I ponder that in my biweekly column for the local paper this week:
“If you enjoy the winter holidays, as my family decidedly does,
introducing them to a toddler is a blast. Our daughter wakes
up each morning (and after each nap) asking “Is it a new day?”
because she wants to snap another felt ornament on our advent
calendar (“alendar calendar” to her). She hugs the Christmas
tree. She wants to take walks to see her favorite moving lit-up
reindeer contraptions in neighbors’ yards. . . .
Right now it’s so easy. She’s full of wonder anyway; everything
is new and exciting. . . . In fact, if we act excited about something, we have an 80
percent chance of her being excited too. I remember clearly
how last year, when she was one and a half, getting to eat
a cookie first thing in the morning and getting a gift of
a container of raisins that was under her control, to be eaten
at whatever pace she wanted, was enough to make a red-letter
This year, the simple little idea of shining our shoes on
Christmas Eve is so exciting she can barely wait and keeps
lobbying to do it earlier.
I think it was the shoes thing that made me realize: I am
in grave danger of trying to recapture this thrill, this sense
of being able to effortlessly offer my children wonder, every
December. I know that no matter how much she might continue
to like the holidays, it won’t be like this again. But who
wouldn’t want it to be?
Suddenly I had a flash of compassion for the parents escalating
their purchases each year or fighting to hold on to their
kids’ belief in Santa one more season. Even if you’re not
facing peer-instigated disappointment from older kids who
didn’t get the latest whatsit, who wouldn’t feel the urge
to keep reaching after the irreplaceable delight of a kid
facing her first snow, first menorah, first stocking?“
Here’s the rest. Does it ring true, or am I off base?
Photo by OctopusHat.
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