Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Christmas Wrapped Memories

Christmas Wrapped Memories
This was it. The one holiday season I would always remember as perfect, the one that my husband and children would store in the memories of their hearts forever…all thanks to me, wife and mother extraordinaire. It was a Christmas that was going to be better than what Martha Stewart herself could have imagined. I was planning get-togethers, making store lists, and shopping weeks before the big day. I beautifully wrapped each gift after I brought it home. For the first time since I began my career as a mother, my four children were seeing presents under the tree long before Christmas day. I was ahead of the game and proud of myself for it too.
Then came the day I will never forget.
My phone rang. I saw it was a friend of mine and realized I needed to take this call. She and I were decorating for our choir Christmas banquet that was just days away and plans needed to be finalized. I quickly told my ten-year-old son Austin, who wasn’t feeling well and was home from school, to watch my three-year-old. He said he would put a movie on and the two of them could quietly watch it in my bedroom.
My phone conversation went on for much longer than I had originally intended. But that was okay since my children were occupied and staying quiet. After I finally hung up and went to check on my precious angels, I found only one, the older of the two, lying in bed. Looking around, I asked “Where’s Josiah? He’s supposed to be watching a movie with you.”
He looked up, unconcerned and shrugged his shoulders. Casually he said, “He’s been down stairs for a long time.” That’s when I realized how very quiet it was. My heart suddenly skipped a beat then started racing! It had been quiet for a LONG time…too quiet. I walked down my staircase and as I rounded the corner, I saw it…torn, shredded Christmas paper…and lots of it.
It was a horrifying sight! I gasped and yelled, “What have you done?” My son, until the very moment of my appearance, was having the time of his life! He was solving the mystery that had plagued him for weeks. He had finally been able to see what was in those packages that he wasn’t supposed to touch. Hearing the screeching of my voice and sensing my shock and displeasure, he broke down and began to cry. By the time I reached the bottom step, I was able to fully see the Christmas present carnage.
The torn and shredded paper was strewn from my front door all the way to my back door. In slow motion my eyes found their way to the Christmas tree. Sure enough, there was not one present left untouched. He not only unwrapped the presents, but he massacred the boxes to remove the contents inside. Matchbox cars were scattered everywhere from obvious test drives. New shirts were half-pulled out of half-wrapped gift boxes. Evidently, once he saw what was inside, he simply moved on to the next mystery box.
I could not believe my eyes. Then I looked at the clock. It was almost time for my other two children to arrive home from school. I couldn’t get Austin to help. His Christmas presents were exposed everywhere, staring at me, mocking me for wrapping them ahead of their time. “Oh, no! What am I going to do?” I grabbed my bawling son and put him on a bar stool in the kitchen. All he could manage to say in between sobs was, “I I I waaannntt ravviiiooollliii!” I’m in a crisis here and all he can think about is food! I quickly made his ravioli knowing this would bide me some much needed time.
I handed him his spoon, then returned to the scene of the crime. Now there was another perpetrator; my three-month-old Yorkie. He had recognized this paper as a place where was supposed to go to the bathroom; and did he ever! We had not quiet broken him of walking while he did his business and he walked and peed from one room to the next, all in the short amount of time it took to microwave ravioli. After he committed this crime, he proceeded to shred every piece of paper he could get his baby teeth into. When I looked at this sight, one that less than an hour before was a reminder of my perfect Christmas, it was now me who wanted to cry. My perfectly wrapped gifts with their pretty tags were now fully out in the open for man and beast!
Instead of crying, out of pure necessity I quickly kicked it into high gear. I had to get this disastrous scene cleaned up before any of the other children discovered their Christmas heroine in this mess. If I didn’t, their much anticipated Christmas morning would now be this afternoon!
I started making mad dashes from the floor to my dining room, lunging at the table with my reclaimed gifts. I grabbed my scissors, tape, and only roll of wrapping paper. Just as I began to get somewhat organized to re-wrap what I had salvaged so far, my son walked in and looked up at me with red eyes, ravioli smeared face and newly stained shirt. He lisped, “I be right back. I goin’ to wasth face upsthairs.” Being in such a hurry I let him go wash up by himself. My already “too wise for their own good” teenagers could walk in any time.
After each gift was hastily re-wrapped, I took a royal blue Sharpie and scribbled the name of the recipient across the top. I threw all the identically wrapped gifts back under the tree; the tree that, by the way, was now missing most of its lower ornaments.
As I was gathering up another trash bag full of torn wrapping paper, I slowly realized that once again, my
home was way too quiet. This time I dashed upstairs. I was met by a dripping wet, wide-eyed little boy who proudly exclaimed, “Look mommy, I all kween now!” I smelled something funny and bent down to sniff his little half-wet head. “Oh, no!” Could it be? Yes, it was flea shampoo!
Earlier, I had given my dog a bath and left the bath water in the tub because Austin begged to give the dog his version of a bath. Unbeknownst to me, when he finished he never drained the puppy’s bath water.
So there I was, looking at my son who was looking up at me with a big grin, dripping wet with dirty dog water. He had indeed given himself a flea bath while managing to keep every bit of ravioli perfectly in place, untouched, on his beautiful little face.
Years later, when I look back on that holiday season, I realize that it really was perfect after all. Not in the way that I had originally planned, but in a better way. I learned that true perfection is in the creation of memories and that my best memories are the ones that are wrapped around my children, not around the presents under the tree.
Have a perfectly merry, memory-making Christmas !!
Karen of Love You Cherishables

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my God! I was laughing until the tears came out of my eyes! Indeed is a great memory, one you will always remember and cherish!