Every year we get the token phone call from both sides of Grandparents "What would the kids like for Christmas this year?" My challenge this year is to stake my claim and ward off the evils of lust for everything American Girl Dolls, and although I get the allure I JUST CAN'T DO IT! Somehow my mother has managed to get an American Girl Doll catalog into my six year olds hands every visit between last New Year and this pending Christmas, and is wanting to get her started on her "collection" (oh GOD please NO.) I have to say that in this economy I should hardly complain but, I'M GOING TO ANYWAY.
I don't know if there are those of you who can relate to this, but when it comes to my mother whom we affectionately call "mimmy," and whom i love dearly (may i not be struck by lightening,) she is the giver of junk extraordinaire. I think it's stems from a need to relive the abundance of childhood she never had (the seventh of eleven children brought up by a widower in River Canard Ontario.) I mean, when she talks about her Christmas's growing up, we are talking L-A-M-E.
Enough food on the table? Maybe. Toys, stocking stuffers, treats, baked goods, and christmas lists?
Pah-lease! How unbelievably spoiled we are in comparison.
So needless to say, the plastic bags full of do-dad's start coming around November first.
It's classic. She'll come for a lovely visit and then just as she's leaving strategically stick her arm back through the door and press the bag handles into my palm saying "just something for their stocking!" or "oh, I thought the kids would love this, hide it somewhere safe!"
or "Isn't this such a time of joy Monica?" and with a gleeful laugh and a glowing smile more twinkly than old St. Nick himself she's off faster than I can say "CHINA."
Now, one would think that after years of growing this business, and spending most waking hours trying my best to encourage any and all to adopt a more greener lifestyle, and having countless (and I mean countless) conversations over the years with my Mother, that even if she were not in agreement with our lifestyle choices (which she is) that she would respect my wishes and keep them in mind when purchasing said glaringly garish, toxic, and environmentally destructive items? She is in fact all head nods, and "yes, dear- I think you are doing a wonderful thing," and "ooooooh, I had no idea that plastic was damaging the eco-system", and "those poor little Chinese people, who's going to tell them? and "what's an eco-system again dear?" so clearly she is getting it right?
So when I lower my head to the kitchen counter and BANG IT REPEATEDLY against the cool unyielding surface I dig deep. I dig down into the tiniest crevice to retrieve one of my more ironic memories and begin to CHANT my only salvation. The serenity prayer she drilled into my head growing up comes fairly easy now, and I repeat it often throughout this joyous holiday season:
"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."