If you’re a parent, you’ve spent more time than a life sentence at San Quentin devoted to holiday gifts for your kids.
Planning for them. Obtaining them. Paying for them.
You skipped your Thanksgiving dinner to stand in line at Toys R Us to buy that ridiculously overpriced toy at doorbuster prices.
Is there anything better than getting your hands on the one thing you know your child desires above all else? Even though you know in your secret heart that it’ll be broken or rejected a week later?
You’re either working extra shifts or maxing out the credit cards to make sure there’s a pile of gifts under the tree.
Before I adopted my kids, I swore I wouldn’t be like that. I’d be prudent and teach my children that Christmas wasn’t just about getting presents. It was about family and giving and doing for others.
Then, 11 years ago, two miniature humans actually moved into my house, on Aug. 2, a day that will be burned into my brain forever as one of the happiest of my life.
By September, I was already breaking my vow, surreptitiously buying toys like a dropout from a 12-step program.
By Christmas Eve, I had such a Mount Everest-size pile of loot for them I had to store it in my friend Robin’s guesthouse, because there was no room to hide it at my place.
I felt this was wrong, somehow. But, as the expression goes, I was a better mother before I had kids.
Really, it only took me nanoseconds after I became a mom to realize that the best thing about being a parent is that you can relive your own childhood, and make it come out this time the way you wanted.
Didn’t get to go to Disneyland as a child? Whee, let’s get annual passes.
Always longed for a treehouse? Let’s build a two-story one for junior.
Now that my kids are teenagers and only want money and electronics, I have time to muse about these things.
So, I sat around imagining, what about Mom and Dad? If they could sit on Santa’s lap and make a wish, what would it be? No pricey sports cars or extravagant jewelry necessary in Parentland.
They have simpler wants, according to my Extremely Scientific Survey. I have categorized them for you, based on the age of the child.
Infant: You wish you could take a shower.
Small child: You wish you could take a nap.
School child: You wish they’d take care of the dog they begged you to buy.
Tween: You wish they would take a shower.
Teen: You wish the driving age were 35.
Adult: You wish they’d move out of your house.
And, at any age, I think most parents would have one No. 1 wish: You wish they’d clean up after themselves.
Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas.