Wednesday, November 2, 2011

making simple simple

When I was little my mom who really is a Saint had a breaking point it was way past a wet slobbering shedding St. Bernard smuggled inside through the clean laundry becasue we thought she was cold.  Beyond a forest of Christmas trees drug home from the curbside pick up & erected in our yard.  Even past well a lot of things I would rather not mention.  Where was her breaking pointing? The movie the Outsiders.  I'll skip the logical path of emotional deterioration & go right to the kill point: YOU KIDS ARE SO SPOILED!!!!

My mom was raised on the west side of SLC on a small farm (Oh, isn't that where I live now?!).  She didn't walk to school uphill both ways like some parents she actually had a really hard childhood: one dress for school, stood hours in the snow under dressed for buses which bused the poor kids around from school to school, & worked for everything she ever had.  And us? raised in the affluent Harvard Yale District of SLC. And she is so right we were very spoiled! 
I am nothing like my mom, I have a million breaking points one of which is kids with hiccups! But like my mom (& thousands of others mothers out there) spoiled children is a huge annoyance especially if you they are yours and you are the one who spoiled them! I'd like to think we haven't spoiled our kids.  We've loved them.  We've bought them things.  We've said No and then said Yes. We are parents. 
Enter Christmas.  I have struggled with Christmas for years.  When the Big Kids were little kids & the Santa myth was revealed I rejoiced.  When we started all over again with Beach I did something very bold I refused to resurrect Santa.  Here is my standard line: The spirit of Santa is real through the generosity of the Christmas season just like all the Disney Characters are real at Disneyland.  Then I add in the story of Alexis at preschool, Christmas already bought & paid for, new expensive destructive baby brother at home, & she asked for a new doll.  Through the 'magic' of sending preschoolers lists to a charity she got the doll we couldn't not have gotten for her.  The End. 
Christmas stays the way it is, lots of doing & a couple more gifts under the tree than intended. Even despite my underhanded attempts one year to pull the Wise Men card telling the kids "3 gifts was good enough for the Lord it should be good enough for you."  Unfortunately they were old enough to remind me how ludicrous of an argument that was seeing how I am Agnostic.
And all would be fine & I could move on overlooking those extra gifts if it wasn't for that damn Laura and her Little House!  Those kids are happy to get mittens and one stick of candy!!!! If you have known me for any amount of time you have heard me exclaim this before.  It baffles me, amazes me, sets me ablaze. MITTONS?!?! Do you get it, how wonderful that is?!  How amazing to live in a moment where the coolest thing on the planet is the way a mitten feels on your hand.  That is the gift I want to give my children.  It is the gift I search for every year through the incredibly thick commercialism of a beautiful season.  I don't hate gifts.  I dislike the idea of all at once.  We simply don't live our lives like that.  If I find a book Colby would love I wrap it and put it on his pillow.  If he finds dishes he knows I would like he brings them home to me.  I found a book on First Aid for children at a thrift store for Beach (what a find!), I don't want to wrap it & hope that amongst the other things she gets on Christmas morning she will have time to enjoy it.  I want to give it to her one day for no reason at all, when no matter what it will be the best gift ever, for right then, for the NOW.  
The goal over here this year for our Winter Holiday is a stocking and one gift for each of us under our predictable small Charlie Brown tree.  Surrounded by a season of doing, living, & loving!  The girls already got what we asked for a membership to the new Utah Museum of Natural History opening this month after a LONG 11 month closure, the Boys all want Hunter Safety & that is exactly where Colby is right now.  Ski free after 3 at Alta all season, sled, skate, snow shoe, cookies, pudding, cranberries, cards, crafts, snow men, blankets, hot pots, movies, books, & music.
Please don't worry about Beach, don't send gift cards, she will be just fine.  In fact the kid who loves rocks more than toys added fuel to the fire when she said completely unsolicited driving past a big box store, "You know the stores favorite times are holidays when they get everybody to buy things they don't need." 
So here is to the start of our Winter Holiday, simple and sweet.  A pure vision like the moon rising over snow capped mountains...over the power lines.


  1. Just found your blog, courtesy of What's For Dinner Mom? She is right, what a wonderfully written post! I am now a follower!