Several years ago, I spent Christmas Eve with some of my good friends, the Bensons. Though unforeseen situations have brought about altered life circumstances, I was very close to this family at one point in time. They were great friends to me during some of the toughest times of my early adult life, and I'm very grateful for that! At one point in time, I even lived in their basement, and their kids called me "Aunt Wendy."
Hunter Benson's favorite movie was "Toy Story." He would jump off of his top bunk like Buzz Light year and say, "To infinity and beyond." THUNK....(Hunter hitting the floor). It easy to know what to get the boys for Christmas that year....Toy Story sleeping bags. I LOVED getting a new sleeping bag when I was a kid. The new ones were always so slippery on the inside, and it was pure heaven just sliding into it. If mom let us sleep of the floor, well, that was practically nirvana! In this picture, you see Hunter (red sweater), Spencer (on the floor), Mom Becky holding then baby Michael. Just to put this in perspective, Hunter just got his driver's permit. Time LITERALLY flies by!
That year I got Michael some toy; I honestly can't remember what it was. I put the object in a box. As you can see, Michael was a bit too small to open the box by himself, and Hunter helped with the unwrapping privilege. He unwrapped the box itself thinking that was the present. When he saw the box, he exclaimed excitedly, "What a great box!" And he meant it.
We laughed and laughed.
I have thought of that moment many, many times. "What a great box!" In a day when many feel entitled and expectations for gift giving are quite high, I remember that night when Hunter cried, "What a great box!" You know what, if I had only given that kid a box, he would have been perfectly fine with it!
I attribute that attitude to great parenting. Not every kid would exclaim "What a great box!" Some would say, "Is it just a box?" "What is in the box?" "What does the box do?" Not this kid. He was so excited just to get a box! The present inside was an unexpected, added bonus.
I struggle as a parent to provide for my kids but still have them be grateful. I wish for a day when gratitude would prompt us all to say, "What a great box!" Or "what beautiful wrapping!"; "thank you for making the table look nice tonight;" "thanks for taking that little extra time to do that special thing you do to make my birthday extra special." I worry sometimes that we are an ungrateful society and that will lead to our demise. There are no guarantees in life. One lost job may drive a family to move from a comfortably warm home. One unexpected, unplanned for illness might create financial burdens. There is so much to be thankful for in our everyday, ordinary lives.
On this Christmas Day, I hope that you find joy in the great boxes in your life!
I hope Hunter, Spencer, Michael and Cameron realize how awesome their mother is. She is a great lady who tries to teach you what is right. If you continue to listen to her and follow her example, you will be great young men!
A Fifth Grader and a Second Grader
1 year ago