Many of you might recall that my father and I have an odd non-relationship. You might also recall that he insists on coming to see us around January/Christmas, and that I'm too much of a freakin' chicken to do anything about it. After last year, you'd think I'd get the hint. But no.
He was arriving at 3:30. There were murmurings of picking up the kids from school and hiding out at Chuck E. Cheese, but I didn't. I should have. But I didn't. There was no way to clean the house in time. I hadn't really bought them any presents. My plan had been to see them at the family Christmas and hope to hide for another year. However, my father had made something for the boys, and it was "too big". Just what we needed, something big.
Every year, my father makes something for the boys. It is a nice gesture, I suppose. One year he made them a rocking chair (meaning he painted one green and put a little "John Deere" faux logo on it). Another year it was rocking horse (not sure if he actually put that one together or not). He glued little wood animals to some peg strips he got as the craft store one year. Last year it was a Tic Tac Toe board, which worked out nicely, as the boys were very into Tic Tac Toe. This year? This very large board, painted in strips, with a hole, and legs on one side. You set up the board so it is angled, and toss bean bags at the hole. He had some fancy name for it, and much time was spent informing me of the official rules, and the fact that this was an official-sized board, but the hole was a little bigger than "regulation" because the boys were still little.
Do you have somebody that does things like this to make themselves feel better, and have you ever wondered how you are supposed to take it? I'll put it against another example of gift-giving. My Uncle Lou made the boys a game a couple of summers ago. He took PVC piping, made a three-bar frame, then drilled into tennis balls and connected two with a rope. You throw the balls-on-rope at the frame, and score points if you get them to wrap around one of the bars. The boys love it. It comes apart to be stored, and it is an outside game. He made it for them because he had made one for his own grandsons (the Cousins), and they had really liked it. During a visit, they surprised us with it.
Somehow, it feels so very different. My uncle has no obligation to my children. He saw they really enjoyed something, and he made it happen. Am I the only person who sees the difference?
My husband has assured me more support next year. As in, when we get (if we get) warning, we are hauling butt to Chuck E. Cheese. It's less stressful.