In a few days, homes will fill with the laughter of little ones overwhelmed with excitement over presents under the tree. With that wonderful sound, the aroma of holiday scented candles, hot chocolate and Christmas dinner will add to the sight of dancing lights, glittering ornaments and perfectly wrapped boxes unraveled at each seam to create a sensory buffet.
I remember my favorite Christmas present. A Cabbage Patch Doll. For clarification, not one with the yarn hair, but one with the silky hair that could be combed and styled. I desperately wanted one of those dolls and that alone would have made my year. The morning of December 25th, I tore into the red glossy paper and there she was, Madeline Hope. She wore a beautiful blue dress with white lace trim and white walking shoes (much like the corrective shoes I wore as a child). I cherished that doll for many years after her birth.
My sons are now at the age I was when I asked for that baby doll. Their Christmas wish list is very different from mine then. Laptop. Nintendo DSi with games. PSP games. PS3 games. NFL jerseys. NBA jerseys. And, most of all-a flat screen LCD TV. I searched their list up and down for anything that identified them as children, prepubescent kids and I found nothing. No toys. No bikes. No games that do not require energy of the electrical sort. The list could have easily been one from my teenage or adult brothers. Their list is as indicative of 2010 as mine was of 1985; for good or for bad, times have evolved.
This morning we are boxing up over 100 action figures to take to the Helping Hand Mission. It wasn’t even a year ago when John Cena, Batista and Big Show filled their hands as they battled each other for the WWE title. I still catch them playing with them from time to time, but only when the television and anything connected to it is off limits. It’s time to pass these things along to another little boy in the prime of his wrestling obsession.
I worry that they are growing too fast; that I have taught them too much too soon. I worry that their maturity at 7 and 9 will backfire at 17 and 19. I worry that I will fail them as I’m sure all mothers do, but no other mothers are responsible for these two.
And just because I want to keep them kids as much as possible for as long as possible, I put NFL action figures in their stockings.