Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Day For Daddy And Daughter

Kristy takes on the burden of Christmas shopping in our house, I'll own up to that. I just don't have the patience or imagination anymore for full-scale shopping. However, every holiday season I need just a taste of the craziness, a glimpse of the crush of shoppers to see if it's the madness or the cheer that prevails. Today seemed the perfect day for just that, so I gathered up S and we ran a few errands before heading to the bookstore for coffee and hot chocolate, browsing and people watching.

S, at home, is loud and rambunctious and can be trouble. Today, though, I couldn't draw her out for anything. We got our drinks and sat in the cafe, the perfect daddy/daughter date, and I asked her about Christmas and what she thought Santa would bring her, whether her brothers should be on the naughty or nice list, and whether she is excited about our upcoming trip to the beach, but I couldn't get much of an answer on anything. A lot of shrugging and mono-syllabic answers but, so far, none of the eye rolling or whatevers that I know adolescence will bring, if I can even get her to sit with me in public in eight years.

From time to time I like to do something with each kid one on one, hang out, talk with them to find out what they're thinking, about their hopes and dreams and plans, find out which parent they like better. With C it's no problem, he'll talk until you implore him not to anymore and then he'll just question you about anything and everything. S and JP really don't have much to say, and if I take them out they'll simply request this or that be bought for them and then ignore me while they ignore whatever treat I just bought them. GK, if you sit with her for more than two minutes, will just bury her nose in a New York Times crossword, occasionally sipping from her Americano.

The shopping frenzy S and I witnessed this afternoon wasn't bad at all. Of course, I wasn't panicking for gifts, simply browsing leisurely. People were friendly, they were mostly smiling and saying hello to S, and there was Christmas music playing everywhere. It was just what I needed. I needed to mainline some holiday cheer and I got just that, even if I didn't have anyone to talk with about it.