The day after Christmas is almost as tiring as the big day. Only on this day, you have to find space for all your spoils.
I was doing this with my son when I asked, What was your favorite thing about Christmas this year?
The snowflakes, he answered.
This surprised me. I figured certainly it would be the game chairs Santa brought him or the many pairs of Nike Elite socks he received socks Ive seen grown women fighting over at the sporting goods store.
Instead, his most memorable moment came hours after hed opened the majority of his gifts, at what Ive come to call our big fat loud family Christmas for my side of the family. There are 17 of us, and everyone yells above each other to be heard. My husband marvels at the ringing in his ears when we finally leave.
After dinner, my niece sat us down to make snowflakes for the kids from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. She had heard about The Snowflake Project, which is collecting beautifully decorated snowflakes to welcome the kids and teachers back to a new school. Its unclear whether Sandy Hook will ever reopen.
We older adults balked a little. It was getting late, we were full, and we hadnt even done the gift swap. Plus, this was already the third or fourth Christmas celebration for many of us.
But my 21-year-old niece insisted, and my four other high school- and college-age nieces joined her, along with my 9-year-old son.
I had forgotten how to make a snowflake out of plain white paper, but the young women reminded us, the art a not-so-distant memory. Before long, we were fighting over the scissors and doing our best to outdo one another in snowflake-making. Some of our snowflakes were round, others square, and a few even had the middles cut clean away somehow.
We decided to write our names on the flakes along with our town and state and short messages. It got quiet.
My heart sang a little when I saw the simple message my son wrote with no coaching: God bless you.
What does that mean? Maybe the prayers we say at night are making more of an impact than I thought?
I always think about the things Im not doing with him, worrying that Im failing him in ways yet to be determined. Im irritable. We dont read enough. Time is passing too fast. I should do more. And on and on and on.
But if he can send a message of God bless you by himself, hes already providing a little humanity here on earth, a place thats filled with inhumanity.
Thats something. There will always be room for improvement, but maybe Im doing all right.