Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ghosts of Christmas Past

My daughter is mere days away from becoming a legal adult.  This last year of her high school has flown by incredibly fast...I can't even articulate how fast.  And I do a lot of "this is the last time she will..." or "this is the last..." until I drive myself crazy.
Christmastime has been especially fraught with these kinds of year, Jeff and I will probably be putting up the tree without her.  I know she'll come home for Christmas...but I don't know if she'll have the time for all of our regular Christmas stuff...making Christmas candy and watching A Christmas Story eleventy times in a row.
People used to tell me how quickly she'd grow up.  That seemed impossible when we were going through potty training...REALLY impossible during the strained tween/early teen years where we never seemed to be in synch with one another.  And now I'm looking down the barrel of a short five months until her high school graduation.
Excuse me a minute while I go freak out and snuggle the cat and cry a little into his fur (I wish someone could explain to me why progress to becoming the crazy cat lady seems to be in some bizarre direct proportion to progress to becoming an empty-nester).

Okay...back again.  I think I can finish this up.  I wanted to share one of the sweet, sweet things my daughter did when she was small. I'm so glad we kept the tangible proof of it for me to get out and boo-hoo and slobber over every year.

We had just moved into our new house (this is the kiddo was almost seven).  Our new house had a fireplace and that had Daughter all sorts of excited because Santa would finally be able to come down a chimney at her house (as God intended) and not have to come in through a door like some pedestrian.  We had always done the cookies and milk thing...Jeff & I eating them after we had finally gotten the Dream House or the Dream Kitchen or the whatever-the-hell assembled...careful to leave crumbs.
This year, the kid said to us, "I'm going to go get a box to put the cookies in so that the cats don't get them since we're leaving them on the hearth."  She took the cookies upstairs with her and returned with a box with a lid on it and put it on the hearth.  Then she scampered off to bed....we didn't think much of it.  It wasn't until we were finishing up and remembered we'd need to eat our cookies that we found it...a sealed envelope with the following inside:

The seven dollars you see above represented the net total liquid cash available to the kiddo at the time...including the Susan B Anthony dollar she'd been given by her PawPaw earlier that evening.  Jeff just sat in the middle of the living room floor bawling like a baby...I wasn't much better.
We ate our cookies and wrote her a very sincere, but simple "Thank You" note...then we put the kid's note and the money in an envelope for us to get out and look at every year.  I internally debated giving her money back to her...but Jeff insisted that she was very clear that Santa should have it.  Apparently, this was the right call...years later, my daughter told me that getting the Thank you note, but NOT getting the money back kept her believing in Santa that much longer. "I figured if it was just you guys, you'd give me my money back."
Ah....good times.

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