Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

December 27, 2008

Sleep-Deprived Kids Love Bubble Wrap and A Cardboard Box Under The Tree For Christmas…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — 30tocure30 @ 9:11 am

 

Wow..Dad What I Always Wanted A $1.00 Coloring Book...

Wow..Dad What I Always Wanted A $1.00 Coloring Book...

 

 

Any fathers of kids under the age of 5 who are reading this I am suggesting you hop up from your seat and go grab a pen and piece of paper. What I am about to tell you qualifies as a certified golden nugget of truth that is worth writing down. Don’t worry, we’ll all stop and wait for you to get back to this riveting blog (a writer can hope, can’t he?).

I know some of you dads are completely exhausted and cannot remember the last time your head hit that precious pillow. The past few days have been a whirlwind of family dinners, office parties, shopping and gift-wrapping. If your house was anything similar to mine it means you were up no later than 5 am on Christmas morning. Santa fever swept over my family with my youngest suffering the worst case. Maddie and Paige were jumping off the walls jonesing like crack addicts for some presents. They needed sweet relief and the only thing that would do the trick was something wrapped with a bow.

Both girls came nowhere close to budging when mommy and daddy pleaded, begged and actually bribed them to go back to bed. It did not phase them in the least bit when they found out it was so early that Elmo, Dora, Shrek and the Disney Princesses were still catching some Z’s. Once Maddie spotted some weakness in her good old pops, she instantly turned into Ivan Drago from Rocky and said “I Must Break You!” Break I did as we were opening presents a few minutes later.

Nothing causes Jenn (my wife) more heartache than the annual experience that is Christmas shopping for the girls. She pours her heart out over every gift as she pictures the girls going bonkers as they peel the paper away and unwrap pure happiness in a box. There are some nights when I experience her restlessness. She tosses and turns in bed as her mind races about what the ideal gift looks like. 

In a weird way as a man, husband and father I know what she is going through. If I could buy the entire world and stick it underneath our artificial tree I would. Every man wants to be the provider. It is not that I want to raise spoiled brats, but for one Christmas I would like to not let the quality of my presents be dictated by the balance of my checking account. Funny how easy it is to become ungrateful and bitter on a holiday centered around thankfulness.

Growing up, Christmas was much like attending a firework show in that each gift built its way up to the grand finale. The last gift defined if the holidays were a smashing success or an utter disappointment. For some reason, this tradition is something I’ve carried over now as a parent with kids of my own. This year’s end-all-be-all gift for Maddie was a Ukulele. I know it is random, but if we had to hear one more time that is what she wanted for Christmas we were going to ship her in a box one way to Hawaii so she could experience the music firsthand.

Now care to wager what gift caused the biggest reaction out of my sleep-deprived daughter? Nope, not the computer games, clothes or even the Ukulele. The present that led Maddie to shriek and jump for joy then promptly plow over Jenn with a bear hug was a coloring book that cost 100 pennies at the Dollar Tree.

The morale of the story and golden nugget of truth for dads with kids: stop worrying about what gift to give your young one…. toss some bubble wrap and a cardboard box into their room and they’ll be entertained for hours. The magic my grand finale toy held wore off in a few days or a month if it was truly extraordinary. These items, which my parents wondered how they could afford, were quickly tossed aside as I looked for the latest and greatest thing that would capture my attention. Yet, the things that have stuck in my brain about the holidays were memories like decorating the tree, shoveling the driveway and breakfast on Christmas morning. Or how my dad and I would always chuckle when the donkey in the live nativity scene would take a deuce as Joseph, Mary and the Son of God baby would make their home in a manger. Just being there for your wife and kids is what matters most. The toys will make their way to the back of the closet while the moments you spend together will create memories that last forever. 

December 16, 2008

The Fuzzy Ugly That Is Tacky Christmas Sweaters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 12:52 am

 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

My wife says I never get into the holiday spirit. She won’t go as far as saying I’m a Grinch, but she is often surprised when I receive actual presents and not coal from Santa every year. Don’t let her know this, but I actually love this season. Yet, it is not for reasons you may think. Mistletoe, candy canes and singing carols are just okay in my book. Coming up with the most random Secret Santa gift that will leave people speechless always makes me chuckle. Another notch up is watching fellow cube mates let loose after tossing back way too much eggnog at the office Christmas party and having to do the walk of shame the next morning.

Don’t get me wrong. As jolly as these things are, nothing brings me more holiday glee then going Tacky Christmas Sweater hunting at the local mall. I always know when it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas based upon how many Rudolph’s and Elves I see plastered across the chest of a wool sweater. It seems like grandmas compete in some sort of twisted game to see who can wear the most ‘festive’ attire.  And by festive I mean snowmen huddled around Santa lying in a manger.

These grannies go to great extremes to hang just the right amount of bells on their outfit so spectators far and wide will hear the ‘ring-a-ding’ and have the opportunity to witness them in all their fuzzy, ugly glory.  There is no way anyone in their right mind looks into the mirror, sees one of these hideous warmers staring back at them and comes to the conclusion that it is a good idea to actually be seen in public. 

Even though the Tacky Christmas Sweater is primarily a female phenomenon, I think it shines light on an ugly habit most men face. I’m speaking of our tendency to act before we think. Rash decisions, irrational behavior, impulse buying, risky habits, regrets and words we wish we could take back.  The root cause of all these actions is a failure to think through the decisions we make. It rears its’ ugly head very randomly, but has a greater propensity to show up in late December.

Take for instance the thoughtfulness most men display when it comes to holiday shopping. If you are in a relationship, raise your hand if you’ve already purchased gifts for your significant other? Anyone…anyone…Bueller? I am assuming that if you are like 99.9% of all men you are justifying your laziness by saying it is only December 16th 

This means you still have eight more shopping days till the Eve is upon us and if all else fails there has to be some random convenience store open Christmas morning, right? When you are visiting the local mall at 9pm on Christmas Eve there will be no tacky sweaters to distract you. This is because the ladies will have long since departed and left the leftovers to husbands and boyfriends freaking out over the ideal gift. Let me fill you in on a little secret: all the ideal gifts were bought back during Black Friday.

Without thinking about style, color or size, you are grabbing any piece of clothing you can find off the rack. One does not need to be a fortune teller to realize the chances are good there will be some bawling going on during Christmas. It will take place either in the morning when she unwraps her size 20 dress in lady of the night red or in the evening from your back reacting to the stiff couch you will be sleeping on for the foreseeable future.

Maybe you vaguely remember how your wife complains about the Shop Vac not sucking up Cheerios off the carpet. You begin to do the touchdown dance as you picture her face lighting up when she opens a huge box filled with a new vacuum. You don’t know how wrong you are my friend. A man’s brain is wired for practical while a women’s is wired for meaningful.

So, for my fellow men that are in the same boat as me, all I can say is you have a little time left to get your act together and pay attention. After all, your fantasy football team has more than likely been eliminated from the playoffs, which should free up the majority of your time anyway.

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