Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pre-Christmas Detritus: The Best Present of All

In this day and age of online ordering, the days before Christmas must be a nightmare for garbage collectors and recycling truck workers. The giant cardboard shipping boxes, the long tubes from wrapping paper, the Styrofoam packing peanuts, the bubble wrap, the giant plastic bubbles that come cushioning delicate items, all ending up on the curb waiting to be taken away. All bits and pieces that to adults are merely asides, trash to be discarded. But to a 2-year-old, all that detritus is even more exciting than the toys it’s protecting.

Right now, alongside the usual lineup of trucks in Ryan’s playroom, there is a Ryan-sized cardboard box (okay, after 24 hours of being played with it’s more like a twice-Ryan-sized flat piece of cardboard – but it started out as a giant box), three long cardboard tubes, a box of packing peanuts, a sheet of bubble wrap and a long string of giant packing bubbles. That’s what it looks like to me, anyway. But to Ryan, it’s a combination fort, garage, and spaceship; a trumpet, a telescope, and a baseball bat; a load of stuff to be carried around by front end loaders; some quiet noisemakers; and a whole bunch of really loud noisemakers. I’m sure that when Christmas morning comes, he’ll have a wonderful time playing with all the toys that came packed in this stuff, but for right now, this stuff IS the toys.

In all the hustle and bustle and stress of preparing for Christmas, amidst the shopping and the baking and the list-making and the wrapping and the additional shopping, it’s nice to be able to take a moment to sit back and watch Ryan enjoy the “junk” that’s right under his nose. He’s not all wrapped up in waiting for Christmas, he’s not impatient for what’s coming, he’s just happy in the here and now. And that’s a good reminder to me not to focus on the toys and the presents and the things that happen only on Christmas Day. I need to remember how much I have to enjoy that’s right under my nose, right now.

So I apologize if this entry is a bit shorter than usual, but I’m having a sudden urge to go have a Christmas cookie and a mug of cocoa, lie on my bed with a good book, and watch my beautiful baby girl sleeping peacefully. And after that, I think I’ll go pop some bubble wrap.

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