The day began with drama. Your dedication to our dogs as members of our family is painfully endearing. And this Christmas morning was no exception. After the dogs ate, you decided to give them stocking gifts for their post-breakfast treats. To Simon went a wheat free biscuit and to Zoe, a little rawhide bone. Unfortunately, Zoe didn’t finish her bone fast enough and when Simon entered her zone of privacy to investigate, she pounced and…you probably remember this very well. After three attempts to break them up, Zoe lunged at Simon through you, mistaking your arm for Simon’s neck and biting you hard enough to break the skin.
I thought you might be exaggerating how hurt you were (that your feelings were more hurt than your arm,) until I saw the marks. Ouch. You quickly shifted gears, though, and were silly and happy and excited again.
This year you were deluged with presents. And you loved it…so many of them horse-themed. Mom and I bought you a new, blue riding helmet, which you got to try out the very next day. Uncle Ed bought you a bazillion things you loved–including a Nerf gun that stings when it hits me! Uncle Brent bought you a Pogo stick. Gamma knitted us all matching sweaters, and your favorite gift, from Nana, was your first tablet. If it lasts the year, I’ll be surprised, but it was a good first tablet for you. You now have a “number” and can text your family.
We made the 2-hour drive to Papa’s house in the afternoon and you brought your Pogo stick with you. We sat around the kitchen table, eating a frozen pizza under high, dim ceilings, chatting about relatives long gone and far-flung grown up considerations. You were patient. You drew. You cuddled Zoe. You practiced your Pogo stick. If I went to the window, I could see just the top of your head bobbing up and down, up and down. I went out there and gave it a try a couple of times…but mostly, you were on your own. As an only child, this is a big aspect of your life. On days like this, my siblings and I would have been forced to entertain each other and while cruelty and other naughtiness would ensue, we’d stay distracted. In your life, during “grown up time,” your choices are to try to join in (you never do) or find something to do. I often wonder if it’s this dynamic intersecting with your talent that has led to your artistic prowess. My hope is that you remember a good childhood, and not a lonely one.
When I put you to bed that night you told me it the best Christmas ever–except the part where Zoe bit you. That’s good. We live a small, quiet, closely bonded life. I’m glad that at least today, on such a special day, it was enough for you.