We cut back on gifts this year... who didn't, right?! But there was this little guilt feeling that the kids would notice and be disappointed. That family and friends would have expected better, that in the recesses of their minds it meant we loved them less.
Actually the opposite happened. My sister called and asked if she could come visit. I hadn't been going 'home' lately, so she decided to come to me. When we talked about gifts for all our kids, she said, "Let's just do stuff. I'd rather spend time with you and have our families do things together than try to give each other random things." When did she get so smart?
At every relatives house, our kids felt loved and comfortable. I remember going to my father's parents house as a child. It was always stiff and tense and we kids needed to "slow down" and "be quieter". There was none of that in the places my kids went this year. At all the grandparents homes and the aunts and uncles there was just joy and people interested in what the kids were up too. That was the best gift ever.
Special note... I've been thinking about the 'secret identity' I wanted to call Pepper's parents. We went to their house yesterday for dinner and the whole family was there.... which hadn't happened for quite awhile. Pepper's Dad was so adorable... the kids all went together and bought him a Nintendo DS... he's wanted a computer chess game and it seemed like the best way to go. He barely put it down the whole time we were there. He was sitting in the living room with all the kids... they ALL had there noses buried in their DS's.... he looked like a kid in a candy store!! I had to take a picture because he just made me smile. Speaking of smiling... I realized sitting at the table last night that all the women in Pepper's family have the best smiles. When they are happy they smile with their whole face. Their eyes light up and their faces brighten. I love to just watch them all be happy. I noticed I turn into a comedian there just to nudge it along. I probably drive them all crazy! It was a very enjoyable day and I really feel loved and comfortable myself when I am there. So, about those secret identities, I've got the perfect ones.... Mom and Dad. I hope they don't mind.
Thanks for reading.... everyone is up, I can hear my sister hunting for coffee-- I better go help. :)