Christina was chopping and marinating her way through dinner prep when I walked into the kitchen on Christmas. I had been on the floor with Derek, trying fruitlessly to put together the new parking garage/race track he had received.
I leaned on the counter and took a breath.
“Now I know why my parents were so stressed every Christmas,” I said. Christina nodded as she continued to chop.
We have it easy: We’ve got one crazy kid to concern ourselves with. I don’t how people with three, four or five do it, especially during Christmas, when Derek wanted to play with everything all the time.
He wanted to ride his prized present, a green miniature Huffy bike with training wheels, around the block all day. Then he wanted to look through the talking Star Wars books that came from grandma and grandpa. Then he wanted to sling some Hot Wheels down the race track. Then he wanted to strum this new guitar.
When Derek said he just wanted to sit on the couch and watch some Barney, it felt like a massage to my brain. I was never so happy to see the big purple dinosaur in my life. For about 20 minutes, Derek watched Barney do whatever the hell Barney does and Christina and I got a chance to shut off our minds for a minute.
Christmas is certainly for kids. You never realize that, however, until you have a kid of your own. Make no mistake, I got some cool stuff – a PlayStation 4, a paperback copy of the out-of-print “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” and Rush pack that included a t-shirt and the band’s latest documentary. It’s nearly two weeks after Christmas and I still haven’t played with my cool toys.
But the day revolved around Derek, as it should. Sure, one day Derek will realize Christmas is about more than gifts and receiving. But he’s about to turn 4. When you’re 4, and everyone you love showers you toys, what else are you supposed to do but spend all day playing with them?
Derek had a happy Christmas. So did we – even if it was a bit stressful.