Confession: Many times I feel that our little Beckett family can be quite negative. We easily lose sight of our many blessings. We find ourselves nagging, whining, yelling, and speaking in harsh tones to one another…often. It is not just that we are a certain personality set (sarcastic and/or inexpressive), but that we fall into a rut of taking one another for granted and easily staying stuck in barking mode (only Harper should be doing this and she is the most quiet of us all).
Just before Christmas, I had a moment of inspiration and decided to force our family to give gifts to one another this year. Usually, Santa is the only giver of gifts under the tree and in stockings with an occasional cute craft from school for us. On the afternoon of my freak inspiration, the boys and I sat at the dining room table with notebook paper and pens in hand and wrote letters. We each wrote one to every other member of our family. They had to be free of negativity. They could be things we appreciated about one another or were grateful for in that person. True to form, Ethan was less than enthusiastic about my idea. So much so that he begged me to LET him do workbooks instead. Nope. If anything, the more resistance to the exercise made me think the more that person needed to do it. Ethan really, REALLY needed to do it.
We quietly wrote, folded up our letters, and dropped them in the proper stockings. When Mike came home from work that day, he dutifully did the same.
Last night we arrived back from our holiday travels. The boys were eager to open their gifts but wanted to read the letters first. We all sat with our stockings and read our 3 letters. Some were short, some were long, but all were filled with love. Connor’s letter to me made me laugh when he ended it with, “Even when your [sic] mean, I still love you.” Ethan wanted me to read Connor’s letter to him that described his big brother as having a loving, kind, and cool heart. Ethan’s smile was so big that it covered all the unspoken feelings contained in his simple “good” when I asked him how that made him feel. Maybe it didn’t make him (LOUDLY) squeal in delight like the box of Pokemon cards Santa gave him, but I’d like to think that all those words sunk into a foundation of security upon which we can keep building. Because from here on out, this is our new Christmas tradition.
Chances are that the Beckett’s coming year will still have its fair share of negativity. Change is hard to come by and we are creatures of habit. However, I would like to think that these past 24 hours have already been profoundly affected. I would like to think that such priceless gifts in our stockings each year will continue to combat that negativity with greater success. I would like to think that the boys will grow to learn that the greatest gifts are not those that can be bought and wrapped but those that are simple and meaningful. After all, Christmas is more about Gifts we cannot put a price tag on than those we can.