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THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

I was chatting with a friend I hadn't talked to in a long time. We spent some time catching up and then our conversation shifted to gifts we had purchased for our kids this year. (Wait...did I mention I'm totally winning Christmas this year? I've probably mentioned it once or twice, but for real, I am winning Christmas this year.) This friend and I were talking about kid presents today and I mentioned that kids get stuff all the damn time. Christmas probably isn't as big of a deal for them as it was for us. She totally agreed. She said that when she sees something she knows her son will like, she just goes ahead buys it then and doesn't wait to give it him. I'm kind of guilty of the same thing. I try to pick up something off the $1-3 section in Target for the Cabbage every time I'm in Target. I think that I'll save it for her stocking or Valentine's day or Easter, but I never do. 

My friend and I lamented together on how our Strawberry Shortcake collections would have been completed faster or at all if we hadn't had to wait for Christmas. I had to confess that I was never at a want for Strawberry Shortcake dolls. Between my mother and my sister-in-law, I was literally covered in Strawberry Shortcake. My Mom made me an exact replica of Strawberry Shortcake's outfit for Halloween one year. She also made an entire bedroom set, canopy for my bed, pillow cases/shams, comforter and curtains out of Strawberry Shortcake themed material, as well as placemats and napkins for my little table. Even so, I could not expect to be in a store and just get whatever Strawberry Shortcake item at any given time. That collection was acquired through Christmas and birthday gifts. So many of my childhood Christmas memories include sneaking downstairs at two or three in the morning to get a peak at what Santa had brought me. There was nothing like seeing that one thing I had spent months asking and begging for sitting under the Christmas tree or the feeling of surprise because you just weren't sure Santa was going to make that wish come true. Like the year I'd begged for a beagle puppy. Odie was the best Christmas present I ever received. 

There's nothing on her list that the Cabbage has been pining over for months or leaving gentle reminder notes and hints about. But I know we've gotten her some gifts that she is not expecting. I tried to stick with a want/need/wear/read list for her this year. The things she needs are storage solutions for her toys. She's going to open two storage boxes from IKEA and I can't wait to see that crestfallen look of disappointment on her face. Because what kid is excited about storage solutions for Christmas? I also can't wait to see her reaction to the other surprises we have in store for her, the ones that I know will make her whoop with joy. That's the best lesson those childhood Christmases ever taught me was what a joy it is to be able to give such a gift that creates so much happiness and joy. I am thankful for that lesson. I am also thankful for gifts that don't come wrapped up in fancy paper, like the gift of good friends and family. Or...the gift of a new addition to the framily. Chad, Jess and Austin signed adoption papers yesterday. It is official. Chad and Jess are parents of a teenager and every time I look at their new family picture, I burst into happy tears. I cannot even open my mouth to tell other people this wonderful news without starting to ugly cry. 

Here's to a wonderful Holiday. May it be filled with joy and laugher and happy tears.