12/15/2007

Seth Wants a Wii


Here's where I start to question my decision to do the Santa thing with the boys. When Evan was little, it was really done without much thought on my part; I wanted him to experience the magic of Christmas as I did. I *never* told him that he had to be good, though - how f'ed up is THAT whole thing? You must behave according to someone else's predefined measurements, or - no toys. I told him people who believed that were mistaken, when we'd watch those Christmas specials.

In doing that, I'm sure I got Santa and Jesus mixed up in there somehow, with unconditional love and all that. Better a Jesus Santa than a Falwell Santa. Anyway...

So, through the years, I've deepened my look into perpetuating the myth, and I did decide I liked the magic of it, and sharing that magic with the boys. I tell people I still believe in Santa, and it's because I do believe in giving, I do believe magic can happen. I remember the transition year for Evan - he still wrote Santa a letter, still fretted Santa might not get it because the letter was at his Dad's - but he also bought Seth a gift and put it under the tree "from Santa". He totally gets it, and now, at 15, he loves helping his brother experience the magic still.

And we HAVE experienced magic. And the help of friends. Last year, Evan really wanted an iPod. I didn't even tell anyone, it was just something disappointing I carried with me. I knew I couldn't afford it, and didn't see how it would be possible. My minister loaned me some money so I could get a couple video games and books for the boys - I had a teaching job starting in January, so I knew I'd be able to pay him back. And I was OK with everything - no, it wouldn't be some massive production, but I had some nice things for the boys and my family. I was at peace... mostly. I was talking with a friend about it, and I told her all that, but I was disappointed I couldn't get the iPod for Evan. She said, "Oh! We have one here we don't use. Let me check with Casey and see if he's OK with sending it to you." She did, and he was, and a few days before Christmas, there it was in my mailbox. So, there it was, under the tree "from Santa".

There are other stories... not at Christmastime, but Seth wanted Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and we were at a place that we really couldn't pull together the $20 for a set. I had just started researching where we might find some another way, and I saw a friend had offered her sons' Yu-Gi-Oh cards (that they were finished with) on FreeCycle. I "just happened" to check the FreeCycle e-mails right after she posted them, after not having read at that site in weeks. A few days later, Seth got 200 Yu-Gi-Oh cards in the mail.

I believe in keeping a positive outlook. I believe magic can happen. But a Wii? They're not even in stores right now. And how to tell Seth? Should I tell him? We had a conversation, and I said I wasn't sure Santa had enough Wiis for everyone, but he's resolute in his belief that one will be under the Christmas tree.

I do know I can tell him, even if Santa doesn't bring it, that we will, one day, have a Wii. That we can look at ways to get one. And I know he'll trust that, because we do find ways to support what he wants, big or small.

I'm trying not to beat myself up about not planning ahead and buying a Wii earlier in the year and hiding it, or not getting a third job to pay for the overblown prices now. There is a part of me that knows, it's all perfection, it's all OK. Which is being drowned out right now by the beating-myself-up part. I know it's not helpful. How far should I go back? To this summer, when Wiis were plentiful? To a few months ago, when we decided another job wasn't worth the money it might bring? To 15 years ago, when I first introduced Santa to Evan? To four years ago, when my ex and I chose to separate? When should the beatings begin?

OK - as I frequently tell others... breathe.     Breathe.    Breathe.  OK - I do *not* have to place all importance on that one day, Christmas day. Yes, Seth will be disappointed if there's not a Wii under the tree. But not devastated. He has a lot of love and support around him. And he knows we will find a way to get one. Breathe again. I could even put a note under the tree from Santa.

