M went early to do most of the Christmas food shopping for me. I took the Smalls down to the library for fresh books and to the Post Office where a Large Box awaited me. About ten years ago or so the box would have come all the way from New York (I agree, I am thinking positively) but in this case Small Brother had called me about two days before and squeaked down the phone with some urgency, “Is Small Z still into dinosaurs? What’s her favourite dinosaur? What does Small DB like?”
“Yes. Parasaurolophus. Threading beads,” I responded. In my mind I saw him throw on his ‘SuperUncleFromAfar’ cape and tap with feverish fingers onlinetoys.com.aud – how we love us the interweb.
Thus, we collected the box from the Post Office on Christmas Eve. Hastings was abuzz with people all doing their last minute doodads. I bought my dad a mechanical apple peeler and also a cherry pitter (despite the fact he told me he had already invented the latter on his own) and went to the chemist.
We strolled on an got some stationery supplies from the $2 Shop where they were giving away fried chicken wings and spring rolls. Got back to the car, strapped in the Smalls…and then gasped. I no longer had the Large Box. “The chemist! It must be at the chemist!” said Small Z, hoarse with horror at what I had done. “Run mama, RUN!!” I ran.
Got to the chemist and stood there looking like a displaced racehorse, eyes rolling, breathing hard. No box. My mind, in a cool impartial way, began to try and figure out how I could gloss over the loss of the box to Small Brother and pretend all was well, despite having no idea of what it had contained. Then I spied it behind the counter, thanked the staff in an overly effusive manner, and left bleating ‘Merry Christmas’ carrying the Large Box back to the Thankful Smalls.
An afternoon of pleasant chaos – making two salads, creating Christmas cards to give to our neighbours…the Smalls and I had a lovely time, and ate a Christmas Eve dinner. M had returned home again, and in the face of yet another meltdown from Small DB, appeared to lose all Christmas mojo (…something that continued for another day an a half.) I spent the night wrapping furiously but with some enjoyment.