Let me start by saying “Oops!”, this post is a day late (and at least a dollar short, I’m sure). As is always the way during the holiday season, the sand ran out of my clock long before I could finish this post.
But, my tardiness was worth it. With eight days to go, we spent much of the day at the first of several family celebrations. It was the first party of the season for me, which translates to the first afternoon of indulging in copious amounts of crackers and buffalo chicken dip, crackers and Brie, Christmas cookies and plenty of pie. It was the first gift exchange of the season, I this case it was a gift change just for the kids – our children and their cousins. Nothing gets me into the holiday spirit more than watching my kids, and my nieces in nephews waiting anxiously in front of the tree, waiting for the first gift to be handed out.
Only a fraction of my large family attended this party, with less than half of my siblings there. Still, we represented six states (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and Washington) – not too shabby.
With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I have to say – it was nice to relax for an afternoon, and take a break from the lists, the errands, the chores, and simply enjoy the company of my extended family.
The party season is clearly off to a good start!
I always wonder what will transpire when my children’s homework projects require them to respond to open-ended questions. This weekend, I helped my 4-year old daughter create her “Giving Thanks Tree” for school. She made a poster with a tree stump at school. We were charged with cutting out leaves from construction paper, on which she would write out the many things for which she is thankful.
Now, you never know how a 4-year old might answer these questions. Has she picked up on the “what-the-grown-ups-want-to-hear” answers, like “Mom”, “Dad”, “my family”, etc. or would she give thanks for the ring-pops leftover in the Halloween candy bowl? I tried not to coach her too much, realizing that some if the charm would lie in her undying gratitude for that lollipop.
True to form, my daughter included a nice mix of “I love my family” shout-outs, and a few less orthodox responses. I was a bit relieved to see that she is thankful for me and Dad (spelled b-a-d… oops), her grandparents, and so on. After a while, she even decided she was thankful for her big brother. From there though, we hit the things this pre-school girl really loves: baby dolls, puzzles, and her pink flower nightlight.
I really wonder though how high her teachers’ eyebrows will rise when they get to the leaf that lists the family dog: “Guinness.” Should I expect a phone call?
When my daughter was a baby, my aunt gave me a wooden doll’s cradle and high chair that my cousin had as a young girl. My aunt had kept it in storage all these years, and since my cousin was blessed with three boys, she was kind enough to pass it on to my little girl.
Because my daughter was still too little to play with dolls, and we didn’t have much room for it in the small bedroom she shared with her big brother, we opted to hold onto it for a couple of more years.
Last Christmas was the year. She was 3 1/2, and fully engrossed in playing “Mommy” to all of her dolls. We put the cradle and high chair under the tree with her many gifts. When she bounced downstairs Christmas morning, she made a beeline for the cradle, and began rocking one of her baby dolls back and forth. We had a tough time getting her to open the rest of her gifts!
We did not want to lose sight of the fact that this is a family heirloom, though. In other words, don’t toss these toys around like they just came off the clearance shelf at The Dollar Store. So, we tried to impress upon her the significance of the gift. We told our daughter that this belonged to another girl in our family long ago, and that Santa had kept it safe, knowing that she would take good care of it. She seemed rather impressed with both the gift, and with the fact that Santa was endowing her with such responsibility!
Needless to say, she loves that cradle and high hair. She often has 2 or 3 dolls napping in their cradle, while she feeds another a bottle and Cheerios in the high chair. Recently, my daughter graduated to her very own bedroom, and she was thrilled to help me decorate it. The first items to find a home in her room (after her bed and bureau) were her high chair and cradle.
When she is a bit older, and Santa fades away, I will retell the story of her high chair and cradle. I will tell her that Mommy’s cousin cared for it first, and that her Aunt thought that she would take care of it as well. If all goes well, I am sure that Santa will regift it again someday.
Thank You Aunt June, and Lori, for the lovely gift!