Holy guacamole, I woke up this morning and it was Christmas. I can’t believe it’s already here, I haven’t seen the “Every kiss begins with Kay” commercial enough to make me pull my hair out, and no one has managed to get sick all over the Christmas presents. This seems to be a theme in our home — the animals feel like we lay the presents under the tree so they can puke or pee on them. Of course the year we have the fewest number of presents under the tree, they’ve apparently called a truce with wrapping paper, and have lost all interest in defacing it.
When I stand back and look at the tree, the number of presents underneath it has no equation to the amount of happiness I feel. This year, when there’s not much to open, you’d think I’d feel depressed or a sense of failure, but it’s actually quite the opposite. We are so blessed and have achieved so much this past year, it wouldn’t matter if there weren’t any presents at all, because we have received gifts every day. Something as simple as a comment on one of my health articles telling me I’ve helped someone is a gift so big it can’t be wrapped.
I realize it’s difficult to explain these intangibles to little ones. If our kids weren’t grown, I’d probably feel a little differently. I remember the cold panic of having a kid that wants something so bad it disrupts their sleep, and not knowing how I was going to get it. When my daughter was little, she wanted a Cabbage Patch doll so bad it made her crazy. She talked about the damn thing incessantly. It riddled my nightmares, because I absolutely did not have fifty bucks to spend on a doll. (This is way before I met George — Marcie and I were by ourselves for a few years.) I had resigned myself to buying the knock-off and telling her to deal with it when my grandmother produced a coveted Cabbage Patch doll from the trunk of her Cadillac. Gran had heard Marcie talking about the doll months before and had the foresight to buy one before they became Christmas-scarce. I can remember the flood of relief like it was yesterday. I also remember Gran telling me I wasn’t getting a present because she spent fifty bucks on my kid, and I was totally OK with it. It was the first time I can remember feeling like I made an actual adult sacrifice for my child.
I remember all of those feelings like it was yesterday, but you know what? My daughter has no recollection of the damn doll. She didn’t build fond childhood memories with it, she didn’t carry it around for years and lovingly braid the weird yarn hair on its strangely misshapen head. She sat it on a chair with the 7,000 other stuffed things she collected and forgot about it. She did become insanely attached to an eight-dollar Puffalump that she drug around so long it became a biological hazard. She’s 27 and I’m pretty sure she still has it.
So even thought Gran saved the day, I think everyone would have been OK without the Cabbage Patch doll. My favorite gifts aren’t chosen as favorites because of the gift itself, but usually because of who gave it to me. I love things because someone loved me enough to think of me when they bought the things, so I become attached to very strange things, which I’m sure is a huge surprise to everyone.
I have a Sasquatch coozie I keep in plastic and hang on the wall of my office and it’s one of my most cherished pieces of art. My mother-in-law thought of me when she saw it, and it made her laugh and it makes me happy that she laughed and it’s one of my favorite gifts, ever.
When I look around this holiday I know one thing for sure. We couldn’t do any of this without all of you. Everything we use comes to us on trucks and I can’t thank you enough for providing me and mine with the things we want and need. I sincerely hope everyone gets home for Christmas, although I know that’s not possible. Merry Christmas, God bless, and be safe out there.
Trucker James Peterson of Wisconsin was on a run from New Jersey bound for La ...