I can choose to focus on how we WILL be experiencing magic this Christmas, on making cards for friends, on seeing how we might be able to give, on gratitude for having each other, and for the real abundance in our lives. I can, as Abraham-Hicks teaches, find the better-feeling thought. And stay there, rather than mired in disappointment. There IS magic, even if it's not Wii magic. Let's enjoy what we do have. We're going out today so the boys can get gifts for each other and their Dads. We're putting lights up, and this very cute snowman family I've had for years. Oh! And there's Jingle Bell Rock Santa! Can't forget him! He's the first thing the boys want to put out. (Didn't realize until I found the link that he's a collectible! Not that that matters. Seth just likes that Santa has a real butt that wiggles. He knows, 'cause he's disrobed Santa to check.) And tomorrow, we're making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, because according to Evan, it's not Christmastime without them. WE are Christmastime. Our family, and our amazing, magical life. I can keep Christmas in my heart, as Mr. Scrooge taught.

OK, phew. It really is OK. 

8 comments:

Rising Rainbow said...

Personally, I think that children who don't always get what they want when they want it have a much more realistic look at life and they appreciate it much more.

Julie Pippert said...

There is nothing so hard as that feeling of not wanting to disappoint your kids. I know you'll think of something and it will be okay but yes, that's hard.

I'll be honest; I try to discourage Wish Lists and Santa letters because I don't want my girls getting into the way of thinking of what specifically they want.

I am failing (a little at least) because I am fighting a strong family current.

Patience did write up---on her own mind you---a list. I knew she was doing it because she won't just sound out words; they must be perfect. And I couldn't discourage the writing exercise.

But...I guess some of my overall lessons about gift receiving (a more diplomatic and loving message along the lines of "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit) got through because she was so thrilled with what she did get that she hasn't considered worrying about the fact that none o fit matches her list.

Julie
Using My Words

wheelsonthebus said...

That is precisely it. YOU are Christmas. The rest is just window-dressing.

Emily R

dharmamama said...

Rising Rainbow - I used to believe that, buy into that view. Then as Evan got older, I thought if the world really IS that way, then why don't *I* become the safe place he can come to, away from the big bad world? Why don't I become the soft place he can land? He can learn about the world from the world; he can learn about unconditional love and giving from me, and that will be OK.

And it was through practicing that I found that finding ways to give what my son wanted made him into a much more discriminating consumer. It used to be all want, want, want... but through me giving, giving, giving he began to trust that he was heard, and supported, that his wants would be met. Once he got that, he stopped wanting so much. There was no need to want things for wanting's sake; he takes his time now and thinks about what he wants, and why.

I share with both of them about finances, so things aren't just random - they know how much we have to work with (usually; I'm not always up on that myself!). And they know if it's something they really want, we WILL find a way to get it, but they see the process, and are a part of the decision-making. So it's not just me showering them with stuff, it's all of us, being thoughtful about what we want, and how we can go about getting it.

They both appreciate what they get very much.

Are you not getting what you want? I usually get what I want. That's how MY life works.

dharmamama said...

Julie, I have honestly never heard of approaching it that way, without lists. THAT is something to think about. I do remember telling the boys that no matter what they get from their Grammy, (my mother), that it would be good if they could act excited, even if they already have five of the same thing, and they hate it. She just takes it way personally, and a smidgen of disappointment will be all she'll remember. Forever.

But no list? I'm thinking it's too late to try it that way with them, but I'll ask what they think about it.

And Emily, thank you. I will use your words as a mantra.

Mrs. G. said...

My daughter has wanted a quite expensive digital camera for over a year. She knew we couldn't afford it for Christmas last year, but we bought her some accessories: a lens, a book, a lens cloth. She saved her money all year and at least once a month, my husband would slip her a $20 to put in the camera bank account. She bought it last month and, can I tell you, she LOVES that camera and I think part of it has to do with setting the goal and the journey to reach it. I love watching her love it.

Maybe you could approach the Wii this way...work together to purchase it when the holidays are over and they are actually available on the shelf.

Just a thought. I'm sure you will know just the right thing to do for your kid. They're all different, aren't they?

dharmamama said...

That's my plan right now, Ms. G, to sit down after Christmas and see how we can make it work. It's the whole Santa thing, and that hope he has that one *will* be under the tree. I'm just realizing that he'll love whatever he gets, it's not like he's being abandoned for Christmas. It's probably a bigger deal in my mind than it is for him.

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