Friday, December 16, 2005

Things I Miss... And Things I Don't

My kids did not fight over whose turn it was to start putting up the animals on our Advent Calendar. In fact, there's no discussion, even, over whose "day" it is and no high-pitched nagging if they've forgotten. While I enjoy the peace and quiet, I miss the fact that this tradition has become rather unimportant.

Lighting the Advent Wreath still sparks some interest, but it has more to do with playing with matches and hot wax than anything religious.

We watched the DVD of Miracle on 34th Street that I got for Christmas last year while we decorated the tree. It's the Edmund Gwenn/Natalie Wood version, in the original black & white. DD#1 was in charge of ornament restoration and repair; Hubs was in charge of the high places, DD#2 and I hung the rest of the tree and the tinsel. I am also in charge of Where the Ornament Goes, based on its sentimental and/or esthetic value. I started to get snippy about it (a bad tendency when I'm stressed) and DD#2 said, "Oh, the arguments are starting already."

Out of the mouths of babes.

Needless to say, that (and a glass of eggnog) brought me up short. The rest of the evening proceeded rather peacefully, although I'll be rearranging ornaments, seeking the perfect balance, until the day we take the tree down. (I'll need eggnog for that, too!) Yesterday I pulled DD#2 over and said, "You know, people tend to hang ornaments at eye level."

"Yeah. So?"

"Take a look at the tree."

DD#2 is almost my height now. There is a heavy concentration of ornaments at about the 5-foot level. She laughed.

"I miss when you guys were smaller," I told her. "Then the bottom of the tree was decorated, too."

Since we put the tinsel up, the kitten (Mouse) hasn't climbed the tree. Maybe it frightens her. Or maybe she's waiting until no one is at home.

I don't miss trying to find a babysitter or trying to cook dinner for the kids before we leave for parties.

I don't miss wrapping my husband's presents myself. DD#1 does a much better job.

I don't miss writing Christmas cards, except for special people.

I don't miss baking cookies. I do like eating them. DD#1 & DD#2 enjoy baking and do a fine job. Wish I could take credit for it, but they're self-taught. I mean, the directions are on the box of oatmeal and the back of the chocolate chip bag!

I miss the kids visiting Santa Claus and the pictures of them on his lap. I don't miss getting them all dressed up, keeping them "looking nice for the pictures," waiting in line, and trying to find the one special toy they requested from Santa to help keep the illusion alive another year.

I miss buying baby dolls and pretend kitchens and wooden train sets. I do enjoy watching the kids take giving gifts as seriously as they do receiving them.

I miss watching the TV specials like Rudolf and Frosty and How the Grinch Stole Christmas with the kids. It's just not as much fun watching it by myself.

However, these are the kids who got the bright idea to buy their father a Red Ryder BB Gun after watching A Christmas Story. So we can watch other shows together.

No, the BB Gun did not have a compass in the stock. They forgot that detail. Hubs liked it anyway.