norma, my MIL, said he wandered into an isle and came out holding an item with a look of pure satisfaction and said "this is what I want to get mommy". She said, "well, why?" He told her he just knew I'd want it, that we needed a new one, and that I would be so happy when I saw it. He could not be dissuaded. She even tried to get him to choose something else and still give me this "perfect present" after Christmas, but he would have none of it. So, he continued shopping, holding his prized find firmly in his five year old grip.
Before bringing the kids back she took them home to wrap their gifts then helped them place them under our tree. Their efforts to hold their tongue were.... comical, to say the least! But when Eli brought his gifts up he pleaded with me to open it right then and there. Please don't wait, you will love it! Well, there were still ten days until Christmas and I tried to explain how sad I'd be if there was no present for me to open from him on Christmas morning. In the meantime, Norma had called me to let me know she did not know why, but he was adamant about this gift and his pride in finding it was worth wrapping it. My curiosity was piqued.
So, back to Christmas morning and divvying up the gifts... After the first few were opened by the kids, Elijah picked his gift to me and said, "Please mom, open this one next." He stood in front of me, a gentle smile across his face, as I pulled back the paper to reveal... a plunger. I pulled it from the paper and said, "Wow! A new plunger! We sure needed one, didn't we buddy?!" He said, "that's why I picked it for you mommy." as he hugged me and I told him how much I loved this gift he chose just for me!
Before you get any thoughts about how I must clog our toilets, I will tell you, I neither clog them, or unclog them when they are overfilled with toilet paper by a child! I call for Scott... to use the plunger we already have!! (I'm dying as I write this...it was SO funny!) I have no idea why he thought this was the perfect gift, or why he thought we needed a new one, but I can say, with all my heart, this was the best gift I received this year because, strange as it may be, my boy just knew I would love it....so I do.