Dear 29 year old self,
It’s Christmas Eve. You are about to set out the presents from Santa for your precious little children. It’s the most exciting part of Christmas Eve. You can feel the anticipation building as you wait for the kids to fall asleep. You need them to fall asleep so you can start assembling the Cozy Coupe for little Blake. He’s only 1 but you’re sure he’s going to love it. Kyle is putting together Caitlin’s new bike which actually proves to be easier than the Cozy Coupe, much to your irritation.
It’s at this moment that, me, your 35 year old self, needs to interject. You have no idea but in just a few moments you are going to feel like the worst mother in the world. You are going to feel like a failure. You are going to say the F word. I know it’s shocking because you can’t even imagine what could go so terribly wrong that you would go from joyful excitement to utter devastation. It’s about to happen just try to calm yourself and keep perspective. You won’t but I thought I’d mention it anyway.
As Kyle begins to bring presents down and set them up, he says solemnly, “Court, um, you bought the Guitar Hero that goes to a PlayStation, not the Wii. It’s the wrong one.” WHAT?!?!?!?! That can’t be right! I checked! I was certain I had bought the right one! I looked at it and sure enough, it was the one for the PlayStation. I felt like I might be having a panic attack. This was the ONE thing Paxton really wanted. His ONE big present and I had screwed it up. I’m pretty sure this is when I said more cuss words than I had ever said in my entire life. I’m not proud of it, Mom, but it happened. Kyle went straight into fix-it mode. He was going to go to Walmart and get the right one. It was 11:30 at night. On Christmas Eve. Apparently even Walmart closes at some point during the holidays so that wouldn’t work. He then had the brilliant idea to call his brother, the gamer, who happened to be at his parents’ house in Murfreesboro to see if he had his guitar from his own Guitar Hero game. By some Christmas miracle, he does. (Don’t worry, Jordan, I won’t tell them how old you are J)
This is another moment I, your future self, need to pop in. Precious 29 year old self, it is all going to be ok. Don’t make Kyle drive in the pouring rain to meet his brother. I know you feel like a complete and total failure because you got the wrong thing but, for the love, you are not a gamer! You know Super Mario Brothers and that’s it. You can take down Bowser but other than that you know nothing. Cut yourself some slack here. He’s only 6 and he has plenty of other presents to play with. I know, I know, it’s the big one that you messed up but I’m here to tell you he won’t even care.
When Kyle asks you what you want him to do, you hiss at him, “Do whatever you need to do to make sure Paxton is going to be happy when he gets up tomorrow.” Wow. Strong words. You’re practically seething. So Kyle leaves to meet his brother while you wallow in self-disgust. When Kyle gets home, you decided to leave a note for Paxton from Santa saying he ran out of Guitar Heroes for the Wii so he brought Uncle Jordan’s to play with until his parents bought him the right one. It’s unbelievable the tales we tell for Santa.
Christmas morning comes and the kids are stoked. They run downstairs to see what Santa has brought and squeal with delight over their new toys. (Actually, my children did not squeal with delight. Our expectation of their reaction on Christmas morning always far surpasses what we get from them. They’re happy, they just don’t squeal or yell or run around the house in excitement. Just once I wish that would happen.) Paxton is excited about his gifts and he doesn’t care that he has to borrow Uncle Jordan’s guitar. He was actually more excited about the silly bands in his stocking. Seriously.
(I need not even mention the tube TV sitting on a chair. These were hard times.)
Ahem, 35 year old self here. See? Paxton loved it anyway. He didn’t even care that he got the wrong one and had to use his uncle’s. But here’s the kicker, you don’t know this yet but he will barely even play with Jordan’s guitar. It’s just not as awesome as he thought it would be. So much so that you end up returning the wrong Guitar Hero and not even buying the correct replacement. And get this: Paxton doesn’t care. If he had asked for the new one of course you would’ve gotten it, but he doesn’t. He lost interest after day 2 or 3. All that self-loathing for nothing. If you could just learn to have a little grace for yourself you wouldn’t waste so much energy being disappointed with yourself when you mess things up. Perfection is for Jesus, grace is for you. Until next time younger self…
Your older and wiser self