Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Tale of Two Christmases

Is there ever another time of year where the same event or season can bring about such polarized emotions? From the day after Thanksgiving through December 26th for our family (this is the date of our last official Christmas celebration of the year) I run the gamit of emotions from excited to frustrated to exhausted to elated and etc. etc. etc. Sometimes my emotions switch from one extreme to the other in a matter of seconds. Yesterday was an example of this. Last Tuesday night Jason had his office Christmas party, and in the kids' gift exchange, Elizabeth was the recipient of an e-pet. For those who don't know, an e-pet is a small stuffed dog that comes with a registration code for a special website that allows the pet owner to visit a virtual world for his/her dog and earn points/money to visit a diner, spa, and various other locations (according to Elizabeth, an amusement park is in the works.) The e-pet was quite a hit with Elizabeth and with Anna who was pretty upset that she also didn't get an e-pet in the exchange (although she was perfectly happy with her Backyardigans memory game at the party.) When Elizabeth was at school last week, Anna would get on Elizabeth's e-pet account and play, usually spending more money than she would earn. She complained to her grandmother that she didn't understand why 8 year olds were old enough for an e-pet but 4 year olds weren't. The e-pet website said that e-pets are sold at Target, Meijer, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, and K-Mart, so yesterday, when I headed to Wal-Mart for some groceries, I decided I would get Anna her own e-pet.

Anyone braving Wal-Mart yesterday deserved a gold star. The grocery side wasn't bad, but the other side, especially the toy aisles, were nearly impassible, especially with a cart. I headed to the stuffed animal section and looked for the e-pets. I didn't see any. I manuevered my way through the handheld games and board game aisles but still had no luck. "Maybe they are back in electronics," I thought, so I headed to the back of the store. The only section more crowded than the toy section at Wal-Mart was the electronics. I stood in line for 5-10 minutes at the electronics check out just to ask the cashier if there were any e-pets in this section. She said no, if Wal-Mart carried them, they would be in the toy aisles. I headed back to the toy aisles, flagged down an associate who told me that they weren't going to carry any more e-pets until after the first of the year. Feeling very defeated, I drove my cart to the checkout and proceeded to wait close to a half hour to check out, minus an e-pet.

The website had mentioned K-Mart as another place to get e-pets, so I called Jason to call K-Mart to see if they had any e-pets. I was already in South Marion, so Gas City didn't seem too far away. He said he would call, and I started over to Gas City. I was half way to Gas City when he called back. He said they didn't have e-pets at K-Mart, but they did have Webkinz, which apparently is similar to e-pets. I have heard of Webkinz, but since Anna was already familiar with the e-pets site and really wanting an e-pet, that is what I wanted to get. I figured since I was almost to K-Mart, anyway, I would check it out and probably end up purchasing a Webkinz. Feelings of disappointment were welling up inside of me. I knew how much Anna wanted an e-pet. I thought it would be so easy to get one for her, and yet after spending all that time at Wal-Mart fighting through the crowds and sweating profusely in my heavy coat (what was going on with the weather yesterday, anyways? 50 degrees?) and still not having this e-pet, I was very frustrated.

I headed into K-Mart and went straight to the toy section. I found the stuffed animals, and lo and behold, right there in plain sight, for $11.99, WERE THE E-PETS!!! I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or break into the Hallelujah chorus right there on the spot. After all the searching and frustration and disappointent, feeling of elation rushed over me - all over a little stuffed animal. But it was a little stuffed animal that I knew would make my 4 year old so happy.

I paid for it, rushed to the car, called Jason and told him of my good find, went home, wrapped that little cocker spaniel up, called Anna downstairs and gave her an early Christmas present. I will have to admit I had a very selfish reason for giving it to her early. Jason and Elizabeth went to the Colts game today, and I had lots of chores to catch up on and gifts to wrap, so I knew the e-pet would occupy her so I could get some things done. The look on her face and her jumping up and down and into my arms was definitely worth all of the effort.

The above story is just one example of the different emotions that the Christmas season brings. Below are some other emotions I have experienced.

The pressure of finding the perfect gift for someone
The joy of watching someone open up the perfect present from me
Exhaustion after a day at the mall carrying around so many packages that I thought my hand was going to have a permanent indentation in it from the bag handles.
Peace sitting in my living room with all of the light off except for the Christmas tree and candles in the windows.
Stress trying to make it to Christmas programs, parties, and family get togethers
Enjoyment sitting and relaxing and talking with relatives that we only see a couple of times a year
Comfort hanging out at home with Jason and the kids, all of us in pajamas watching A Very Brady Christmas (we don't make it a point to watch this every year, but it seems like we always stumble upon it on the tv, and once we start watching we can't stop.)
Worry that I spent more money than we had budgeted
The feeling of familiarity as we carry out Christmas traditions - putting up the tree and our special ornaments, completing the advent calendars, etc.
Frustration when gifts ordered over the internet don't come in on time
Honor lighting the advent candle at church
Annoyance when two gifts I bought in the store cost $25 more than if I would have ordered on-line
Gratefulness that we are able to spend Christmas time with both my family and Jason's family each year
Awe - the whole Christmas story and the fact that Christ came to Earth in the manner that He did - wow!

And in a little more than 3 short days, the festivities will be over. The gifts will be put away, the decorations will come down, the bills will be paid, and yet, our Lord is still our Saviour, today, tomorrow, in July, and Black Friday 2008!


Anonymous Heather said...

Your blog made me a little misty eyed!

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and I will see you next year!

December 23, 2007 7:57 PM  
Blogger Bekah said...

Deb, you're a good mom to brave wal-mart! I'm so glad that you found what Anna wanted - and I'm with you - seeing that look of utter joy is so worth it. I've been able to see that on some of my friends' kids' gives me goose bumps. Merry Christmas! :)

December 23, 2007 9:46 PM  
Blogger lil' kk said...

Deb- I have been contemplating the perfect blog entry for this time of year. I too have been on an emotional roller coaster. One that is finally at peace this night before Christmas Eve. Have an enjoyable season, they are only young once. Merry Christmas from Lil'kk, Pimp Daddy C.K, and Emi-peep or depending on the day Emo-peep ! Gotta luv teenagers!

December 23, 2007 11:03 PM  
Blogger Keetha said...

Some of us will have our decorations up for a lot longer than three more days!!! ;-)

December 24, 2007 12:14 AM  
Blogger Anon said...

You really have a thing with Anna and stuffed animal/pets, don't you?

Kind of reminds me of a bunny named Thumper....isn't that how this whole blog thing got started?


December 29, 2007 11:22 AM  
Blogger Keetha said...

Hope you can come to my blog party Friday night.

January 02, 2008 10:52 AM  

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