By Sarah Farver (Communications)
Some foolhardy people at Saddleback asked me to write something for the blog about a “funny seasonal story,” just in time for Christmas. Nothing immediately sprang to mind, so I asked my daughter if she could remember any specific seasonal stories.
Her reply? “Of course, Mom. We only really have one Christmas story.”
Now, before I explain her answer–I should tell you, we’ve had a lot of amazing holidays as a family. Like many other families with South Texas roots, we traditionally celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. And it just so happens that if you celebrate on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day becomes a bit untraditional. There are no more presents to unwrap, so we get creative. We’ve had holidays where we’ve watched Jackie Chan movies on Christmas Day (aka, “the Jackie Chan Christmas”), made horrible attempts at carolling, or the time my husband made everyone sit through “The Christmas Story” for the umpteenth time while icing sugar cookies. (That was great, truly.)
But the story to which my daughter refers is one in which my then-teenage son stood in front of the refrigerator on Christmas morning, complaining that there weren’t enough carbs in the Christmas breakfast for his bodybuilder-taste. That was my trigger. I didn’t care if my baby boy was now a 6-foot-tall man. I had to respond.
Being the cool mom that I am, and tired as I was of the complaining, I did the first thing I thought of. I pantsed him. For one horrible moment, it was as if time slowed down and halfway through the “pantsing” my stunned brain had already begun to say, “What am I DOING?” My maturity had suddenly receded to that of a 10 year-old boy, something I’ve never even been.
The lapse in maturity shocked my children to the point that they couldn’t stop talking about it. Even today, it is our “Christmas memory.” As in, the only one. Between the pumpkin pies and egg nogs and chocolate-filled stockings of twenty-five years of Christmases with kids–this is the memory. The one that eclipsed them all.
That Christmas, my son used it to guilt-trip me into doing everything for him. (He still pulls it out as a trump card occasionally. “Mom, remember when you scarred me for life?”)
To be clear, I am not proud of what I did. I don’t really know the depths of my subconscious that propelled me to do it. I really do feel the urge to pull a moral out of this somewhere–so I really only have two thoughts:
First, enjoy your kids. The holidays are meant to be wonderful, but they can also bring out the worst in us. Be prepared to give them grace–because chances are, there will come a time when they will need to show you grace in return.
Secondly–(and this is really sincere)–never complain about the food your mother makes for Christmas. You never know what she’ll do.