The other night after a long day of he said, she said, don’t touch me, and leave me alone along with all the other phrases (both appropriate and inappropriate) reverberating through an active family household. I found myself stressed beyond belief. My chest hurt, the lungs yearned for air, a mildly cold sweat lay across my brow and my stomach hurt. The only thing I could ponder was how much longer until they all were grown.
Of course I have no room to complain because there are the 48 hours straight I am at work, holed up in my firehouse the last bastion of supposed sanity from the trials and tribulations of being a full-time parent! My poor wife does not enjoy such luxury. But then again aren’t all us firefighters really just kids with badges and super cool toys we use to help the public? Anyways that night had taken quite the toll on both my wife and I. All we could think about was the peace and quiet that came with bedtime. Then something wonderful happened that brought me back to reality.
We baked cookies…
Yep that’s right its Christmas time and nothing says “I care about you” more than fresh-baked cookies! It really is the best Christmas present ever! I would personally take 20 tins of delicious cookies from loved ones over someone spending money on something they hope I will like! Cookies, chocolate, brownies, mince pies they all say “hey buddy its Christmas and I was baked just for you” enjoy! But these cookies, oh these cookies are super special! Every year we bake these little doughy droplets of gold and place them in specially purchased Christmas tins then set out across town “ to snowball”.
Definition: To Snowball; During Christmas time only, place a tin of cookies with an anonymous uplifting note on the front porch of an unsuspecting family. Ring doorbell, knock loudly on door and run!!!
Snowball has become a very special part of our Christmas traditions! The children look forward to it every year almost as much as Christmas morning itself! Snowball is treated like a covert mission, complete with blacked out car, dark clothing and squealing tires. Giggling is inevitable as mishaps are also a part of the fun. Falling over hedges, tripping before reaching the car, only to be grabbed by an older brother and pulled in as the car rips away from the scene! No man left behind is our motto! On one occasion one of the boys had to hide under a hedge just feet from the front door as it was opened by the homeowner before a full retreat was completed! It’s just plain, good old-fashioned Christmas fun! We hand out yummy goodies; hopefully make someone’s night with no expectation of reciprocation. Then hope it leaves a snowball effect on its recipients, passing good cheer forward for the holidays. This is the way we enjoy observing Christmas, it truly feels better to give than receive!!
As we are preparing for our night of Christmas ninja stealth, the children all do something unheard of lately. They begin to get along, working together as one to complete this monumental task. My wife and I step back out of the kitchen and even though the urge to take over and correct small mistakes is astronomical we don’t. She moves into the family room to watch TV, and I hover around the front room tending the fire and staring in awe. My oldest works like a baker, carefully tossing out flour, and rolling the dough out to perfection while the others take turns cutting out cookies made of angels, snowmen, stars and mistletoe. The middle boy handles placing them carefully on cookie sheets and transfers them back and forth from the oven only asking that I place them inside while removing the cooked ones. It was seriously the happiest, stress less, most magical moment I’ve had around our children in a while. It truly made our night. My wife iced them with green and white frosting then placed them carefully into round Christmas covered containers. She wrote another fantastic letter and we all called it a night with smiles upon our egg-nog covered faces.
One simple act of doing for others as a family can erase hours of selfish bickering. I am often reminded of a very simple saying; you only have one childhood with your children. Enjoy it!
When things get stressful, bake some cookies together and let them be children. All will look better in the end and your stress will subside. I promise…..