Early in December, Sean brought home a flyer from school announcing the annual Holiday Shop! I put the exclamation point there so you might know just how thrilled I was with this news.
The flyer reported which classes would visit the Holiday Shop on which days and at what time. The flyer also stated with vehemence (probably inferred on my part) that there would be NO preview this year and that the vendor was the same as last year and that it was NOT a school fundraiser. It was totally for-profit crunk selling.
As it turns out, we were not at the school last year, so that information, vehement or otherwise, was not useful to me.
What information I did require was the following: What in the heck is a Holiday Shop? What kind of holiday crunk is stocked in Ye Olde Holiday Shoppe, and most importantly how much does this crunk cost? Oh, and hey, what about the kiddos who have no Holiday Shop spending money? And then the question I always have when it comes to these kinds of extra-curricular events: Can’t we just do math or phonics instead?
So as usual when faced with a conundrum, I called my friend Jennifer who knows stuff. She gave me the low-down on the Holiday Shop and a suggested a budget of about $5 to $10.
When I talked to Sean later, I asked him about how much he thought he needed for this shopping spree. He said about $30. So I said, how about $5? He said how about $10? I said how about I give you $5 and you take $5 out of your bank. He said, “Deal!” and we shook on it and signed the papers.
Then we had a little chat about how this was Christmas, not Seanmas, and that the purpose of the Holiday Shop was so that he might buy presents for others, and by others I meant People Who Are Not Sean. Then we had a discussion about fractions and percentages as we negotiated about how much he could spend on himself.
The next day I sent him off to school with his $5 and my $5 expecting the same winning results you might get in Las Vegas. When he came home from school I asked to see his purchases. With much pride he showed me the Cowboys pennant he bought for his father and the camouflage-motif pencil he bought for Papa George. And then he showed me the dog-tag style necklace with a soccer pendant he bought for himself.
“Did you get anything else?” I asked coyly, “Anything for anyone else?”
“Nope,” he said definitively and handed me the $7.25 he did not spend.
I chuckled to myself as I turned his backpack inside out looking for the other gifts. Surely there were other gifts, surely. But no….
We wrapped the pennant and the pencil and put them under the tree and I thought no more of it because I knew my broken and wounded heart would someday mend.
On Christmas Eve I unwrapped the gifts from my big boyfriend and my little boyfriend — an ornament from Target which I had purchased myself and handed off to big boyfriend for wrapping, and a pair of much-needed slippers which I requested. No surprises there but much delight all the same.
“Oh, one more thing Mom!” Sean said as he dove under the tree. He returned with a tiny package, merrily wrapped with a ribbon and secured with a lot of tape. He handed it to me, glowing, as though it were a jewel he had just plucked from its slumber in the earth.
I couldn’t imagine what it could be but suspected it was something that he had made at school, something with glitter and glue and probably macaroni.
Inside was a pretty little ring with a blue stone that he had purchased at the Holiday Shop.
“Are you surprised Mom? Are you? You thought I forgot you, didn’t you!” he laughed.
“It cost a dollar!” he enthused, then quickly added, “I’m sorry it’s not a real diamond.”
“I love it,” I said with all honestly.
I slipped it on my finger, adjusted the band for a custom-fit and then held out my hand to admire it.
It was a complete surprise.
It was beautiful.
It pinched my finger.
And my heart.