Aahhh, the holidays...they have a tendency to inspire nostalgia and warm memories, don't they? For example, like when my kids were wee munchkins (hard to imagine, I know), and would make adorable Christmas Wish Lists that included items such as "Thomas train set" or "new baseball bat" or "whatever video game I am currently desperate to play". (Actually, the last one still appears, every yuletide season. Boys may get bigger, but they never grow out of their electronics, am I right?)
The last few years when we've quizzed them for...inspiration...though, it's felt like pulling teeth to get them to actually voice any ideas. (Yeah...maybe not as painful...but definitely equally difficult...) "Um....I don't really need anything." "I can't think of anything I want right now." Now, don't get me wrong--I'm super-glad that they're happy and content with their...stuff. But...it does kind of cut down on the element of...I don't know...Santa Surprise? (My Inner Elf is unsatisfied, I tell ya! Perhaps that's a personal problem...never mind...)
However, I think it was around October when Derek finally uttered those words we'd been expecting...but dreading....pretty much since he entered the High School Era. You see, this is the first year that the nightly homework for both boys involves the computer most of the time. From researching and typing papers, to online Math problems, to Study Guides posted on Google Classroom...they've had to negotiate a complicated schedule, to make sure they each get adequate use of the family PC. So one evening when he was--rather impatiently--waiting his turn, Derek matter-of-factly stated, "Mom, I think I need my own laptop for Christmas."
Aaarrrgh! And he was absolutely right, of course...but STILL. So after I managed to put aside the shock, I diligently got down to work researching like crazy--weighing brands, technical specs, features, cost...and whatnot.Then I made my decision, placed the order...and squirreled the package away when it arrived, so there would be no chance whatsoever of anyone catching sight of the telltale box and setting that proverbial feline free from its sack.
All good, yeah? But I faced a slight dilemma: I wanted Derek to be able to open it up and get right to goofing around with it, so I needed to take care of the "housekeeping" aspects--such as entering the WiFi password and "configuring the settings" (whatever the heck that means). The only instructions provided by the manufacturer also recommended charging it for 3 hours before making any demands of the system. (Whether this is "mandatory" or merely a "polite suggestion" I have no idea. I just follow directions...okay, mostly...well, when it suits me...eh, you get the picture....)
Let me explain why this is so challenging: there's not one room in the house where I can plug something in...secretly...out of sight and safe from the investigations of curious passers-by. After wracking my brains for a while for creative solutions, in the end I simply put it in my bedroom with a self-explanatory note taped to the door. ("Keep door closed", in case you were wondering. It seemed best to be clear...and firm. It IS the season of heightened anticipation...and nosiness, after all...and I've met my kids...)
Sooooo...this morning, as Husband (who correctly ascertained that he was allowed access to..."St. Nick's Workshop, Southern Mid-Atlantic Division"...tried to stealthily sneak through the aforementioned entry, the children pretended to muscle around him and peek past the barrier. "No, no, no," he warned, in a tone of...mock-stern-ness, "You have to wait; it takes time for the The My Little Pony inflatables to be ready!" I was still shaking my head at this ridiculous notion...and image...when suddenly both of the gooberheads rushed to me, Derek smothering me in a bear hug and exclaiming, "THANKS, Mom--how did you know that was just what I wanted?" Riley followed a second behind and chimed in, "Best. Mom. EVER!"
Siiiighhhh. Yes, this is my...beloved family. God bless....their little pea pickin' hearts...every one.