For those of you with older children I am sure what I am about to describe is nothing new. My two and a half year old has gotten his first full “year” of holidays and seasonal events starting with Halloween and now ending with Christmas. I feel that this may be the first and last year in which he is taken up by the excitement and the novelty as opposed to the gifts and the superficiality that is more obvious to older children and adults. I’m not here to say “Bah, Humbug!” I am really just grateful to see the true innocence of my son’s holiday cheer.
At Halloween he ran up and down the hallways in our building giving out the candy he had just received at one door to the next. He just wanted to shout “Happy Halloween!” and felt that this could only be done with a transaction made up of lollipops and chocolate bars. It was one of the few times that I have seen him only mildly interested in sweets. To him it was just a bunch of kids dressed in funny costumes running around playing a game.
Then it was a couple of Birthday parties at which he was the first to stand next to the cake with candles to sing Happy Birthday (actually Happy Bird-Day) and clap with glee when the candles were finally blown out. He would jump up and down and say “Again! Candles! Again!”
Thanksgiving resembled Halloween with its squashes and pumpkins and Autumn colors. He reverted to his tried and true “Happy Halloween!” to anyone who would give him the slightest bit of attention. His smile was contagious and many startled strangers found themselves saying “Happy Halloween!” back with an amused look on their face.
An early-ish Hanukkah brought a typical New York moment to our lobby with my son singing “Happy Birthday!” to one of our very confused doormen who did not realize that he was sitting behind a menorah and its flickering candles. My son waited patiently after having finished singing for the doorman to blow out his candles so my son could clap. I tried to explain, but my son would have none of it and sang “Happy Birthday!” again with much more gusto hoping to spur the doorman into fulfilling what was the only and obvious thing to do when confronted with lit candles.
Finally the Christmas tree was up with all its lights and wooden baubles (to avoid the inevitable) which he fondly stares at for hours laughing each time the lights twinkle. Then there was the first close up encounter with a jolly (Santa is never fat) old man with a beard who asked my son what he wanted for Christmas and my son answered matter-of-factly “Christmas!” by which he meant the tree (I think). This was followed closely by the discovery of Frosty the Snowman and the many random acts of spontaneous singing that this jolly, happy soul evokes. He gets a twinkle in his eye and looks at us while saying “Mommy? Daddy? Frosty!” and that is our cue to start singing (the parts we know) and humming (the parts we don’t) and even dancing. He skips around and claps shouting “Again Frosty! Again! Thumpety Thump Thump!”
Not once does he worry about the toys and sweets that are on all of our minds this time of year. He even forgets his own possessive relationship with the material things (Mine! Mine!) that he has already mastered at such a young age. His holiday spirit is truly enviable and I fear that it is but a fleeting moment. As I smile fondly at all of these episodes, the cynic in me cringes at the thought that next year he, like the rest of us, will be more concerned about what’s under the tree than the tree itself. I will record every last moment of this 2010 season in hopes that it will not be the last one filled with unadulterated laughter and singing.
Happy Holidays to all and see you in the New Year!