Popper

As a mom, I can't seem stop myself from imagining what may or may not happen to my children in the future. I see them as adults, with families, careers, and eventually their own children.  I know I can't predict the future, but if I play a quick round of "guess the future for giggles" then this is one thing for sure is going to happen:

One day my daughter will have a family of her own and during some distant Christmas many years from now, her older brother, my son; will come for a visit and bring a present.  This present will be for her child, my grandchild.  And that one gift will be a popper.

The year was 2006.  My son was 4 and my daughter was 3.  Christmas morning was an exciting time in our home because the children were filled with delight and wonder to see what Santa would bring.  They were old enough to remember and buzz with the full affects of anticipation.    In my heart it was going to be a magical Christmas.

Everything was prepared.  I snapped pictures of them curled in Daddy's lap while he read *T'was The Night before Christmas* and *The Christmas Story.*   We tucked our sleepy children in bed in their new Christmas pajamas and couldn't wait until the next morning.  A breakfast casserole was prepared and chilling in the refrigerator, the Pyrex dish for the cinnamon rolls was set out on the stove with a can of Pam beside it.  A couple of white garbage bags were tucked into my red chair anticipating the piles of wrapping paper, plastic wrap, damaged boxes and ruined bows.   Our cameras had new batteries, the video camera was charged and we were ready to capture our own piece of Christmas magic.

The next morning arrived and was as exciting as I imagined it was going to be.  The sleepiness wore off of the children as they made careful steps down the stairs leading to the main floor den.  I wanted to remember their messy hair, the creases in their cheeks from sleeping on one side and their sweet, little knuckles rubbing their eyes.   They eyed each others gifts wrapped in their own color and design paper and plopped down in front of their pile and grabbed their name embroidered stockings.  They were still learning the art of taking turns unwrapping presents and curious to see what the other received but they were doing rather well.

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Everything was going smoothly until my daughter opened one of her gifts.  It was probably the most unusually wrapped gift and it sounded like it had loose pebbles in it when she picked it up. She began picking at the wrapping paper and peeled back enough to see a long, blue handle.  She ripped it a little further and uncovered a clear shaped globe connected to the handle.  Inside the globe were brightly colored balls and the whole thing rested on two wheels.  Her forehead crinkled as her three year old brain tried to understand this new toy.  She stood up and held the end of the handle and moved it slowly in front of her like she was using a vacuum.  Nothing happened at first then, one single ball inside the globe hit the inner workings just right and it popped against the inside of the globe.  Her eyes were wide awake with this discovery and she moved the toy back and forth quickly so all the balls would pop!  She smiled and giggled and loved her new toy from Santa.  My husband was recording this and I knew it would be a treasure that we would play on her graduation video or something equally as reminiscent.  My son had been observing this new experience with what appeared to be idle curiosity but we soon learned wasn't.  It was the nasty, green-eyed monster who had been watching his little sister and her new, noisy toy.  The popping noise was the crescendo to our son jumping to his feet, walking over to his sister, shoving her against her chest and knocking her over, taking the popper from her hands and marching off to his own popping sound across the den and down the hall.  Stunned and still videoing, my voice is heard saying his name in the only unique, disappointed way a mother can sound when she's really saddened by what happened.  My daughter, momentarily shocked by what occurred is seen standing up and as her tears begin to fall, her hands reach out and her voice cries, "Buh-baaaaah"  which was her way of saying brother.  In that moment, my heart tore and I cried with her.  I scooped her up and her dad turned off the video camera.  He called after our son to get back in here with his sister's toy and from that point on for the rest of the day and for several weeks after, the popper was a problem.  It created friction between the brother and sister.

Years later we were cleaning and organizing and we discovered this old video.  All of us thought how funny it would be to watch some videos of the children through the years.  And we did laugh quite a bit, but when we got to that one video of that one Christmas that our daughter was given a popper, we watched in stillness.  After laughing and carrying on about how adorable each of them were - our whole mood changed - all four of us when we watched it.  It was there on video, proof of the existence of raw jealously and it was ugly.  When we watched it, my son got up and left and shouted, "Just turn it off. Those videos are stupid."  It bothers him even today, and it's been almost 10 years since it happened.

So that's why I think that one day, when my little girl has a little girl, her uncle will bring her a popper.

Christmas Memory:

*The Christmas that Santa brought a popper for my daughter."