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I had it all planned out. This “tradition” that everyone was talking about. Little did I know that it was about to take me to another level of parenthood.
Phase 1: THE SEARCH. Where would I find this Elf? Do I need the book and the Elf or just the Elf? Wait! There’s a DVD! Do I need the DVD too? The book, the Elf AND the DVD? Can I just have the Elf and tell him the story? I guess I need the book. After all, on T.V. everyone is is sitting around Christmas Eve reading a book, right? It has to be “picture perfect!”
Phase 2: THE FIND. I found it at Target. It was right on the endcap before the register. How convenient, I thought. They all looked so pretty in their shiny boxes. They even had it for girls and for boys. There it was. “A Christmas Tradition” just like everyone said.
Phase 3: THE WAIT. From what I heard, the best time to introduce TEOTS was the day after Thanksgiving. So I kept it in the back of the car for about a week. So basically I rushed out to get it for instant gratification and then had to let it sit in my car for a week before opening it.
But at least I knew it was there.
Phase 4: THE INTRODUCTION. I told my son I was going to get a surprise out of the car. I couldn’t wait to give it to him. He had no idea what he was getting. So when I gave it to him he said, “a doll! yea!.” I carefully took it out of the box and handed it to him. FIRST MISTAKE. I did not read the directions, as usual. At that point I took the tradition into my own hands.
Phase 5: THE RULES. He sat cozily on my lap (just how I envisioned) and I read the book to him. We picked a name for the Elf (because he couldn’t decide and I was getting impatient). He loved it. His eyes got wide when I explained that “Bobby” the elf was flying back to see Santa at night to give him his report of whether or not he had been naughty or nice that day. And that he would come back in the morning and he would have to look for him. BUT, I said very sternly, “you cannot touch him otherwise he will lose his magic powers.” “Okay,” he said.
Phase 6: THE MELTDOWN. “Do you want to go downstairs and look for Bobby?” I said when my son woke up. I was so excited. We rushed downstairs and he looked everywhere. Finally, I pointed him out (again, I couldn’t wait). “I want to hold him!” my son exclaimed. “Please Mommy I want him!” I quickly said, “No! You can’t hold him! He has special powers! If you hold him they will go away!” He was so disappointed and started to get agitated. “I want him!” he screamed. He was not backing down. I started to get irritated. This was not going the way I planned.
He started to wail and I saw my husband’s eyes. They were telling me to give in. He said, “why don’t we just give it to him? He doesn’t understand.”
Of course he understands! I read him the book twice last night!
Now I was aggravated at my husband for not helping me. Instead, he caved. Ugh, I was so aggravated.
So I refused to give the Elf to my son and walked away. I went upstairs and found myself so restless and so irritated. I had this internal struggle for a few minutes.
Why couldn’t it of just gone my way?
Phase 7: THE EPIPHANY.
How important is it? I thought. HE’S ONLY THREE! Wow. Wow. Wow. I am REALLY controlling. So what if he touches the damn Elf! Unbelievable, I thought. I just ruined the tradition. I screwed it up first of all because, like always, I didn’t read directions. I felt like a schmuck. A jerk.
Ugh, how could I?
I marched downstairs and grabbed the Elf. I walked up to my son and said, “Mommy is sorry. If you want to hold the Elf, you can.” He grabbed the Elf and held him close. He gave him a kiss and I saw a twinkle in his eye. My son was smiling. After beating myself up I realized that that moment was supposed to happen and nothing happens by mistake. He (my son) is my teacher. I learned a valuable lesson. Next time I will ask myself, “how important is it?”