So, when the idea of Patrick coming for Christmas was first mentioned, I asked a practical question. What about presents? Would he be coming with any? To be clear, I love buying presents, so I had no trouble with the concept. But, of course, I didn’t go back to work because we were rolling in the dough. So, it was a very relevant question. I was told that between the agency and local churches, he would have plenty and would bring them along. Great! I was relieved. Of course, I knew that we would be buying him a couple of presents, too, but not being in charge of his entire Christmas was definitely a relief.
Yeah, so, he didn’t come with any presents. He would be getting some after Christmas, but he didn’t have any with him to open on Christmas. Ok, there was just no way that we were going to let this kid sit and watch his brothers and sister open presents on Christmas morning. There’s a lot that I don’t know, but that was a no brainer.
So, cue the stressing, calculating, and trying to figure what the heck to buy a 13 year old.
Every single thing he said, I paid attention to. He mentioned that he liked to paint. Aha! I’ll buy him a paint set! It seemed a little silly, but, at the same time, I was hoping that he’d like it anyway. I spent the days leading up to Christmas, paying close attention to anything that he mentioned that he liked. Emily the detective! haha
I also bought him a red shirt. He didn’t mention that he wanted one. But, I had it in my head that we should all wear red on Christmas Day. I had visions of the adorable picture that we could take; closely followed by fear that he wouldn’t cooperate with a picture. I wasn’t sure how he was going to react. Over the summer, when I saw that he was wearing a white shirt, I deliberately put the kids in white shirts. Now, clearly, I have a problem, but that’s not the point. When he realized what I had done, he instantly changed. He broke my heart a bit while reclaiming his control. Although, he did decide to wear the white shirt, in the end. I don’t know if he secretly wanted to be a part of it or if he just really liked the shirt that he was wearing. But, I do know that even at the time, it was a tiny step in the right direction.
Anyway, Christmas Eve came.
We went to church. We came home and put the glittery reindeer food in the front yard, had an Egg Nog toast, and checked Santa’s location on-line. And, Patrick participated in it all. It hurt and warmed my heart to know that he may never have experienced this, a family Christmas. I couldn’t believe how smoothly it was going and how content everyone seemed, including me. 🙂
|Checking on Santa’s whereabouts.|
So, the kids went to bed. Brian wrapped presents (yeah, I don’t do that.), I made pie for the next day, and we exchanged our gifts. I already had an idea of what I was getting from Brian because Patrick who had watched Brian wrap my presents, said, something like, “I’m not going to tell you what he got you, but it’s going to make you want to go change your clothes and go to bed.”
So, when one of my gifts was pajama bottoms, I wasn’t too surprised. 🙂
Soon, I did change my clothes and go to bed. I felt anxious, worried, excited, and a bunch of other adjectives. I was worried that he wouldn’t like his presents. I was worried that my kids would realize that they got fewer presents this year because of buying Patrick’s. I was worried that Christmas would be a total disaster at my sister’s house. And, I was a little worried because I was falling in love with Patrick.
Worried or not, Christmas came. And, after all the worrying, it turned out to be awesome.
My living room was filled with noisy, happy kids who all liked their presents. He liked his paint set. He liked his remote control car. He seemed to like opening presents.
When he opened his red shirt, I sheepishly mentioned that we were all going to wear red and, what a lucky coincidence, now he had a red shirt, too! I felt like he was debating it and he made a comment that he wanted to wear the other one that we got him. I honestly wasn’t sure which way it was going to go. But, an hour later, we were heading to my sisters; all of us in our red shirts. 🙂
Then I went moved on to being nervous about how the rest of the day was going to go. I was worried about how he would react to presents, the noise, the everything.
On the way over, in an effort to be proactive, I said to all of the kids. “Now, remember, we always make sure to say thank you for our gifts.”
Brian added “Yes, even if you don’t like it. You say thank you and appreciate that someone took the time to buy it for you. It’s called etiquette.”
This was geared towards all of the kids, but I was really hoping that Patrick was listening.
Oh, the day. It was one of the most relaxing Christmas’ I had experienced in a long time. Everything just kind of flowed. It’s the day that I got to spend the whole day with my family, in its varied versions. It’s the day that I learned to play Rummy. More accurately, it’s the day that Patrick beat me in Rummy. It’s the day that I got a picture of all 6 of us in red shirts. (Victory!) It was the day that everyone got to know Patrick and determined that they liked him. It was a nice day.
On the way home, Patrick asked”So, how was my etiquette?” 🙂
We told him that he did great. He really, really did.
And, we went home. I watched them shoot dart guns, drive remote controlled cars, make a huge mess of the living room and just felt really good about the world. Because sometimes you have those days or even just those moments when it all makes sense, even if it’s noisy and chaotic sense. And, when you do have those crazy moments, you really need to stop and appreciate the madness.
So, I did. I put on my new Cherry Coke pajama bottoms and my new Avengers shirt and enjoyed it.