Sunday, December 31, 2006

Weekly Chronicle December 31, 2006

Here's what's not fun: Shopping for Christmas decorations after Christmas when the only thing disappearing faster than the fiber optic train set that I wanted so badly is the Christmas Spirit that was bubbling in the hearts of shoppers just a few days ago. I was at Target the day after Christmas, hoping to find the fiber optic train, but found instead herds of cut-throat bargain hunters darting in front of one another to grab the last remaining jingle-bell wreath or snowflake stocking, excusing their aggressive consumerism with a civil, but indubitably insincere, "Oh...I'm sorry!" As if to imply that they hadn't seen the full figured human being they just boxed out in their determined dash for that last Christmas trinket. It seemed as though a sudden case of post-holiday-amnesia had set in and erased the cheer and charity that was celebrated just one day before. I was appalled, but grateful not to be caught up in the lunacy.
Turns out I wasn't so wholly immune as I thought, to the madness of the after-Christmas sales, it just took a few days longer for my amnesia to kick in. Yesterday morning found me at Wal Mart, perusing the aisles of majorly discounted Christmas merchandise, looking for outdoor lights. The pickings were slim, but I did find several boxes of white, twinkling icicle lights that I thought would make lovely adornments for our eaves. I was standing next to a lady who must have been equally fond of them because right after I took the first box off the shelf, she grabbed two. Feeling an urgent sense of competition, I used both arms to grab four boxes while she placed her pair in the cart. She then grabbed two more and had her daughter grab two as well. I was outnumbered! I started grabbing with unequivocal greed, making sure that I got the necessary boxes. With six boxes of icicle lights in my cart, I headed for the dairy fridge to get Henry the "chocolate baba" (chocolate milk) I promised as a reward for enduring the morning's errands. I made room in the cart for the groceries that I still needed to pick up, and discovered that in my selfish haste I grabbed two boxes of non-twinkling

blue icicle lights--and only had four packages of the kind I wanted. I guess it was my just desserts for succombing to the bargain-hunting bafoonery of the after Christmas sales!
Speaking of desserts, I had to relocate the treats after Henry discovered them this week. When we found him walking through the house with the entire length of a Red Vine, I knew my sweet stash had been exposed and that relocation was inevitable. The old adage, "out of sight out of mind," hasn't held true in this case, however. He comes to me several times during the day asking for "Gubbah-Beaws" (gummy bears) or "Nyack" (which is what he calls licorice.)
He's decidedly precocious and is becoming quite an echo--repeating back most of what we say. It sounds so harsh when a toddler says "Dawn-it!" after he drops his toys, I think I'm going to have to start borrowing milder phrases from my grandma like, "Fiddle Sticks!" and "Dear-me!"
There are a precious few incidences, though, where no matter how carefully you choose your words, language simply breaks down. Like this Christmas morning when I read Nate's letter which disclosed the fact that my gift would be a piano. Even now, days later, I can't find words to describe my excitement and delight about having music in our home. But I am at an even greater loss to render my feelings about such a sacrifice. We'll buy the piano with the small bonus Nate gets for passing the CPA exam. He was the one who stayed up late and studied and stressed, but I am the one who will play and be filled with the creative joy of music-making. Is there any logic to be found in such an arrangement? "A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer." Given the fact that so many of our marital discussions are wrapped in the rhetoric of prudence, I know it was a sacrifice of tremendous proportion to afford a piano this year.
Perhaps Willa Cather's words can more nearly explain such selfless sacrifice, "Where there is great love, there are always miracles."

The Gift of the Magi

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