A Matter of Christmas Perspective

Have you ever had one of those mornings where life just got to you?  Well, that is a silly question.  Of course you have.  Today, was one of those days for me.

As I write this, it is about three weeks before Christmas.  The day started like it always does on a school morning with three young kids…horribly! Actually, it wasn’t that bad.  But, it was bad enough.

We had the normal sibling arguments my wife and I had to referee, the normal struggle to get them out of bed, the normal “Did you take your vitamins…Did you brush your teeth…What do you mean you don’t want to wear that shirt…Would you just eat and quit staring into space…FEED Fred (our Russian Tortoise)…Hurry, we are late…The bus leaves whether we are there or not…Get in the car…WHERE are your shoes…Let’s go – NOW!”  So, as you can see, it was a normal morning.

My duty is to take our eight year old daughter to the bus stop and then our five year old daughter to morning day care.  So, we jump in the car and off we go.  My five year old is eating her breakfast as we drive.  I have some gum in the front seat to take care of the after breakfast breath.  I know what you are thinking, “Gross!  No brushing of teeth?  That is sick!”  Hey, I got you covered.  I had her brush her teeth…before she ate breakfast.  Hey, it works.  Those of you who are looking at me crossed eyed right now obviously don’t have kids.

Everything was going fine.  I was even trying to get into the Christmas mood.  We were listening to a Christmas story I had downloaded into my iPhone a little earlier and all was well.  We made it to the bus stop with time to spare. The morning was looking up.

My eight year old got on the bus without any challenges (unless you count me forgetting that I had the car doors locked and her struggle to get out of the car) and was off to school.  I had just enough time to get my little princess in the back seat to day care and get back home and meet the man who was to clean the carpet at 9 AM.

We were driving merrily along when I heard a chirp from the back seat, “Where is Olaf?  He is missing!”

With all the compassion I could muster I said, “Well, I am sorry, but we don’t have time to go back home to get him.  The carpet guy is coming.”

With those loving comments I created a chorus of crying in the back seat, “It is Friday.  We get to bring a toy to share.”

After a moment, I decided we were going to drive back home and get her stuffed animal.  I would love to say that instantly I gained perspective.  But, I didn’t.  I complained all the way home and to day care knowing that I was going to be late for the carpet guy.

Then, perspective hit me. To me it was a stuffed animal that wasn’t important.  To her, it was her entire day.  Think of it this way.  What if you and I had forgotten our laptop or a report we had to show that all important client today?  We would look at it differently, wouldn’t we?  And, we most certainly would go back home and retrieve the precious jewel.

Olaf was precious to my daughter.  Not so much of because of what it is.  She may go days at a time without playing with it.  It was precious because of what it represented.  It represented social acceptance from her peers, engagement in a public presentation, and showcasing her abilities to her teacher.  Am I over dramatizing this?  I don’t think so.  It is all a matter of perspective.

I had lost my perspective this morning.  I am sure glad I gained it back just in time for Christmas.



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