With Christmas music blaring over speakers throughout the house, the four boys and I were on our fifth hour of putting up the Christmas decorations. I was just marveling at how few arguments the boys had, and how the whole day they stayed focus on the fun of the lights and holly. No one grumbled. Everyone helped. "How is that?" I asked myself, remembering some of the arguments my brothers and sisters and I had while putting up decorations long ago.
I don't pretend that the future might hold something very different. You never know what will be when there are four boys in the mix. But for now, we so incredibly blessed. So blessed.
So blessed. Those words ran through my head just as Christian, as if to read my mind, looked up from his string of colored lights and said, "Mom, we have the best Christmas family ever!"
"Why is that, Christian," I asked, partly wanting to figure out what's in this child's head to make him say such a random sweet thought, but secretly wanting to find answers myself.... why is it, after the heavy blow our family took two years ago, we feel truley happy right now? How?
"Because we only ask Santa for one present," Christian answered with a matter-of-fact smile.
From the mouths of babes. That was Tom's legacy. Appreciate what we have on our plates and don't demand more. Just choose to be happy.
Tom and I unplugged that Christmas machine years ago, and decidedly made Christmas cozy and light. It started years ago when Tom's teenagers told me something that rang true for me. Christmas became a disappointment when they became teens. It's only normal - the way people are wired. When you start young kids off on a diet of present after present after present... mostly affordable toys, they begin to find the glow of Christmas only in the shine from the foil wrapping. Once the toys for teenagers get more expensive, there aren't as many. Less foil, less fun.
That's because it was the wrong fun.
It was bling. Empty bling. That's why we unplugged the bling. Now everyone gets one present. Two if you include Santa! Hey, with four boys, that's already eight gifts, and they're just as happy sharing their toys with each other... it's still fun!
Meanwhile, here's some other benefits! No more panicking at 1 in the morning on Christmas because we hadn't gotten all those presents wrapped! Less shopping. No demands from the kids. In fact, now that the boys only get one or two gifts, they don't even make lists. They start to, and then stop and smile and say, "no, just surprise me!" And best of all, the presents they get are quality. Like a puppy, or a cell phone, or a cotton candy maker. Something that can be and is used all year round.
I know what I want this year for Christmas. For my boys to keep that family bond, forever!
Lord, please give me one gift this Christmas. Protection. Protect the family bonds we have. I love it Lord, that the boys each have three best friends- each other. They have many other friends, but they love their home. It's safe, it's happy. Please Lord, don't give me more, just keep blessing me with what You've already given me!
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