Am thinking of the year dad got up at 5 AM on Christmas morning to help me on my paper route

Dad loved Christmas morning.  He loved showering his kids with gifts and watching us revel in the thrill of Christmas morning. Mom was a saver (i.e. didn’t like to spend money), so we didn’t always get the most expensive gifts as kids when mom/dad were still a young couple trying to pay a mortgage, but dad definitely got an A for effort… 

Every Christmas, dad would make a big show of having us wait outside the living room while he lit the fire, turned on the tree, got the camera ready and so on, then he’d give us the okay and we’d race in.  He was always just as involved with our opening our presents as we were, sitting nearby, feeling as excited about us opening our gifts as we were getting them.  It was like every gift and every Christmas was like The Old Man in A Christmas Story giving his son the air rifle.  Wife M is that way, too – she loves giving gifts more than getting them (and she loves getting them). 

Even as teens and then adults, dad ensured this still happened by upping the ante – buying us electronics, giving us cash, etc. One year, mom was recuperating from surgery so could not keep an eye on dad during Christmas season – that was the most amazing Christmas we ever had as far as gifts go 🙂  Later, when we had kids, the cycle started over again with his grandkids – when we arrive at the house he does everything he can to make it an awesome experience for all of us 🙂  

But in 7th grade I had a paper route,  Which means before we could start our Christmas morning, I’d have to spend an hour or two delivering 100 papers over a 6-block area.  Dad couldn’t wait that long, and didn’t want my sister (in 4th grade) and I to wait that long, so after hosting his inlaws until 1 AM on Christmas Eve he got up at 5 AM that Christmas morning, pulled my sister and I out of bed, and the three of us piled in his van and delivered the papers together so we could have our CHristmas morning at 7 AM.

What a wonderful memory that is.  I feel love when I think of that memory. 🙂

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Am thinking of the year dad got up at 5 AM on Christmas morning to help me on my paper route

I learned to spoil my family from my dad and my grandma

When I was a kid, my grandma loved spoiling her family.  What I mean is, it gave her great pleasure to do the little things: make us wait in bed so she could warm up the house for us, wash our clothes for us, stop by with a little gift, make us dinner…  She always loved doing that, and I always remember her doing that, and now that I am older and have autoimmune disease I am amazed that she could do that while battling Type I diabetes, which killed her (via stroke) at age 69.

My dad was like my grandma.  My sister and I would often go to our rooms at night to find that our dad had turned down our bed, or he’d quietly slip us 20 bucks for a pizza, or he’d wash our car for us while we were sleeping. Little, forgettable things that expressed love.

When wife M and I were first married, and then when the kids were kids, I did a lot of those same things, I think.  I’d light candles for M, put her PJs in the drier so they were toasty when she put them on, put a little extra treat in the kids’ lunch box, etc.  Little things I don’t remember.  Everyone does thos things I think, but I also am pretty certain that I did it more often than the average person.  (Wife M does, too, which is probably another reason why we click so well, since we’re always spoiling each other 🙂 ).

But those things have evaporated since my illness in 2012. (I remember when M’s friend first commented  to M about it in 2012, how there was a time when you didn’t have to worry about anything when I was in the room and now it was not like that at all, how it was like I was barely present. I remember how hurt at the time I was by that comment since I was in the throes of lung disease and prednisone at the time – but in retrospect, what she said is true, I am not the spoiler that I once was, and no longer can take pleasure from serving/spoiling people). 

I miss doing those things for my family.  And love those momentary bursts like last night where I was able to do that for my family.  And really truly can’t believe my grandma was still able to spoil her famil when she was sooo sick with diabetes – I feel amazed and humbled by that.   

I learned to spoil my family from my dad and my grandma