There are times when you realize you’re kids are learning some of the bigger life lessons, even if you don’t remember specifically teaching it. Ella showed us this at our first Christmas party last Saturday and I have to say, I’m so proud of her.
We go to this party every year. There is a gift exchange. The adults each get a name and buy a gift and the kids each do the same. There is a price limit. Everyone knows who got who and you give your gift giver a list to work from. So, usually the presents aren’t too bad. But, you know, sometimes, it’s not quite what you wanted. Someone bought clothes that aren’t really your style or a color you don’t care for or something. As an adult, you smile, thank them, and hold onto the gift receipt. It’s the thought that counts.
With the kids, you worry they won’t be so gracious. This year Samantha got serious loot. It was a Rapunzel-palooza. Sam and Ella went to see the movie last week with Sean’s mom and they are in love. Samantha got Rapunzel bowl, cup, spoon, fork, pajamas, sweatshirt, ornament, bag, and a Rapunzel doll that she loves and carries around with her at all times. The doll has replaced her green blanket she’s been attached to since she was six months old. She was crazy excited about her gift. Literally jumping up and down.
As Ella looked on, drooling over her sister’s loot, she opened her own presents. A magnetic doll that you dress up (and we have six of at home) and a really nice outfit. The disappointment on her face as she looked around for more presents was heartbreaking. She looked at me with her eyebrows raised, silently asking if that was it.
I smiled and asked her to show me her presents, waiting for the temper tantrum. Ella has a serious temper. She throws multiple tantrums a day, frequently triggered by some injustice when she believes Samantha has gotten something better than her. Add to this the fact is was nine at night, a full hour past her bedtime and she refused a nap again that day, and I was expecting a major fit.
I was planning my excuses and quickest escape routes. I never imagined what I got.
She smiled a huge smile as fake as a 10-carat diamond selling for ten bucks at Wal-Mart and held up her loot.
“Look! I got a ballerina doll!” she said, hugging it to her chest a bit too tightly. “Sammy didn’t get one. Look, Sammy, I got a ballerina doll and you didn’t,” she taunted.
By the time we left the party, she had even managed to convince herself that she had the better gift.
Somewhere in the 2 1/2 years of her life we managed to teach her to be gracious. A lovely Christmas gift for me.