I found out the next day that all of those things were free of charge. My girlfriend took her daughter there, and said how fantastic it was. I had one of those "I suck at being a Mom" moments. I have them at least twice a week now. They are getting bigger by the day, and all the magic of Christmas will soon be but a memory. I felt that I missed an opportunity. One that would have cost nothing, and put smiles on my kids faces. At least for the afternoon.
I finished putting out the rest of our Christmas decorations. I love the smell of ornaments and sparkly things coming out of boxes. It is a mix of cinnamon, and magic, and a hint of mildew from the basement that just smells like the holidays. OK, maybe not the mildew part, but, due to our crawl space under the house, where we store our decorations, that scent has become synonymous with Christmas here.
I set up our nativity. I realized that I had not introduced a vital part of my childhood to the girls. Each Christmas, my mom and dad would put up our nativity set. I loved looking at it. It had remnants of actual straw glued to it, worn away by years of use. It had that magical scent of a far away place (I guess that would be the attic) and my Dad had carefully removed baby Jesus, and his manger. There were glue marks still there, where he was supposed to be.
My mom had us cut up strips of colored paper, to look like straw. I always chose yellow paper, and frowned down upon my brothers choice of purple. We put the "straw" in a bowl, next to the nativity set. Every time we did a good deed, one that we kept to our self, but did completely out of the goodness of our hearts, we were to place a piece of straw in the stable, where the manger would be. We were feathering the nest, making it soft, with unselfish acts.
We were still kids after all, so the good deeds weren't always out of the kindness of our hearts. There was definitely some competition to it. I always used the yellow straw. My brother, the purple. You could see who was the better " do gooder." Some days, I would throw a piece or two in thinking that I must have done something good that day, and forgotten what it was. Making my bed, which was my responsibility, all of a sudden warranted a piece of straw.
But by Christmas morning, the manger was placed in the stable while we slept, by my Dad. And the straw was piled high. It looked cozy, and made me happy to see how hard we had all tried.
I set up a bowl of straw the other day, and told my girls what to do. (I also made sure the straw was all the same color, as my girls are competitive about everything!) Right away, it started. Charlotte cleaned the living room. Olivia folded the laundry. They played with their baby sister. They made every attempt not to fight. I watched them, quietly creep over, and place a piece of straw in the stable. I saw the smiles on their faces.
I was smiling too. OK..so it isn't a pony ride, but it is something a bit more. Trying hard to do something good.