Today is my son’s ninth birthday.  Can’t believe he’s that old already.  Time really has flown from that day I first held him in my arms.  I was terrified at the thought of being a mother until I held him in my arms.  He was a mess, they hadn’t cleaned him up yet.  But that little man looked into my eyes and I knew I didn’t want to be anything else.

Today was a good birthday.  We took Xavier out to dinner, Qdoba as he requested.  Then went to Arctic Oasis.  It was a blast.  I really should make a point to visit there regularly, especially after Chase deploys.  The we came home.  Then we let Xavier finally open his presents.  Then he, his brother and his dad proceeded to play Lego’s for the next hour and a half.  I loved it.  That’s what a birthday should be, making memories with family.  It took me a while to get this.  I wanted him to get all the cool toys and receive tons of stuff.  I’ll admit,  like Cindy Lauper, I am a material girl.  My love language is giving and receiving gifts.  Chase always kept me in check, letting me know when we’d got him, or the other kids, enough.  And he was right. (Shhh, don’t tell him I said that.)  It may have taken until this birthday, but I finally get it.  It’s not the amount of stuff.  More stuff is just more.  And sometimes more even diminishes the value of the whole.  It’s not even about stuff, but the results of the stuff.  I love the Lego’s Grandma and Grandpa Boden sent.  You know why?  Because of the hour and a half building and playing.  Family is what it’s all about.  Hopefully, as Christmas rolls around I can keep this perspective as I shop for Christmas presents.  Because I’ve already had to catch myself wanting to get the kids more “stuff”.  It’s all stuff the kids want or would love and would make them happy as they opened it.  But in the end it would all just get put into the piles of stuff they already have.  Having just had a hoarding intervention with the boys, plus clearing Clara’s room into a garbage bag that is sitting in the garage, I’m done with “stuff”.  I want to take my time and find things that will lead to time together.  That will cause imaginations to flourish.  Yep, I pray I’ll be able to remember the lesson of tonight as I walk through stores with all their shiny, cool “stuff” because all that “stuff” is so very tempting.  But I want to give my children more than “stuff”.

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