Christmas came and went and it was a great experience.
We didn’t have a lot, not like years past, when there were two incomes in my home. Not at all. But we did have things that meant a lot, and that was worth its weight in gold.
Santa brought stuff that all the kids could appreciate, things that I’d kept in mind and called the head elf during the week to extol what virtues my children held that deserved such presents. There was stop frame software so my son could make movies. A telescope. Music abounded and coffee and hot chocolate with a breakfast I’d made the night before.
I don’t ask for anything from my kids. I don’t expect it, either. It’s one of those things, if they wanted to buy me presents I’d have to give them the money anyway and I’d already cut things really close to the vest so we could have Christmas. They don’t seem to mind. The boys are young enough that it doesn’t really cross their minds.
The girls got me stuff. I went to see a streaming Shakespeare play with David Tennant in the lead with my oldest, a week before Christmas but thoughtful just the same.
Then came the gift from my middle daughter. She’d been excited for two weeks, moreso than if she’d been getting the Mona Lisa as a present, I think. She kept telling me she’d looked for a long time to find it and was thrilled to find it. She hoped that the fact it was a little beat up and not in pristine condition didn’t bother me. It was flat and small and looked almost like a comic book . . . but she knew I wasn’t a comics kind of guy so I just couldn’t figure out what it was.
Since she was a tiny little baby I called my daughter my Baby Bear. Still call her that, as a matter of fact. It’s not a teddy bear kind of thing or a stuffed animal or anything like that. In fact, it’s mainly due to the fact that my Mom read me a book when I was little and it was one of several favorites. It was called Do Baby Bears Sit in Chairs?
Roll down the hill. My daughter the tomboy was always in the dirt, rolling down the hill, playing around, fighting the fancy clothes and the bows. So Baby Bear fit better than anything.
When it came time to open gifts on Christmas morning my daughter handed me the present and after each of the kids opened one she asked me to open my present. I pulled off the candy-cane looking wrapping to find a sealed bag with two pieces of cardboard inside. When I opened it and pulled it out . . . there it was . . . Do Baby Bears Sit in Chairs?
“It’s a first edition,” she said, meekly. I wasn’t sure if you’d like it.
I went over and kissed her on the head an gave her a big hug.
“I love it,” I told her.
That, you see, was what Christmas was about in our house. It wasn’t the stuff, we didn’t have a lot of stuff. It was the memories. My daughter harkened back old ones for me but also memories of a fun and silly rhyme I still tell her when I say her name.
And she still rolls down the hill . . . just like I do.