Saturday, December 31, 2011

10 years ago

Once upon a time, on a New Years Eve, a man and a woman met.

It was December 31, 2001. The man drove from Bloomington to his high school friend's house in West Lafayette. The woman drove from the Chicago suburbs to her friend's house in - yep, West Lafayette. It was dark, there was a time change, she missed a turn and so was frazzled and late when she arrived.

Spaghetti was already on the table, but the group was welcoming. There was the friend and the couple... and the man and the woman. Who talked and talked and talked late into the night.

And then emails were exchanged. The rest, as they say, is history. A short 15 1/2 months after meeting, we got married.

So Happy Anniversary to my love on this, our 10th anniversary of meeting.

Friday, December 16, 2011

End of a journey

When Wil was 9 months old, Chris went back to school. He had found a Masters program he was interested in.

Now, 4 1/2 years later, he will graduate tomorrow.

While still in the same department, Telecom, he changed concentrations along the way, finding something (3D video production) even more interesting. Even better, it fits with what he does at work. And has opened opportunities. He enjoys working with 3D and he'll get to teach it this spring.

This isn't a very long blog post, but I wanted to say, "Congratulations. We're proud of you."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The real Santa

Our boys believe in Santa. And I'm glad.

Some people think it's awful to teach children about Santa because it is lying to them.

I disagree. Because Santa is real.

Is he a strange man in a red suit who lives at the North Pole, making toys with elves, flying around the world on Christmas Eve with a sleigh full of toys? Well, I'll leave that to you to decide.

Is Santa an idea? Absolutely. He's a marvelous idea. He's something in all of us. If you haven't read the famous response to the simple question "Is there a Santa Claus?" from The Sun, take a moment to do so.

We're teaching our boys to believe in Santa Claus... but we're also trying to teach them how to be Santa. And that's the important thing to me.

A few weeks ago, we bought some shower gel and a pouf as part of "Be a Santa to a Senior". And we bought a cute outfit for a little girl as part of our neighborhood sponsoring a family. Sam in particular had a really fun time picking the clothes (a sparkly lavender sweater, long sleeve t-shirt to go under, cords, and matching socks). They helped pick a toy for each of 2 kids for another angel tree program through Chris's work.

Beyond helping people they don't know, which helps teach them compassion and kindness, and caring for everyone, they like picking presents for people they do know. Wil picked the color yarn for the scarf I knit his teacher. They came up with ideas for a gift for Daddy (Chris). When I shop for our niece and nephew and a few other kids in the family, they will help me pick presents.

So what will we tell them when they eventually ask? We'll tell them the truth. And the truth isn't that adults lie, but that sometimes we pretend. And that Santa is real, just not what they thought. And then we'll let them in on the fun of being Santa and knowing it.

So is there a Santa? I think so. Absolutely. We're all Santa. If you read it in The Sun, it's true.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Giftmas story

It was coming. It was coming fast. Only 16 more shopping days before it would be time once again to celebrate the holiest of holy holidays: Giftmas.

The season of getting was in full swing, with people rushing to the malls, charging into stores, frantically clicking 'buy' online, all in the hopes of getting a great deal. It didn't matter what they were buying; all that mattered was that it was 50% off.

"Ooh! That thingamawhatchacallit is on sale! Only $29.99! I must buy it," Joe shouted into the empty room. Glancing up at the sound of his voice echoing, he frowned.

Feeling lonely, he turned on his favorite Giftmas music. Maybe that would help chase the feeling of emptiness away.

We wish you a merry Giftmas. We wish you a merry Giftmas. We wish you a merry Giftmas and a happy new haul!

Switching back to the thingamawhatchacallit, he clicked his mouse button, hoping he could complete his purchase before the price went back up. He wasn't sure who he would give it to. But that didn't matter. The point was he had to buy it.

As his purchase completed, he heard a chime as the confirmation email hit his inbox. Opening the message, he saw three little words he hadn't noticed before: "All sales final."

His stomach clenched. With a frown he read and reread the email. He looked down at the credit card sitting on the desk in front of him. Glancing back at the screen, the words jumped out at him again: "ALL SALES FINAL".

All I want for giftmas is a lot of toys, a lot of toys, a lot of toys. All I want for Giftmas is a lot of toys, then I'll have a merry Giftmas.

Suddenly sweating a little, he opened a new browser page. Logging in to his credit card account, he blanched at the balance. It was higher than he had thought. "Crap."

Why had he wanted to buy that thingamawhatchacallit? He didn't need it. He couldn't think of anyone to give it to. He thought back on all the stuff in the mail on its way to him now. None of it seemed worth buying. It was all just stuff. His head fell into his hands, dark thoughts whirling through his mind.

I'm dreaming of a bright Giftmas, with toys and games and more for me. Where the ribbons sparkle, and paper crinkles, with bows on every box I see.

Raising his head with resolve, Joe shut down his computer. He wasn't sure what he would do with all the stuff he had bought, but he knew he was done. He couldn't afford to buy, buy, buy. He didn't need more things. He needed to be less alone. And that wasn't going to happen sitting here in an empty room.

This is just a fiction piece that came to mind when I thought about how much Christmas seems to be turning into Giftmas.