LC Van Savage
We spent this Christmas in Colorado with #3 son Paul, his wife Kate, (8 months pregnant with our grandson whose name apparently will be Asyetunnamed Van Savage,) and their four year old Elizabeth Taylor-clone daughter, Jordan. It was terrific out there, but I’m a New Englander and a skillion miles of flat, treeless, brown prairie doesn’t much turn me on. The surrounding mountains? Fabulous.
We do Secret Santas in our family. You know—pull names out of a hat so that everyone gives to one adult (a $$ limit) and a no-holds-barred gift pile-up for the children. We all send emailed word what we’d like our Secret Santa to send us. I wanted a light for the top of my camcorder. Got it! I was SS to son Paul who I "found out" wanted a special within-financial-range gizmo for his hallowed BMW sports convertible, so that’s what he got, and on down the line it went, with all adults being made very happy with their unsurprise gifts. The kids? Does "fully outfitting 3 day-care centers" sound familiar?
Christmas day was full of the wonderful pandemonium one hopes for. Who doesn’t love Christmas, especially when it’s spent with family members who pretty much like one another? It’s the best time of year and brings out the best in everyone, I think. Well, mostly.
I recently got into a fracas with another son who told me that he and his wife had decided to tell their child, our beloved grandson by the way, the "truth" about Santa Claus, that it was all myth. Now I can assure you I keep my own council with regard to my family, and keep opinions to myself even when their parenting skills are blatantly wanting, but this Santa issue really tried my resolve. Their son is only three, so I gently pointed out that there is so little wonder left in the world today, so little that’s magical and transporting that what could it possibly hurt for their son to be allowed to have a Santa Claus in his life before harsh reality sets in---which it will soon enough. Furthermore, how would he feel when his play chums talked about Santa, the chimney, the Big Bag, toys, reindeer, carrots/cookies/milk on the hearth etc. etc. leaving him wondering what on earth everyone was talking about.
To my delight (and yeah, OK, smug satisfaction) our grandson called us on Christmas day to tell us about all those things and about the stuff the Big Man in Red had left for him. Ah. They’d seen the error of their ways and bent to my tender demands. And, avoided a major tantrum. I am very skilled at major tantrums.
On Christmas day in #3 son’s home in Colorado, their huge boxer Henry was enjoying a play date with his fiancée Molly, another boxer from two doors down. They were ripping up and around the house, scattering rugs, lamps, furnishings, plates, magazines and everything having to do with Christmas. Jordan was loudly protesting her having to make a potty run when it was clearly obvious she was in desperate need; her mother even louder in her insistence. Paul was bellowing at the dogs. Something—I think the butternut squash, was boiling over on the stove, cartoons were jangling the air, someone was ringing the doorbell, my husband "Mongo" was shouting from the family office that he wanted a little help with a website that wouldn’t come up so between bawling at the boxers, Paul roared out a few dozen technogeek answers. Christmas carols blared from a CD, and a huge, ugly Christmas frog was stuck on "play" mode, and croaked out a hideous, endless ribbit version of Jingle Bells. I sat on the end of a candy-cane sticky sofa, convulsed in unstoppable, uncontrollable laughter. It was Christmas, 2001, and this was a family at work. It was just plain wonderful.