Christmas is coming! Parents are paling, but the kids are blooming.
Our almost 3-year-old grandson was here this week. He grabbed our seasonal big coffee table book — the Christmas catalog with page after page of toys in it — and dragged it with both hands over to my chair. He gave me the catalog, then crawled up on my lap, and began to pore over the pages.
First he found the “girl stuff,” but instead of moving quickly on, he pointed out, named, and explained all of his older sisters’ choices.
Finally we got to the good stuff — trucks. His concentration was absolute.
I remembered that a few weeks before his mom had called to tell me he wanted a big dump truck for Christmas. It seemed logical to me.
“You’re in luck,” I told her. “Big dump trucks are easy to find this time of year.”
“No,” she replied, “You don’t understand.”
She explained that she had found her son almost glued to the front window one day, watching a real dump truck operating in the lot across from their house. For several days he ran to the window every time he heard the truck coming and watched in fascination until it left.
Finally, as he watched, his mom asked, “Would you like to have a dump truck?”
“Yes,” was the immediate and positive reply.
“Maybe Santa can bring you one for Christmas.”
“No,” was his answer. Pointing to the huge vehicle across the street, he said, “I want that one!”
Remembering that incident, I asked him if he wanted Santa to bring him a dump truck.
“No,” he said with a quick shake of the head.
“Why not?” I asked in surprise, looking from him to his mom.
“I got one,” he said calmly as he continued to look at the catalog.
Mom and Grandma had a quick conference.
Seems that Mom, Dad, he and his younger brother drove to the store one night. Dad and the boys waited in the van while Mom went in, bought the truck, bagged it in a big heavy, black garbage bag and loaded it into the back of the van.
The grandson said nothing until they got back home. Then he said, “I want my truck.”
“What truck?” they asked.
“The one in the van,” he replied.
With quick creativity, Mom explained that the wheels were broken so Santa would take it, repair it, and return it Christmas Eve.
The boy just smiled.
After this conversation, I found him still poring over the catalog.
“Hey! I said. He looked up at me. “Where is your truck?”
He gave me a knowing smile and answered, “In the van.”
His mom, standing behind me, spoke very softly, “Is not. It’s in the basement.”
I think little kids know all about Santa. They just keep quiet so they don’t spoil Christmas for their parents.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate on Dec. 10, 1997.