Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Christmas Hippo

Every year the “Holiday Shop” comes to our daughter’s school. Each year I give them $5.00 each to spend on their family. Since I am the money giver and I always challenge them to get something for each other and for their Dad and then to come home and give me a hug and that will be my Christmas gift.

This year they each came home with their crinkled bagged treasures securely in hands. They could not wait to show me what they had purchased. Special gifts for each other, a #1 Dad paperweight from Seanna to her Dad, and Emma purchased him a plastic octopus filled with blue bath gel.

They then went scampering into the office giggling and whispering all of the way. They each came out with tiny bags and huge smiles. Mom- we know that you told us not to get you anything but we couldn’t help it. Here these are for you. I excitedly opened up my package first from Seanna- after hearing her insisting that she WAS the oldest. It was a silk rose with a sad tiny teddy bear on it. She grabbed it out of my hands and tore off the sad teddy bear. Here Mom- you are my rose she said- and gave me a quick hug. Emma’s bag was next.

Emma was so excited at this point she was shaking. She said Mom – you are not going to believe how awesome this is. I quickly ripped open the bag to find a ceramic hippo in a purple dress covered with orange polka dots. She was holding a coordinating yellow collapsed umbrella. Wow Emma- a hippo- thanks so much. I could tell that she was reading my face and was looking at every crease and wrinkle to see if she could see any traces of dismay. I quickly gave her a hug and told her that I loved it.

She sat there for a while to see if I would continue to hold it or set it down. I finally did set it down to go and finish up some work. She picked it up, and followed me into the office and put it right on my desk. She said Mom- when I was a little girl you told me that you liked hippos, you said that they seemed clumsy to other people but they were ballerinas when they were in the water- when they were in there perfect place. She then went on to tell me that I might look clumsy to other people but that I am a ballerina to her. My brain was trying to wrap around the fact that she had given me the fattest animal on the planet as a token of love and then called me clumsy. I gave her a huge hug and said- Emma- it’s perfect I love it. Thanks for making my whole day. She was all smiles as she ran out of the room.

It might be one of the most unusual gifts I have ever received. But you know what? It will never be put in the garage sale box. It was given to me from the heart of my seven year old imaginative ballerina. Who can look at anyone and see the best in them.

All of this is coming from the 7 year old- now 40 year old mother who gave her Mother a shell glued to a piece of coral when she was 7 and in the second grade. Tears came to my eyes at Thanksgiving as I was looking for some dishes and discovered my 33 year old gift to my Mother sitting proudly by the coffee cups. I can’t wait for the day when my 40 year old Emma will be looking in my cupboard and find the chubby hippo with the yellow umbrella. Truly a gift from the heart is the best gift ever- Christmas hippos are now my favorites!


Kathy McElhaney said...

One of my favorite Christmas songs from my childhood was, "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas!" If Emma hasn't heard it, she needs to!

I can see me now on Christmas morning,
creeping down the stairs
Oh what joy and what surprise
when I open up my eyes
to see a hippo hero standing there!!

Cylinda Nickel said...

Kathy- I Did not know that- that is so cute.... I will have to look that up!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Kathy McElhaney said...

I think it's a perfect song for your seven-year-old. The original (from the 60s) is by Gayla Peevey, you can check it out on iTunes!
Have a fabulous Christmas - I look forward to more of your posts in 2009!

Paula said...

Oh my goodness, I laughed so hard reading this. Sitting here in the dentist office...I know people think I'm crazy. Ha!

As a mother, I know what you mean EXACTLY! Those bittersweet compliments that our kids can give...and yet, like you said, knowing the love and sincerity in which they are given in make them SUPER special!

Love you, girl!