Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Our family holiday traditions have come down from both sides of our family. This one came from my mom, otherwise known as Grandma Mary Ann to my boys. The first year we celebrated Christmas in our house in Minnesota after moving from Idaho, my Aunt Carol generously gave us a brand new artificial tree that someone had asked her to find a home for. Its been our tree ever since.
As we went about setting it up for the first time, Nolan either 2 or 3 at the time kept climbing in the box. He rattled on and on about Grandma and something about the box. We tried to distract him. But then he'd start taking out the glass ornaments. He unwrapped the lights while we tried to protect the ornaments. We repeatedly tried to discourage him from undoing our efforts while including him in the process. We were also fairly focused on figuring out how this tree went together. Our frustration grew. Nolan persisted, raising his voice now to get our attention, "Thats NOT how Grandma does it." he insisted. I remember thinking, great, now my two year old is giving me tree decorating advice! Finally, I called for reinforcements. Grandma laughed when she heard the exasperation in my voice. She teased me with "why, he was just as content as could be at my house when we put up our tree!" "Fine, I said. Put up the white flag, I surrender. Just please come help." Wanna know what her secret was? She grabbed a marker and got busy with the tree box. She helped Nolan draw the steering wheel and the levers. Next they got to work on the pedals. Voila. Through the magic of Grandma, one tree box transformed into a two year old dream car. I bet he sat in there for the next 30 minutes straight, which in toddler time is extremely long.
The tradition has stood the test of time. This year there were two boys jammed into the tree box, and the arms in the air was an homage to their cousins for teaching them how to ride the rollercoasters this summer at Hershey Park. I laugh at the things they choose to remember. I'm just glad I'm learning to watch for the things they choose to love. And mother always knows best. Without her thinking "out of the box", we would have missed the magic of "inside the box."
When you get lucky
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