The first time Bruce mentioned going duck hunting with guys from work I said "no way". I actually used harsher words than that, but "no way" was the generally theme of my response. There are only so many weekends leading up to Christmas and I didn't want to "waste" a single one.
This particular weekend we were invited to a fun Christmas party on Friday night with the kids and then a real-deal grown-up Christmas party on Saturday night. My desire to go to those parties trumped my desire for my husband to go hunting (btw...hunting does not fit the normal profile husband. He has never actually been duck hunting before...just so you keep the right image of him in your mind. ;)).
But when Quade woke up sick Friday morning, my plans for the weekend changed...completely. There would be no fun parties. If there would be no fun parties maybe Bruce should get a fun weekend away. So I made the offer and he took me up on it. Phone calls were made immediately. I watched him excitedly pack a bag and figure out what he would need for a "duck hunt".
While he packed I decided that in order to enjoy my next 48 hours with the boys I would need to take on a temporary persona. I would no longer be "mommy"...I would be "the babysitter". Because babysitters play games. Babysitters don't have to worry about the way kids turn out. Babysitters have fun & keep kids safe.
When I picked up Price from school I shared the news with the crew. While daddy was gone I would be their babysitter. The boys decided to call me "Megan", because Megan is my friend who showers them with love...and candy. ;)
As Megan my first move was to get fast food for lunch. After naps we played games. That led to the oldest two boys writing the books "How a Car Works" & "How a Dinosaur Got Born"...which they then illustrated and "published".
The next meal scheduled was pizza (because a babysitter is not concerned with dietary needs). While eating we watched the "Christmas Carol". Day one completed.
The next day started with more Christmas movies (this time "Santa Clause"). While they giggled at Tim Allen antics, I cooked a big breakfast. Unfortunately it took a little longer than I'd planned. They became a little hungrier and grouchier. By the time I presented them with these fun pancakes, they quickly ate them rather than praised them.
(But you think they are cool, right? That feeds my "super mommy" ego.)
While Knox napped that morning we had hot chocolate and cookies...at 9 am. Sure did.
But I usually don't let hot chocolate moments go by without a little Bible lesson. As we picked out mini-marshmallows from our cups, I read the four days we had missed from our Jesse Tree devotions.
One thing I really wanted to do with the boys that Saturday was an idea of first learned about while researching for an article I wrote for the MOB Society blog--> "Better to Give than Receive" (over there today).
Last year, Courtney DeFeo, a mom of two little girls, decided she was fed up with all the expectations and busyness of the holiday season. She didn’t love the message she was sending her daughters about what Christmas was all about. So she decided they would focus on everyone else around them and “light up” a stranger through kindness. She started“Light em up!” (Families Light up the Community with Kindness).
She has a list of 100 different activities to do with your kids. The boys and I sat down at the table and looked through the list. We picked out the couple we wanted to do. I printed off labels and gathered supplies.
Then I made the crazy decision to take all 4 boys to Toys 'R Us...on a saturday...before Christmas. Um, yeah. I'm not a huge fan of the attitudes that emerge when surrounded by shelves and shelves of toys. Suddenly they become "I-want-give-it-to-me-now" monsters. Each time they asked for a toy I said, "add it to your list" (a list I prayed they would never remember).
After an hour of picking out Christmas gifts for nieces and nephews, birthday gifts for friends and ways to spend their own money, my head hurt from all the consumerism. Standing in line to check out I kept reminding Watts not to run out the automatic doors. As I counted the big boys' dollar bills and quarters to pay for their toys, Watts started pushing Knox in the cart out those same automatic doors (grabbed him just in time).
With receipt in hand we made our exit from Toyland, Then I remembered the "Light 'em up" ideas we had prepared for. I reached in my diaper bag and pulled out our kit. Suddenly the boys "give me" attitude changed. They were fighting over who got to tape the money to the gumball machine.
Then Price said, "I want to give a candy cane to the lady we paid our money to." He snatched the cane from my hand and ran towards the cashier. I caught this picture afterward. I love not only the smile on her face, but the looks of those waiting in line. You see how kindness grows? How it surprises people? Because "selfishness" is the norm and giving is surprising.
The same boy who was standing in line in the picture, came out to see what we were doing. He asked, "Why are you giving away money?" I told him, "God gave us the greatest gift when He gave us His Son. So at Christmas we thought we would give gifts."
When we walked to our car at the far end of an over-crowded parking lot, my boys were beaming. Not from the toys they had purchased but from the joy they just witnessed. They had been bit by the giving bug...and they wanted more. "Mommy, can we give him a candy cane? When can we do that again!"
"Remember my name isn't mommy, it's Megan." ;)