Through the Eyes of a Child / by Alison M. Newcomb

Before any race(s) have even started, I’d like to nominate my 12yr-old stepson for the “REAL-EST” HOLIDAY SPIRIT award.

Being 12 and all—with no discretionary spending $ or transportation means of his own—he has devised his own form of gifting that reminds our entire family what this whole rigamarole is for. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, he spends who-knows-how-long plotting what he’ll gift to me, his dad, and his little brother. Some years, it’s been handmade art. Others featured “re-gifted” memories that the rest of us had all but forgotten. And he insists on the tradition of each of us opening one of these thoughtfulness bombs on the first evening we have a decorated tree every year.

I was informed that the gift I opened last night had a theme that I was to guess. It included following mementos, all of which were travel-related rituals that the two of us have shared over the years:

  • The LEGO Louvre set, his gift to me our second Christmas together

  • A Texas keychain, from the period when I would bring him keychains from every airport I passed through on business, until his school backspace zipper broke under the weight of them all.

  • A magnetic checker game, from our “Year of the Road Trip” (aka: the year I lost my companion pass status on Southwest Airlines)

  • A hamsa incense holder we bought together before I left for a meditation retreat

  • The picture I promised him from South Africa of me with a real (not dead) cheetah

We’re not sure where he’s kept these tokens, but I know that this amazing boy is who I will forever look to if I am ever in doubt about the joyfulness of life. He may never pick up his socks, but I hope he never loses his enormously open and happy heart. This kid, along with his daddy and kid brother, changed my entire life by giving me a house FULL of people to love. I thought there could never be another gift more powerful than that, yet every year the boy manages to somehow take my breath away. I love him SO big!

Wishing a happy start to the holiday season, dear friends!!