Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A borrowed Christmas story

Once upon a time there was a mischievous little cherub who came to dwell among the other seraphim and cherubim in Paradise. He was known as The Littlest Angel.

From the moment of his arrival, the heavenly peace was never quite the same and The Littlest Angel soon became both the joy and despair of the motherly host.

His crooked halo was permanently tarnished where he held on to it with one hot, little, chubby hand when he ran, and he was always running.

And being so small it seemed to take him twice as long as anyone else to get to nightly prayers. The Littlest Angel always arrived late, knocking every one's wings askew as he darted into his place.

His shrill, ear-splitting tantrums resounded at all hours through the golden streets. It startled the patriarch and disturbed his meditation.
All paradise could easily understand why The Littlest Angel would, sooner or later, have to be disciplined. And so he was directed to present his small self before the motherly host in hopes of restoring the peace.

With a heavy heart, he trudged his way to the place of judgement. Standing defiantly, The Littlest Angel tried to pretend that he wasn't at all impressed by such stern words and that he wasn't at all afraid. But his lower lip trembled, and a tear disgraced him by making a new furrow down his already tear-streaked face.

And, as usual, his flaws in behavior were quickly forgiven. For the irresistible appearance of The Littlest Angel always made the motherly host forget to move her wings and she would fall head over halo for him just as she had exactly 4 years, 5 months, 23 days, 11 hours, and 42 minutes ago.

Yes, from the moment of The Littlest angel's arrival, the heavenly peace was never quite the same. But the patriarch and the motherly host and the other seraphim and cherubim loved that mischievous little cherub just the way he was.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Decisions, decisions

The last few years I have been on the ball when it came to Christmas. Sure, all of this year's shopping has been complete since Thanksgiving but I have yet to wrap and place a single one of those gifts under the tree. Usually our Christmas cards have been ordered, addressed, and stamped weeks ahead of time just waiting for December 12th to roll around so I can drop them in the outgoing mailbox. At this moment there is not a single Christmas card to speak of. We never took a family picture for a card. I'm feeling too frumpy and lazy to attempt to doll myself up let alone make sure we're all matchy-matchy and presentable enough for a family photo shoot. But I still have time to wrap those gifts before the big day comes. And thanks to Costco's web albums and online ordering I'm confident that I can pull together a cute card (with just the kids) in a jiffy. But what I'm really struggling with is what to give friends and neighbors this year. I've had some ideas but nothing that's stuck. I'm blaming this all on the pregnancy, of course. The procrastination. The laziness. The frumpiness. The indecision. But if I wait too long I'm afraid a last minute idea will result in a lame and effortless gift that won't accurately portray how appreciative we are for those friends in our lives. We consider their friendship a gift. An honor. Something to cherish and nurture not only at Christmastime but throughout the entire year. Am I over thinking this? Should it be this hard? In some years past we've always given a bottle of Martinelli's with wishes for a Happy New Year. As I was going through last years pictures I was reminded, yet again, of how behind schedule I am this year.

Last year us and several other families were practicing healthy and clean eating habits as we were all determined to reach our fitness goals. Not wanting to interfere and add to the sugar laden delights that they'd already been tempted with, we decided to give them pineapples. Although it wasn't a homemade treat, it was something tailored to their specific needs and goals at the time.

For the rest of the friends and neighbors we had fun making candied popcorn balls. Making and eating these is a childhood memory for me and it was the first time I had ever made these during my married life or as a mother. So although it may have seemed like a simple treat to those who received it, it really wasn't something that was just thrown together in a hurry. It was made with love, enjoyment, and a ton of Christmas spirit!!

For the kids' teachers, the kids dipped pretzels in chocolate then sprinkled the wet chocolate with crushed candy canes. These were delivered in a cute bag with a bottle of.... can you guess?... Martinelli's! This might possibly have been the first time I let my kids take charge and do all of the work while I sat back and watched. No meddling. No taking over in my control-freakish way. And somehow, I think their teachers would appreciate that (if they had known).

So now back to the tough decision of what to do for 2009? My sweet husband has been trying to help me come up with some ideas but his ideas are just too.... male. (I don't really want to deliver a bunch of Pepperidge Farms salamis and Ritz although he thinks that's the perfect idea.) He did have one other idea. He actually meant it for some comic relief but it needs to be told. He said that we need to get down to the real reason we celebrate Christmas and that we should just buy a bunch of cake mix and make everyone small "Happy Birthday Jesus" cakes. I couldn't even type the sentence without cracking up!!!

Now that I've boosted my morale by reminiscing about the organized Tiffiny of 2008 and giggled myself into a bellyache I think I'm ready to think some more about this oddly difficult decision. This post has been good therapy. And a good distraction.

And for those of you who might end up getting a gift that seems not-so-thoughtful and very last-minute.... just know that I didn't mean for it to end up that way. And that I'll do my best to redeem myself in 2010. But until then... a virtual gift for you:

He's a magician...not a beautician!!!!

Whenever I'm pregnant and my husband attends my prenatal visits with me he magically becomes a self-appointed, honorary OB/GYN. Whenever my husband gets pulled over he magically becomes San Jose PD. Whenever we're in a crowded, quiet room my husband magically becomes the life of the party. Whenever we're in a comfortable setting with friends my husband magically becomes a comedian.

None of this bothers me. I'm used to it. I'm glad he's always been interested in my pregnancies and wants to know everything the Dr. is doing and why. I'm glad he's a fun, approachable guy who has the gift and ability to make those around him feel comfortable. And even though impersonating an officer is considered a felony it gets him out of a lot of tickets. (And I have to say that he's only done this twice--in a joking matter--and the cops just believed him and let him go--no questions asked--so he wasn't really impersonating an officer.)

But when my husband sees my boys' hair needing a trim and he gets a pair of scissors in his hands he magically becomes a barber. This bothers me. I've begged. I've pleaded. I've threatened. But when I do these things my husband magically becomes deaf. None of his hackjobs haircuts have ended well. There've been bowlcuts, steps, bells, and attempts at a buzz using trimmers from a pet grooming kit. I'ts enough to make me want to run out and buy a Flowbee!!

I'm convinced he was doing this chop trim with his eyes crossed.

I only see two conclusions to this predicament. #1-- I gather all of the scissors and trimmers and bury them in a deep hole in my backyard. OR #2-- I take my boys to get their hair cut on a more regular basis.

I guess you all know where I'll be this afternoon....