Why I didn’t get my grandkids anything for Christmas

Yes, you read that right. I didn’t get the grands anything for Christmas. Not even a candy cane. First year ever. Lack of funds was only one of the reasons — I mean, seriously — there’s nine of ’em and at $20 a piece, that’s a good chunk out of a tight budget.

I worked the numbers every which way I could, $20 for those eight years-old and over, $10 for the younger ones. But then the younger ones’ options were slim at $10 or under. I considered going to the dollar store or the one-step up, Five and Under store, but then thought…why am I throwing even a dollar away for something that’s going to break, tear up, get lost before the end of the day?

Then I started hearing bits and pieces of what the kids were getting from their parents, other grandparents, and that jolly ol’ elf. After spending a chunk of back-breaking time every week day picking up pieces of play castles, toy cars, microscopic swords and tea cups, Barbie shoes and dresses, stuffed animals ranging in size from the hand held to the giant furry things…I decided there wasn’t a darn thing they needed coming from me that would come from a store.

So I decided to give each one, individually, my time.

I know — being with them sometimes 12-hours a day seems they have enough of my time. But honestly, they don’t. They don’t have me. They have grandma the waitress — which I’m quite good at if I do say so myself — I can balance six plates filled with PBJs on both arms and only drop the occasional chip. They have grandma the disciplinarian — which I’m also very good at. I get tickled at people who say they could never spank their precious little grand. Spend the amount of everyday, regular ol’ time with them that I do and see if you change your mind.  They get grandma the diaper changer or bottom wiper or nose wiper or pick me up from school taxi cab.Shaw Photography Group

But they don’t get grandma.

So my gift to them is my uninterrupted time and my full attention. One at a time. One on one. Emma’s looking forward to a mani/pedi, Landon, a movie, Ava, maybe one of those painting dates…whatever they want to do (within reason — yes, I’m still the grandma that puts limits on things). Even the little ones. A picnic at the park sounds good to me. It may take half the year to get these Christmas presents delivered, but I’m looking forward to each one of them.

 

Blinded by the light

How many of you (if you grew up in the 60’s) stroked your gifts on Christmas morning with little child hands? Not because it was exactly what you wanted and you were so grateful and pleased, but because you were blinded by the light bar on your dad’s 8mm camera? Spent many a Christmas morning blinking and batting my eyes at that darn light. Even going as far as holding one hand up to shield the eyes.

I have a box full of those movies and say every year I’m going to have them transferred to DVDs. I love the graininess and the shaking and jerky motion. And the mouths moving but the only sound emitting is the whir of the projector. I love how my mom and other women of that day would pretend to be camera shy and shoo the camera away like a bothersome fly. Then they’d smile and roll their eyes.

ChristmasBlog_0003
Check out that play kitchen furniture!
ChristmasBlog_0005
Me and my sister. Apparently we liked baby dolls.
ChristmasBlog_0006
My favorite stuffed animal. I named him Tippy and still have him.
ChristmasBlog_0014
I think I might have been a little leary of the man in red.
ChristmasBlog_0007
Garey and his John Deere tractor
ChristmasBlog_0008
Garey and Nina. I miss those days.
ChristmasBlog_0010
Nina made a good stocking stuffer
ChristmasBlog_0013
Garey and my dad. No other words needed.
my1stChristmas 001
Still amazed by it all

What’s your favorite Christmas memory?

ChristmasBlog_0012
Wow! Santa has certainly gotten a little more real looking through the years.
ChristmasBlog_0001
My sister – happy with her new baby doll.

Christmas Miracles & Buttflies

We took the kids to the Country Christmas Train in Denton, NC Friday night. Eight of them. The other one, Jeana, went shopping. Imagine that. A sixteen year old that would rather go shopping. It’s nice to know she’s normal.

But the eight that did go were…well…good. Maybe I should define “good” in our terms.

  • It was very crowded and we didn’t lose a kid. It happens, okay.
  • While we waited in line, they were very content to run in circles. Kept them busy and let them run off some energy. The other kids who were forced to quietly stand next to their parents in line were envious.
  • Only one public announcement of the need to “pee pee” — while the others showed zero interest in checking out the bathrooms in groups of twenty or more.  Because you know, when one needs to go they all need to go.
  • No wailing cries for I want! Can I have? It’s only ten dollars! Sometimes threats do work. Don’t judge.
  • Casey let Uncle Garey hold him the whole time we waited in line to see Santa. The fact Casey let anyone hold him for an extended period of time is a miracle unto itself.

None of the above applies to Ireland. She cried the entire time. Well, she did like the train ride.  She got super excited to see the lights shaped like flowers and yelled out “Buttflies! Buttflies!” We’re assuming she meant butterflies. We’ve made an art form out of smiling at strangers who look on with knitted brows.

Ireland wanted juish. She wanted ookie. She wanted ish — translation apple juice, butter cookie, and Goldfish. She wanted to get down. She wanted to go. She wanted to be held. She wanted to stay. She wanted to go. She wanted to be held.  She wanted down. She wanted juish.

And then it was time to see Santa. She went into the little log cabin okay and had stopped crying and was excited to see the warm fire in the fireplace. And  then she turned around and what to her wandering eyes did appear? The old man in the red suit sitting in a corner.  She may need therapy.

All the other kids were like “Santa! Cool!” Even Casey walked right up and gave Santa a high five. Ireland was screaming in the corner. Totally traumatized.

After the pictures, Santa asked the kids what they wanted him to bring. Ava says “fart putty”. Landon says a “unicorn”. Emma’s list went on so long Santa’s eyes glazed over.

I love those kids.

DSC_0278
The only way we could get Ireland in the picture was for Nina to hold her. And she’s still trying to escape. Back row: Ava and Landon, front row: Ireland, Nina, Casey and Ivy.

 

DSC_0283
Emma, Paisley and Aiden with Santa