The Gift of Time

Here it is, the week of Christmas, and the only gift I’ve bought is Daniel’s… which I got today… which he picked out.  He’s been playing with it (while still in its packaging) all afternoon, and I’ll stick it in a gift bag once I find the stash of gift bags, squirreled away somewhere in the house.

Why the procrastination?

After the massive Christmas card mail-out a couple of weeks ago, I shifted to “finish the semester” mode, which didn’t actually happen until this past Wednesday.  And what with coming down with a persistent cough that prescription meds don’t seem to alleviate too much (but makes me so wonky that I’m spaced-out tired for most of the day), Christmas shopping has been low on the priority list.

But those are just contributing factors.  The real reason I have done little Christmas shopping has been an edict from my parents during Thanksgiving, which another person has also declared in more colorful terms.

Due to the economy (and everyone doing more belt-tightening these days), gift-giving has officially been relegated to the kids.  And since there are only TWO kids — two-year old Daniel and six-year old Vincent — I’ve been loathe to get something that either of them would likely get from the rest of the family.

Clothes, toys, even video games (for Vincent) — those things I can safely assume will be covered by the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents.  But what I mostly noticed, during the long Thanksgiving weekend, is that what both boys (but especially my nephew) really need is outside playtime.

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I brought both Daniel and my nephew to a playground just a few blocks away from my parents’ house.  For Daniel, this is pretty normal — when the weather is good, I try to have Daniel go to the playground nearby where we live or push him along as he rides his trike.  But for Vincent, who splits his time between his harried mom and stepdad and his equally harried dad and stepmom (usually spending a goodly amount of that time with his often-tired grandparents), most of his play time has been in front of a game console.  Either that, or planted in front of Nickelodeon.

In other words, when I asked Vincent if he had been to the playground before, he answered, “No.”

I’m hoping he just means THAT playground.  But, hearing what his split life is like, I suspect it’s not just that playground.

So I find myself searching for a gift that will allow him time to play, to go outside, to spend time with his family.  After texting his father (i.e., my brother), I’ve narrowed it down to either a season pass to Six Flags, or gift certificates to the Dallas or Fort Worth Zoo.  That’s as close to the “gift of time” that I feel my nephew needs and probably craves (even though he doesn’t have the words for what he’s feeling).

As for the rest of the gifts — I have something in mind for the Hubby, and then the various wonderful women who look after Daniel at his preschool.

I will be busy, shopping, tomorrow!

YAY.

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