Each year after Thanksgiving, I make a list of all the stuff I need to do for the next holiday. For some reason, I'm bent on making fantastic memories for my kids. I put a lot of effort into planning fun things during the holidays so that they'll remember this time of year fondly and not stress-filled...and I also work to make sure they know it's not all about the presents.
That last part is difficult for me, honestly, because I freaking love getting presents. Plus, I'm easy as hell to buy for...a pack of glitter pens will fill me with glee...a couple packs of stickers and I'm thrilled...a candle that smells like cinnamon - money! So, I have to squash the anticipation I have regarding the gifts I'll get so that I can help the kids get a little more out of the season. I try to point out to the kids that they've got things pretty good...lots of stuff, a great family, nice home, good school...all the essentials. I try to do this on a regular basis, but especially during this time of the year.
This Saturday was my annual attempt at getting the kids to understand the whole "we've got things pretty good and so we should share our wealth a little with those who aren't as fortunate as we are" thing. It's an easy enough chore - one would think - just after Thanksgiving, we go to the chariable functions table after mass and sign up for a family. Usually, we try to get a family like ours...two kids, a mom and a dad, etc. and then we buy them nonperishable food for Christmas dinner and a bunch of staples to make their grocery shopping a little less expensive. Plus, the little one and I like to throw a couple of special things in the box(es) as well. A nice holiday candle, chocolates, fun stuff gets thrown in as well. The difficulty with this year's attempt was the fact that there was no night this week when the entire family was free to go shopping. There were plenty of days that I had time, but not coinciding with the kids...and then what am I teaching them?
I finally settled for just taking the little one with me while the oldest was at a birthday party. The oldest got to help pack the boxes and label them and load the car for the next day...it was going to have to do.
I remember when my biggest concern was making sure the kids were kept alive. And while that's still a concern and something I want to continue to occur...now I worry about working to make them good people too. I don't know that I've actually accomplished that for myself and now I have two kids to whom I have to set an example and teach how to be good citizens in their world. The most difficult thing is the fact that I won't know if I accomplished the whole good citizen thing for another 10 years or so...
I'll get back to you on it...