Now It's My Turn
“What are you planning on doing for the kids this Christmas?” It may seem like an odd question to you, but the kids aren’t kids, anymore; they’re adults. The girls are wondering if I’m doing the same for them this year as I did the year before and the year before that. To be honest, I’m wondering, too.
When they were little a pattern was pretty well set. There were three presents from the parents and then five or seven from Santa Claus, plus their stocking which overflowed all over the floor as if Santa had gone on a drunken binge and vomited Christmas all over the place. That continued up until about three years ago, even the Santa part. That year, however, it ended because we were visiting my parents and sister and didn’t want to confuse Laurie’s little ones with the jolly old man coming to grownups when he hadn’t before in their house. So, we reduced Santa to stockings and bought five gifts from the girls and me, the Parentals as the kids call us, and that was the new way of doing things for the next couple of years.
Now, however, things are different. The traditions have to be remodeled, for one thing, and you already know how I feel about that change to the holiday season, and for another, there are more kids. Before you ask, no, the stork did not visit us this year, bite your tongue. Hard. Harder. Our grown children, at least some of them, fell in love and began their own families leaving me to only need to fight for the remote from the girls. Now, I know some of you might think that they’re married and have moved on, so that would equal me buying less this year, but you see, I don’t work that way. It’s not in my wiring to say, “That’s it. You got married. No more gifts for you!” And I can’t buy more for one kid than for the others just because he lives here. It’s also not in me to treat their spouses as less than equal to my own kids. I’ve been in that position and I won’t do it to Christina or Michael.
You see, I’ve sat in a room where one sibling was put above the others and saw the pain it caused though nothing was ever said. When it came to the spouses, I was the one ignored while the others were fawned upon. It hurt, I’ll admit, but as long as my boys were happy it was worth it to me. Then there was the year my children were completely ignored by another family member for some reason we knew not, and we never went back. I will put up with quite a bit for my children. I will not, however, tolerate hurting my children no matter who it is causing the pain. I believe strongly in family, but my kids are at the top of that list.
And now it’s my turn. Our children are grown and almost all have moved out. Some are married or are in long term relationships. Yet, they are still my kids, and in my eyes, those they have chosen to spend their lives with are my kids, as well. So this week, the girls and I went out and bought new Christmas stockings and Char glued their names on with silver glitter. I have no doubt Santa will fill them just as he does the others. We asked for lists from all of them and we have purchased the same amount of gifts for each. On Christmas Eve, we’ll gather around the Present Tree after dinner at Texas Roadhouse and, with Christmas music in the background and drinks close at hand, everyone will be ripping open the carefully wrapped packages to see what’s inside. You see, it doesn’t matter if they live here in the house or way off in Virginia. It doesn’t matter if they’re married or have married into the family. These are my kids and I will always - ALWAYS - treat them equally.
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