Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Detour

Oh the fun of living in the upper midwest.

The worst snowstorm in a decade is moving towards us faster than expected. It's already snowing... we could get up to 20 inches...

And my office phone and cell phone are ringing off the hook with my children calling, crying and pleading. (Well, not the 14-year-old). We aren't going to Cavalier, ND to spend Christmas with the grandparents and the cousins.


It is so hard to disappoint them. I hate it. If Paul and I thought we had a decent chance of driving three hours north on decent roads, we'd do it. But even us hardy, experienced North Dakota drivers have our limits. There is absolutely nothing worse than being caught on the open highway in a white out. Scariest damn thing ever. I have been in that situation once and I didn't think I would make it out alive.

I was a new reporter working in Grand Forks, ND... I was headed home to Brookings, SD, for Christmas - actually. Four hour drive straight south on an interstate. I left after work so it was dusk. And I drove right into a blizzard.  I couldn't see a road, I couldn't see a car, I could barely see the own hood of my car. I had no idea where I was driving or if I was even driving straight. I finally came to a bridge... and pulled over underneath it, praying no one would come barreling at me from behind. Thank God I didn't get stuck out there overnight. And... no cells phones way back then.

But the kids don't understand. All they know is that the trip they have been looking forward to for two months is off.

I literally had one kid on my cell and one on my office phone at the same time...

Oh! Look at this - another one calling me. Again.




So - there you go. We've made the right decision, but I am not looking forward to coming home tonight to three very sad boys...


Update at 7:35 pm...

Seven phone calls to my cell phone later -- I got home to a group of boys who had accepted the fact that we were not going to Cavalier for Christmas. I suggested to Paul that we take them out to eat, since they had been home all day... in hopes of perking them up a bit.

They were all doing pretty well. Zach, of course, didn't have a problem at all with either staying or going... but he's older. Ethan apparently, was off in la la land during all the commotion during the day. At dinner, when it came up again...

Ethan: WHAT! We are not going to Cavalier?!

Everyone looks at him.

Zach: Where have you been?

Ethan: Oooooohhhh... Why??!

Evan: Because it is too snowy out and the driving is bad.

Ethan: Oh.

And that was that for Ethan. My easy going child. Thank God I have one.

During dinner, Evan began asking questions about "Santa's gifts" - which he knows are always a little better than Christmas Eve gifts. Santa gifts are ones that mom and dad would NEVER get.

Evan: Soooo... can you tell me how many gifts we are getting from Santa?

Zayd: Hey! How would she know.

Zayd and I lock eyes for about 20 seconds. He found out last year about Santa and the Easter Bunny. He was angry.

Zayd: Oh. Yeah.

Evan: Are we all getting one big gift or what?

Me: I don't know.

Evan: You know.

Me: I don't know.

Evan: Come on... please?

I keep eating and don't respond.

Evan: Well... can you tell me if I'll like it? Is it big or little?

Paul: Evan. Santa is dealing with a recession. There won't be as many gifts this year.

Evan: A recession?

Me: Yeah. The economy isn't doing well. Lots of people have lost their jobs.

Evan: Yeah, but you and dad still have money. You both have jobs.

Me: Yes... but we are trying to be careful.

Evan: Hmmm... okay.

Me: I think you'll like your Christmas Eve presents better than your Christmas ones...

Evan: Oh. Okay.


Evan: Well... that's okay. It's the thought that counts, right?

Me: Yes.

After we got home.... I went up to our bedroom and Evan came in...

Evan: I feel bad.

Me: Why?

Evan: About the recession. I feel bad that you and dad are spending money on presents when there is a recession. You should be saving your money.

Me: Oh my... Evan. It's fine. We are fine. It's good we are spending money - it helps when people spend money.

Evan: Oh. Well... I still feel bad. I didn't know there was a recession.


He rests his arms on the bed and lingers.

Evan: Uhm... mom?

Me: Yes?

Evan: I was wondering if any of the presents I got are really big. Like something I really want. I mean, not that it matters, I know. I was just wondering.

Me: I don't know.

Evan: And I know it doesn't matter how big it is. I was just wondering if you could give me a hint at one of the presents.

Me: I don't know.

Evan: Come on mom... (he tries a charming smile)... you know. Just a little tiny hint?

Me: I don't know.

Evan: Just one hint. Just one. Like... do I need a pencil to use it? Do I play with it? Do I need to roll a dice?

Me: I don't know.

Evan: Mom. Please.

Me: I don't know.

Evan: (sigh) Okay. I love you. And it doesn't matter how big the gift is... or if I really want it. I know it is the thought that counts.

Me: I know you know.

But... I also know its really cool when you get a great big gift that you really really wanted.

1 comment:

  1. Najla, we're stuck here too. No trip to Bismarck after all. I think I'm more bummed than the kids. We get every other year with my family, and this was the year. My grandma is 95 so our Christmases with her are numbered. We're trying to make a tantalizing-sounding Plan B, but it's a tough sell. It's was somehow heartening to know we're not the only ones. :)