Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Tears: A Short List Means the Kids are Growing Up

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Ever since our children were toddlers, my husband and I have taken one day in December to do our Christmas shopping. With the children in the capable care of their grandmother, we left at the crack of dawn, establishing our game plan over breakfast out. Then, armed with our lists and ever on the lookout for bargains, we hit store after store until everything was completely checked off. Some years, our shopping day extended late into the evening. Other years, we finished in time to take in a movie. It soon became our personal challenge to see just how quickly we could get it all done.

Then one particular shopping day, we were finished by noon. Giddy with excitement, we relished the fact that the day was only half over and we had finished the hard part! We raced to the car laughing, eager to enjoy the rest of the day together, beginning with lunch at our favorite restaurant. Making our way there, I began to go back over the Christmas list. Had we forgotten something? How did we finish so early? That is when it hit me. We were not scrambling from store to store to find action figures, Lego’s, or the latest American Girl doll. There were no playsets or puppets or lasers on the list. My teens had asked for DVDs, CDs, and electronics. Suddenly the brevity of my shopping day exposed the truth that my babies had grown up. Within seconds, I was crying. Hot tears and heaving sobs left my insides tangled up like last year’s Christmas lights.

My poor Rich did not know what to think. I had gone from being thrilled to total meltdown. He thought I was going through “the change” right in front of him! LOL! I finally managed to explain my sorrow over the short list. He did his best to understand, but those emotions are part of Mom’s life—not so much part of Dad’s.

What is on your list this year? Christmases with your children are disappearing. Soon you will be having Christmas with teenagers, then with young adults. What is really important to you this Christmas? This mom has learned that when it comes to Christmas, it is best to keep your heart light, your oven warm, your tree lit, and your list short.

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