Christmas Eve . . . the countdown begins . . .

So it’s one day before C-Day and, for the most part, I’m ready. Still have a bunch of wrapping to do, but not an overwhelming amount. Everything will get done and, hopefully, the kiddos will have a good Christmas.

My kids are a constant source of . . . not sure what to call it. Entertainment? Amusement? Inspiration? Take, for example, what happened a few mornings ago. My daughter and I were getting ready for the day. Suddenly, she cries out that I needed to come up to her bedroom. She was scared of something that was in her closet. Upon further inspection, we found the culprit – a tie-dyed former pillow case that had been made into an Indian costume for the Thanksgiving program at her school. Apparently, part of the tie-dye pattern looked like a skeleton’s head.

I didn’t want to mock her for her fears. I remember very well what it was like to be irrationally afraid of simple things. When I was small, there was a book about a house that had been abandoned and boarded up. The house had a face on it – the windows were eyes, the door was a mouth, etc. – and the illustrations made it look both sad and slightly angry at the same time. I kept thinking that this house was going to come after me. I couldn’t keep that book in my room and for several days, I needed to sleep with my bedroom door open so that I could see my dad down the hall, sitting in his recliner watching television. Nothing bad could happen as long as I could see my dad, right?

I remember that my mom never got irritated with me, even though it must have been frustrating. After all, how could this cartoonish, boarded-up house be scary? How could it possibly come after me? There was no explanation for it – I was just terrified. My mom was completely understanding and did whatever I needed to get over my fear.

My daughter’s costume is now packed away and, hopefully, my daughter won’t have to worry about skeletons in her closet until she’s much older.


It’s beginning to look a lot like . . .

Christmas has arrived in the Calvin household! Or, at least, there is a Christmas tree in the living room. Maybe at some point we’ll get around to decorating it. It does already have lights on it, so it doesn’t look too sad.

Lately, my stepson’s mother and I have been discussing what we like to call “the Santa Question.” My stepson is eight years old, my daughter seven. I can’t remember how old I was when I found out the truth about ol’ Kris Kringle, but I think it might’ve been around third grade. What we can’t decide is whether or not we should go ahead, bite the bullet, and reveal the scam, or let it go until the kids naturally figure it out for themselves.

There are pros and cons, of course, to both sides, but one thing is definite – we would have to tell them both at the same time. There is no way that one of them would keep the secret from the other. The main reason my stepson’s mom wants the truth out there is because “the boy” has been requesting all kinds of outlandish, expensive, and sometimes downright dangerous items for Christmas. Whenever objections are raised, he responds by saying that it doesn’t matter if his mom buys them or not – he will rely on Santa to bring him what he wants. Santa doesn’t have such silly limitations, like a budget. He represents unlimited possibilities, which naturally, none of us can ever hope to compete with.

Because of this, my stepson might figure out all these things for himself this Christmas, especially when he doesn’t get an iPad under the tree like he so desperately wants. If this is the case, what’s the harm in going ahead and telling him the truth? There’s a part of me that wants to hold on to their innocence, their belief in this magical time of year, for as long as I can. It’s not practical. I know it’s going to come out eventually. And if it happens this year, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s a little sad nonetheless. Another rite of passage that proves that our children are growing up faster than we want to admit.

At the dinner table, when my husband and I were telling the kids that presents would be a bit lighter this year (mostly because they really don’t need anything), my daughter put her hands on her hips and said, “Can we at least have a Christmas dance party?”

Sure, honey. Dance away.