On Sunday, LCB inadvertently committed me to another project. The small people were lamenting the fact that the holidays were almost over, so LCB proceeded to list a series of positives to look forward to in the coming week (leftover candy, new Wii games to play when we got home, etc.) that ended with the words, “And we’ll celebrate Epiphany.”
To be fair, LCB knows that I come from a family that tried to make the Christmas season as large and as lengthy as possible. So, to close out the season, we celebrated Epiphany (January 6, the holiday celebrating the Wise Men following the star to find the Christ child to present gifts to him) every year with a reading of the story of the Wise Men and a small gift afterward. All I remember is that, for me, the gift segment usually involved a bottle of nail polish, which I guess was the poor man’s version of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Fortunately, LCB didn’t go into detail with his comment, and my initial response of “Huh?” probably led the small people to the land of lowered expectations. Later, he confessed that he thought I had a stocking stuffer gift for each of the kids stashed in our closet. I’m not sure how we got our wires crossed so completely on this one, but unless the small people suddenly decided to consider men’s and women’s apparel as gifts, we were out of luck there.
I’ve spent the past few days, then, trying to figure out how, in fact, to observe Epiphany so that LCB can deliver on his promise. I really wanted to emphasize giving as much as receiving, and while deliberating over this, I found a pamphlet we received in the mail from Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian world relief organization out of North Carolina. In it, you can donate anything from baby chicks and dairy goats to a school building for impoverished children. It’s cool stuff. Before Christmas each year, we do something similar through a different organization, giving each of our children a dollar amount to spend toward the items of their choice. It’s an excellent way to increase children’s understanding of the needs in our world and to make “tangible” the difference their giving can make in the lives of others. I decided, therefore, to try the same idea, just with a new organization, for Epiphany. Tonight, then, in preparation for tomorrow, the small people selected various blankets, mosquito nets, books, and baby food to donate.
The idea of presents for themselves never came up once. Wonders never cease.
But there will, however, be a present.
This morning, with LCB in tow, I set about the task of finding a gift for the small people. Initially, I grabbed items from the dollar bins in the front of Target, but it kept rubbing me wrong, knowing that the items would likely end up sitting in the bottom of a toy box by next week, merely slight variations of things they already have. Then, I found something a little more costly than the dollar toys I originally conceived of giving, but something that I think we all will actually use.
I learned something invaluable today too. If you are trying to convince your LCB to spend more than the initial budgeted amount on something for your small people, entice him with something he wouldn’t mind for himself. With stunning expedience, my budget went from $3.00 ($1.00 per child) to almost $30.00 in total.
Mama knows how to raise the necessary funds.
Tomorrow morning, when the small people come into the kitchen for breakfast, they’ll be greeted with their present sitting on the table.
And after they go to school, the present will likely find its way to LCB’s office.