It’s my tradition to take the kids out for some one-on-one Christmas shopping. It’s a rare occasion when I get to focus on just one child at a time, so the trips are quite special to me.
Naturally I can’t stand the crowds or the traffic that come with the Christmas season, so I always aim to get it done in early December, during the week and before noon. You know, when the people who have jobs are working, those who don’t haven’t gotten out of the house yet, so my main companions are sweet old ladies looking for presents for their grandbabies. Yep, those are my people.
As a side note, in elementary school I used to spend summer vacation practicing embroidery while watching Matlock, so my husband likes to tease that I’ve always been a little old lady at heart. I also climbed plenty of trees and played with plenty of dolls, but that retiring aspect has always been a part of me.
Anyway, it doesn’t really matter how many times you explain to a three-year-old that we’re shopping for others and not ourselves, they will inevitably shout something like, “Mom you’re stupid!” when you leave without purchasing at least one of those super mega awesome toys that they wanted for themselves. It always makes me laugh when they do. Those moments of disappointment can be so big and overwhelming when you’re still so little, and childhood is precious. I don’t take it personally — I try to help them constructively phrase their emotions instead. No biggie if it fails, because sometimes you just gotta be upset for awhile, and that’s okay too.
Hopefully, my children are learning that giving to those you love is just as important as receiving, and to do their best to get something that the other person would actually enjoy instead of being lazy about it. Maybe 60 years from now, they’ll be the sort to go out on a Tuesday morning to buy toys for their grandbabies.
But don’t go thinking that I’m some sort of sainted angel. I also make sure that my husband takes the kids out Christmas shopping for me too, because motherhood shouldn’t be all self-sacrifice and nothing else. With how much I bust my butt to make Christmas special, I earn those earrings and scented candles.