To quote John Lennon, “And so this is Christmas.”
You’ve probably already opened your gifts. Perhaps your kids are playing with their loot around the Christmas tree, while you’re sipping your coffee and reading the paper. Perhaps you’re waiting to see or talk to grandchildren or for family to arrive for festivities.
Or maybe you’re at work, taking a break from the daily grind. (I’ve been there.)
Or maybe for whatever religious or personal reason, it’s just another day for you.
Whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re having a good one.
It’s been fun this year. For the first time, my younger son really “gets” it. He’s interested in the idea of Santa, and — given the merest opportunity — will earnestly tell anyone what’s on his Christmas list.
Sam was exceptionally easy to buy for ... a box full of Thomas the Tank Engine stuff, some books, some games, a stuffed animal. There’s really nothing he doesn’t like.
And then there’s Jim.
My older son is hard to buy for. It’s not that he’s picky. He likes what he likes ... mostly anything involving music, or some books. But he doesn’t ask for things ... ever.
As a parent, I can’t help but want to find him that wonderful gift for under the Christmas tree ... the one that will make his eyes light up and that wonderful Jimmy grin beam across his face. I managed it last year with his very first MP3 player.
This year? I’m not so sure.
He’ll like his gifts. I’m positive of that. But I don’t know that I managed the “knock-it-out-of-the-park” gift.
Before we visited Santa Claus (as usual, at the North Tonawanda Carrousel Museum) this year, I sat down with him and asked what he was going to tell Santa he wanted.
I just got a big smile. Then, “Go see Grandma and Grandpa?” And a request for “cars and boats and rockets with brother?” And “go have some fun?” And “sandwich?” (As in, his beloved grilled cheese.)
No Christmas list. None at all. I asked a little more. No luck. (Through I did get a stream of giggles; apparently I was amusing him.)
I’ll admit it; I was frustrated. I chalked it up to his disability and a few issues communicating and moved on, doing the best I could with my shopping and just hoping he’d like everything.
Then I was wrapping the gifts one night, worrying about what Jimmy wants, hoping he was happy on Christmas morning and thinking about what he’d told me when I asked.
And it occurred to me: Jimmy does want things.
He just doesn’t want things I can wrap.
He wants to see his grandparents. He wants our little family to do things together — especially the requested “cars and boats and rockets with brother,” which is Jimmy-speak for Olcott Carousel Park. He wants to spend time at home with all of us playing games or having tickle-fights or even just eating dinner that isn’t rushed as one parent or another has to run out the door.
And Jimmy, like the reformed Grinch-who-stole-Christmas, might have the right idea. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, is a little bit more ...
I can’t wrap up visits with Grandma and Grandpa, or trips to Olcott Carousel Park, and put them under the tree. But I can go forward remembering what it is my children truly love.
Time together. Time with parents who aren’t stressed out and running this way and that. Time with all the people they love. Time just spent together.
I can’t buy time. I can’t wrap it.
But today and forward, I can make sure I remember what’s important.
Jill Keppeler is a page designer and columnist for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To quote John Lennon, “And so this is Christmas.”
- BOOK NOOK: Books lists spooky side of Western New York Ask anyone in Western New York -- or anywhere at all, really -- about ghost stories, and I'll bet they have one for you.
- Solving a murder in a convent
Stories from the neighborhood, and the concentration camp
The person with a haunted past is a familiar and reliable trope in literature and film, and perhaps all of us have something about which to be haunted. A book by Lewiston resident Joseph Leary, “Klara,” sharply explains a story of past misdeeds in a well-written and evocative novel.
Some tips for the fathers-to-be
All of a sudden, I’m getting to feel like a bit of an ol’ pro at this fatherhood thing.
Clueless and late to the garden party
The more I get into this whole gardening thing, the more I realize how much I don’t know.
It started not long after I finished my first “Clueless Gardener” column, when I walked into a store with the idea of making some gardening purchases. Seeds, I thought. Maybe some plants to transplant. But mainly, seeds. That’s kind of the point of a garden, right?
Easy ways to enrich your pet's life and help the environment
The day has come were my finely articulated words have been placed on the bottom of my bird cage to be soiled upon. Sure, it was funny when it was Joe Biden’s face or another writer’s work. But mine? So cruel. So proud.
All that glimmers
Even during a drizzly February day, Gleam & Glimmer Stained Glass Studio is full of light.
It shines through the stained glass pieces in the front of the Webster Street shop, glances off mosaics and jewelry and lands on the works in progress in the studio area, where students can learn to create their own multi-colored art.
That’s exactly the way co-owner Suzanne Todaro likes it.
HAYNES: Sizing up the Oscars
The big show is tonight and for the first time in my life, I have managed to catch every single movie nominated for the best picture award.
COLUMN: Make your popcorn red carpet-worthy
Annual movie award shows are the perfect excuse for hosting a party.
- HAYNES: Celebrating the Oscars with a little 'Help' in the kitchen
- More Lifestyle Headlines