Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Conundrum

Merry Christmas to you all!

I sat glued to the edge of my seat that Christmas morning. We were gathered in the living room around the tree -- our family along with some friends. Sean was 7; Beth and Becki (yes, twins) were 4.

It was the typical joyous, chaotic ritual of opening Christmas gifts. Everyone was excited. The smell of wassail came in from the kitchen. Oooo's, Ahhhh's and laughter permeated. Becki had adopted a new phrase she learned from her mom, the consummate pastor's wife. "Oh, how nice!" was an expression Cathy used often then. We heard those words multiple times that day from our 4-year-old. In fact, she said the phrase every time she opened a gift!

The problem we had that morning lay with one of the twins. We didn't know which one. I was on the edge of my seat.

Christmas with identical twins is fun, but you can get double vision watching them open their gifts. So many of the presents -- especially the small ones -- are exactly alike. This is heightened by the fact that, when one girl opens a certain size box wrapped in a unique paper, the other one knows what's in her box. Edge of my seat.

Cathy's mom (Mamma to S,B & B), has sold Avon since the year after Hannibal came across the Alps. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration -- it was the next year. Christmas at our house always includes Avon. That year, the girls were receiving Avon necklaces. Identical. Identical boxes. Identical wrapping. But labeled. One Beth. One Becki. Edge of my seat.

Our conundrum was that one of the necklaces had fallen out of its box. Mamma found it after the packages were wrapped and sent. In horror she stuck the little necklace in an envelope and mailed it to us. We weren't sure which one, but we would have a VERY disappointed daughter when she discovered that her sister received a necklace and she got an empty box. NOW you know why I was on the edge of my seat. Necklace tucked away. Ready to produce it at the right moment.

Then, Beth opened a little gift. Throwing aside the wrapping paper, she took the lid from the tiny box. Inside, on a small bed of cotton, lay a beautiful little necklace. The drama was set. It was Becki's turn.

For some reason, Becki was so caught up in the moment that she didn't take in what her sister had just opened. She tore off the paper, opened her box, found the cotton nee jewelry inside and exclaimed, "Oh, how nice; cotton balls!"

I fell off the edge of my seat -- laughing!

We gave her the necklace, but the moment stuck. The next year, Cathy wrapped up a special package for Becki's Christmas that contained -- you guessed it! When she opened it that year, she got a frown on her face and asked, "Why did you do this to me?" Totally spoiled the fun. After an explanation, though, she saw how special a little tradition can be. From then on, it stuck.

Becki, this is 27 Christmases later. You are a continent away from us today! Have you discovered anything special for you? Anything soft and white?

Dear Reader, I am deeply honored that you are joining me on this journey. Getting to know some of you over the last couple of months is a high privilege and I thank you all for your kind input. My hope and prayer for you is God's best in your life this Christmas and throughout your days.

I will be rather sporadic at this post over the next few days. Cathy and I are spending time with some family. We will be back at our regular schedule soon.


Liz said...

It is lovely to read about the start of a tradition!

It's been my honor and privilege to get to know you, Sam.

C. Beth said...

It's so fun to watch throughout the years how the cotton balls are "camouflaged." Maybe putting them in a box with rocks so that it's heavy, etc. And Becki always plays along, exclaiming, "Oh how nice, cotton balls!"

Chris Bowers said...

That is a great tradition! Merry Christmas Sam!

Dina said...

Funny story! Merry Christmas and enjoy your family!

Sandra said...

What a great family story! "Insider" family jokes are one of the things that make family get-togethers special, aren't they.

I hope you are having a wonderful visit, Sam.

Best wishes and God's blessings to you and Cathy and your family!

beckiwithani said...

I got my cotton balls, smashed very thin, in an envelope in my stocking this year! It was a good camouflage, except ...

I'd read this blog entry first, then saw Mom's handwriting on the envelope, and figured it out. Oh well! :) I did exclaim, "Oh How Nice!"