Monday, December 27, 2010

The Quiet After the Storm

The house almost seems spooky quiet when the last of the families leave after a holiday season. Gerald took off soon after the Archibald family and Gerry and Vickie and Geri Ann left to stop by a few minutes at Gma Shirley’s on down the road to say goodbye before they all drive on to Georgia.

Brian is on vacation this week, so after celebrating with his family up north, the Archibalds left Aurora early Sunday morning and arrived at noon in the village of Cambria at Erin’s new rented place for her first holiday hosting. Gerald and I were invited over, but it was good for their family to have some together time with less competition to hold those three little boys.
So Sam, Gerald, and I had lunch together here at Woodsong after church before Sam and I headed back to his house for my Sunday afternoon visit with Katherine. I hope Gerald got a nap in after we left, because later in the afternoon the Glasco-Archibald group came back for more sledding on one of the hillsides here. On Christmas Day after our afternoon dinner, everyone had done the same--except for Erin, Katherine, and I. We preferred to watch the snow falling outside the window while we visited. The sledders could imagine how much fun those little guys were going to have sledding when they arrived, and the photographs proved them correct.

Aidan and Maddux both throw themselves into any activity with laughing gusto, and Maddux was delighted to have a new ride to add to all the “tractor” rides that Gpa Gerald provides. It was amazing how much Maddux’s vocabulary had grown since he was here at Thanksgiving. Maybe having that second birthday did it for him. Baby Payton was crawling on all fours since the last visit rather than “swimming” as he did before. He isn’t talking yet at nine months, but he jabbers happily and smiles most of the time. I think he is understanding most of what is being said to him.

The Archibalds didn’t open our presents until this morning, and it was satisfying to see how much Aidan and Maddux liked the inexpensive tiny shiny little lock boxes and little lamps we gave them. I remember writing in a journal a couple decades ago how much their mother Tara appreciated gifts and never grew blasé despite our concern that she may have had too many toys, just as most kids do since the Great Depression ended.

With so many living grandparents—something many of us never had—it seems almost impossible to keep toys held down to a reasonable amount. But I notice modern parents are good to pass on outgrown toys these days. My own dolls and toys and my children’s toys were scarce enough that they were usually too worn out to pass on.

When I used to visit parents in housing projects, I always saw plenty of toys inside and out of the homes. I know there are plenty of American children who may not get many toys for Christmas; but with the help of angel trees and the work of various groups that collect toys. it is usually possible for diligent parents (if not too sick to ask for toys for their children) to provide some presents under their trees. And toys need not be expensive for children to learn from them and have fun with them. The play with the boxes the toys come in always proves that. The bath toys at our house are all collected plastic odds and ends, and I have been pleasantly surprised at how much the kids enjoy them.

Gerald was heading to get his truck serviced since the manager said it was a slow day at the shop, and then he was going to explore Calico Country for materials. He spent a lot of thought and energy before Christmas trying to figure out how to alleviate some of the pain-causing footrest problems that Katherine’s chair has. His research and development efforts did pay off on the footrest itself, but the pad behind her legs did not work out. So he is determined to keep trying to solve this.

Erin gave me two new books for Christmas, so while the house is quiet, I think I will go enjoy.

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