Going to be honest here, I have no idea where this one came from. It’s the story of a single Mother trying to talk her six-year-old out of volunteering at every single event in the volunteering guide, while not completely destroying his enthusiasm with reality. Not sure if I really hit the note I was going for here, but I think it turned out well enough..
“But it’s Christmas” Eddie argued for the 36th time, and Justine wanted to kill whatever well meaning teacher that had explained the “Christmas spirit” concept to her six-year-old.
While the theory was nice and all, be kind to everyone, there were limits. “Sweetie, I know it’s Christmas, and I would love to go out and help at all those events, and do all that volunteering. I really would, but sweetie.” God this part was hard. “Mommy has to work.” She started.
“But you aren’t working now.” He whinged.
“I know, but adults have different kinds of work baby. I mean ya, I gotta go to work. I also have to buy groceries, and pay bills, and drive you and Nana around, and sweetie. Sometimes when I am done, I am tired. And I want to do all those things, and I promise that we can do some of the things, but we have to pick, okay?” Pheww this wasn’t the fun part of being a Mom.
He was looking at her like she had told him Santa Claus wasn’t real, and she hoped that wasn’t what was coming next. It was reality though, and while she didn’t want him to have to learn it this young, it would do neither of them any good if she worked herself into a nervous breakdown trying to make this happen for him.
Maybe, just maybe this would help teach him the lesson that she had learned the hard way. That you can do what you want, whatever you wanted, be whatever you wanted, but you couldn’t be all the things.
She hated that look on his face though, so she did the Mom fall-back, and she lied. Okay, not lied, but bent the truth in a way that it would make an adult call her a liar, and yet make complete sense to a kid.
“Besides, I don’t think it would be fair to keep all the Christmas spirit for for us, now would it?” She heaved a sigh, trying to sell it.
He furrowed his whole face into a frown trying to work through it. “Whaddya mean?” He asked finally.
“Well, if everyone tried to do ALLLL the Christmas spirit things, all the volunteering, and help with all the events, then there would be too many people, and some people might not get a chance to do any at ALL. I just thought, maybe we might be a little more fair, and do a few of the things…” She trailed off, and hoped he would go for it.
“And then everybody can do a few of the things and then there will be enough people for everything, and NOBODY MISSES OUT!” He finished at a yell, and she was so relieved that she could cry.
“Exactly. So why don’t we go through this list, and we pick one thing for each Saturday, and then leave the rest for all the other people?” He nodded wildly at her suggestion, and she pulled him into her lap as they leafed through the “Christmas giving guide” her town council had put out.
In the end they had chosen to go carolling at a seniors facility, help out at a snowman building competition, and of course also compete in it, and then kick it all off next weekend at the local grocery store, collecting food for the food bank. She was lucky he was little enough that he didn’t notice her steering him away from things that would take a week of preparation to help out with, and towards the single day events.
In the end, it was a pretty good slate, and once he was bored to death with the food bank collection, as he would be about an hour into their three hour shift, she could always suggest coming back again next week.
Ah, the joys of single motherhood.