A gift from a stranger
|Note entire can of decorator icing used on this train wreck|
At the supermarket tonight, the woman in line before us said to me, “My, what polite children!” I looked at her blankly for a moment and said, “Thank you – we left the rude one at home…” and quickly added, “No, I’m just kidding. We left the mature and responsible one at home because he’s old enough to stay by himself.” My middle son was at the express register two lanes over using his allowance to pay for some gum. My youngest was helping me unload our cart.
We had walked around the corner to the store, but my oldest didn’t feel like joining us. Truthfully, I had wanted to leave all of them behind – we needed just a few things, including icing for a birthday cake, since all my icing had been depleted at our gingerbread house party the weekend before – and if I had gone by myself, I could have accomplished the whole expedition in under 10 minutes, since I wouldn’t have had to debate or negotiate about why something is or isn’t a good value and whether or not we really needed any more candy than the Life Savers I had chosen for our stained-glass window cookies we’d be making the next day.
I’d also felt that we’d had ample togetherness today, starting at 6:15 a.m. when everyone got up and began jockeying for position, bickering, teasing, tattling, sulking – oh, the drama! At 8:00 a.m., I thought I might tear my hair out. At 8:30, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. The school bus’s arrival was imminent. At 8:45, I breathed a sigh of relief as I waved goodbye to the bus. At last, I could work in peace. A well-meaning friend reminded me that my children are my joy. I replied, “Today they’re my job.”
I know that’s just how it is in the days leading up to Christmas, though. The boys all know to the hour how much longer it is until Christmas. I was actually able to complete all my card sending, gift making, and present wrapping today. Usually I am up until the wee hours of Christmas morning completing everything. As one of my colleagues pointed out, “It does get easier.” Does this mean I’ll just try to do more tomorrow? We’ll see…Good stress is still stress. It had taken a lot of energy for me to ensure that the kids weren’t at each other’s throats all afternoon since the school bus returned them to me.
My middle son and I were both carrying grocery bags and I held my youngest’s hand with my free hand. “Boys, do you know what the woman in line ahead of us said about you?”
My middle son said, “That we’re really stupid?”
I raise my eyebrow at him as I said, “Uhm, no…guess again…”
“What did she say, mommy?” my youngest piped up.
“She said, ‘My, what polite children!’ ”
My youngest squeezed my hand.
My middle son said, “Oooh, that makes me feel all Christmas-y inside!”
Yeah, I thought. That was like the best gift I could have received today…
Boy to the World!