Monday, December 29, 2008
This past summer, my husband won a raffle at a work event, and the prize was a Nintendo DS Lite game console. Currently retailing at Amazon.com for $130, this was a gift to us, as it would be a perfect present for the kids for Christmas (in my house, free=perfect) AND, we knew they would love it. Put out the word to relatives for a couple of E-rated games, and we'd be in business. No muss, no fuss. I wrapped it, labeled it and put it away.
Fast forward to the week before Christmas. Put out-of-town guests into the room where all gifts have been hidden, wrapped, shipped, donated from and stored.
Christmas Eve: host party for 18 people. Stir in egg nog, screaming, over-sugared, over-tired nieces, nephews and offspring, and very confused dog. Let simmer until midnight. Quietly attempt to retrieve all gifts from gift room while house guest is sleeping in said room. Notice through nog- and fatigue-induced haze that there seem to be fewer gifts than remembered. Re-rifle closet, flashlight in hand. Check under bed. Check own closets twice. Re-check guest closet, now with wakened guest's help. Fail to find Nintendo console or game cartridges.
1:15 a.m.: Admit defeat and go to bed.
2:00 a.m. continue to go over and over every inch of house inside head to figure out what happened to gifts. Were they inadvertently shipped to relatives in Florida? Donated? Thrown away? Given to neighbors?
Toss and turn for the rest of the night, and NOT in anticipation of Christmas morning.
Christmas Day arrived with lots of gifts and fun and family gatherings. I continued to vacillate between happy and troubled, mad at myself for losing the gifts, afraid I might be losing my mind as well, and hoping beyond hope that they would turn up before the end of Hanukkah so they could still be presented to the kids.
The day after Christmas, my nine-year-old turned to me and sincerely asked, "Mom, why didn't Santa bring me a Nintendo DS?" and I had to fight back an apology and the urge to blurt, "He DID sweetie, but Mommy's a loser and can't find it!" Instead I mentioned all the nice things he did get, and reminded him that he never wrote to Santa, so Santa had to do his best at guessing what to bring. If I can't be truthful, I can at least get points for creativity and putting the blame elsewhere.
Two days after Christmas, my despondency and my husband's frustration got the better of him and he took matters into his own hands. Going through the gift closet with a fine-toothed comb, he discovered the gifts right where I'd safely hidden them: between the snack tables. It was then I remembered putting them there and thinking, 'the kids will never find them here!' (Note to self: after two days, neither will Mom).
So tonight, days after all holidays have ended and before the new year begins, we will unveil the 'big gift' to the children late, lame and without explanation. At least I have some egg nog left. Maybe Mommy's senior moment is a sign that it's time for a Rockwellian moment* in our house.
*The Discovery, by Norman Rockwell
Posted by Christine Adler