Dear Children –
You only have a few more shopping days until Christmas and I know that you might be wondering what to get me. (You are boys, after all, so I know you haven’t even started shopping yet).
But before I get to my list, I wanted to tell you a story.
When I was younger I couldn’t wait to buy presents for my parents for Christmas. I would take my hard-earned allowance and rush over to Zayre (the Kmart/Target/Wal-Mart of my day) and scour the shelves looking for the perfect gifts.
Invariably I would stumble on some item in the beauty section that I was POSITIVE my mother would love and my dad would end up with Old Spice shaving cream. They would ooh and aah over the gifts and get so excited that it started a string of years where some version of a toiletry was about all they ever got.
I would like to believe that even though my gifts were lame, my parents appreciated the gesture.
I was wrong.
My parents never said anything to me but really, my mother was saddled with a drawer full of pastel colored shell-shaped soaps and buckets full of Jean Nate cologne and my father, who always used an electric razor, had enough shaving cream to shear a yeti. What they probably wanted all along was time.
How can you give someone time?
I’m glad you asked. I spend most of my time dealing with crap: scheduling appointments, fixing things around the house, driving, filling out forms, sitting on the phone waiting for operators and technicians to walk me through something that has gone wrong in the house and, yet, they are all necessary tasks. They are just total time sucks.
I want you to wait in line, schedule appointments and do all of the crap for me so I don’t have to. That is the gift of time. So here is my list. Feel free to give me as many as possible:
1. My laptop needs a new battery and I do not want to spend even another minute in an Apple store—ever again. So you go. And while you are there tell the nice Genius people to uninstall all of the ridiculous games/apps that you have downloaded that make my laptop run at a snail’s pace.
2. Please clean out the closet under the stairs in the basement which is full of all of the toys that you HAD to have when you were little and subsequently tossed into the black hole of our basement closet never to be heard from again.
3. Please, please, please do not throw your brother’s newly cleaned and folded clothes in your dirty laundry basket just because I mistakenly put it in the pile with your clean clothes. Please walk 20 feet to your brother’s room and put it on his bed. Rewashing clothes is a time suck.
4. Speaking of laundry…do you see that overflowing basket in your closet? Feel free to wash all of the clothing in it. And wash your brothers while you’re at it. Do this weekly for as long as you live here.
5. From my tech savvy son, I would like you to figure out why my calendars won’t sync between devices. If I have to figure it out I will either a) never do anything about it and hope that I don’t miss an appointment or b) be on the phone with tech support for 3 hours pretending to understand what I’m supposed to do and never do anything about it.
6. From my oldest, I would like you to drive your brother to soccer practice. As often as possible. Driving back and forth two or three days a week makes me feel like a hamster on a hamster wheel.
7. And finally, someone please return all of the lame Christmas gifts that I bought yesterday (apparently, I never learn). No one really wants an Abraham Lincoln Chia Pet no matter what I said two weeks ago.
What do you want for Christmas?