I spent the holidays with family. Holiday traditions were revisited – cookie baking. There was no snow in Chicago, so no sledding or snowball fights. Christmas Eve is my special time with my nieces and nephews. They open all of my presents on that day. We had a brunch instead of the usual formal affair. They loved the cheese and fruit platter with triple creme brie, goat cheese with red pepper flakes and dubliner white cheddar. Yogurt, blackberries, bananas, grits, eggs and fried chicken rounded out the menu – and the all important Auntie Ronda’s Snack Mix. After hunger was sufficiently satisfied, we proceeded to open the presents.
My four year old nephew requested a guitar and trumpet. The trumpet was outside of the budget, but I found an electric guitar and amp for the price of the toy ones. Before he opened his present, I announced that this present was from me and in memory of Snoopy. When my older sister saw it was an electric guitar, she proclaimed “that’s why Snoopy had to go.” I have witnesses to this event. At that moment, I removed her Auntie Ronda’s Snack Mix. We turned up the amp on the electric guitar and told my nephew to play for Snoopy. He rocked out in his kung fu uniform. He also wanted to be a kung fu kid so I went to Chinatown in NYC and bought him a uniform along with a dvd of the Iron Monkey. After he rocked out, we watched Iron Monkey twice while he pretended to be Wong Fei Hong. In addition to Snoopy, I love old school martial arts movies (Drunken Master, Five Deadly Venoms). The electric guitar is the gift that keeps giving because even the adults wanted to be a Rock Star. My sister should learn not to miss with me and my Snoopy. Now I can begin the healing and forgiving process.
To encourage my nieces to stay on target with school, a few months back I told them Christmas gifts would be earned by learning 177 spelling words that I took out of a test prep book. I dubbed this “Earn Auntie’s Cash.” We had a spelling bee, even the little one participated (he only had ten spelling words but he knew them all). I bonded with my nieces over manicures. I used to call them little ladies, but they are growing into young ladies. I know parents get frustrated when kids hit that pre-teen/teen stage, but please be a little patient with them. They are more confused and scared at this stage then when they started kindergarten. Not to say they don’t challenge the nerves, but after listening to them I had a new found respect for my young ladies. I am sure they will cause my hair to stand on its end periodically, but they surprised me with their follow through.
I am a very fortunate and blessed person. Friends spoiled and showered me with gifts, food and undeserved complements. It is a good thing to have people want to have you around. As they saying goes, “don’t have people happy to see you twice – coming and going.” They did not want to see me go and others time would not allow me to visit. Grateful for my friendships and my family that keeps life interesting. However, I did miss NYC. Upon arriving, I was happy to see the lights, hear the noise, and the complaints. “I’m walking here.”
Oh, the discount with Chic Gems ends soon, happy shopping.