Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas candor

First a few fun shots, and then a seasonal anecdote.

Someone was hoping Santa would bring
an iPad for Christmas...
Does it appear to have happened?!?  :-) 

Here's the dog in a state of abject misery because
Cayley is paying attention to something other than her. 
Does that furry face not say it all??
(Click the photo for a close-up of her tragic eyes)

Of course, Cayley insisted on wrapping a gift for her...
and she's perfectly capable of unwrapping it herself.

Yet another toy waranted to be indestructable...
and we're betting it won't last a week. 
Incidentally, this is the only dog I've ever seen who
uses her paws like hands to the extent that she does.

And of course we had to add an ornament to our memory tree
to mark the year that Nyx came. 
I even attempted to brindle it with a fine-point Sharpie.

I'm not a big fan of posed shots,
but it's our first year in this house, so...
OK, now for the anecdote:
to tea, or not to tea - that is the question.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to work even harder on communicating to Cayley that I really do think that she's already perfect.  She is obsessed with pleasing me despite my daily reiteration that she effectively has no room for improvement. 

I keep reality-checking myself, trying to figure out what subconscious message I might be transmitting to the contrary, because she acts as if I'm not walking the walk.  Sure, I let her know about the little mistakes that she makes (like leaving her dirty socks on the couch and not picking up the dog poop from the back yard), and she still has lots to learn as she grows up, but that stuff does not make her imperfect - it just means that she's young!

Case in point on the urge-to-please-Mama issue: the annual hairball surrounding holiday gift-giving.  I apparently make things difficult by being honest about the fact that there is no gift I could possibly receive that could hold a candle to the gifts life has already provided to me in the form of Cayley, Lawrence, our good health and incredible life prosperity.  I want for nothing, need nothing. 

But my proclamations of existing satisfaction are apparently unconvincing, because she wants to "wow" me with gifts.  This year, she found a unique way to do it.  Every Christmas, Grandaddy Canada sends a nice-sized money order so that we can all avoid bad experiences with international air mail (to send actual gifts is a risky proposition).  We buy ourselves gifts with these.  Well, this year, both Lawrence and I decided that we wanted to give our shares to Cayley.  But Cayley promptly turned around and devoted ALL those funds to an authentic cast-iron traditional Japanese tea set for me:

I could have lived my entire life without this and been perfectly happy, but I DID want to start drinking green tea more rigorously, for the health benefits (transhumanist Ray Kurzweil legendarily drinks ten cups per day). 
Now here's where it gets a bit curious, because right after opening this extraordinary gift from Cayley, Lawrence and I opened this one from Uncle Suresh and his family:
Quantum enmeshment's got NUTHIN' on this stuff.
Do you hear the Twilight Zone theme in your head??
It's true that I DID need a tea pot of some sort for my burgeoning green tea habit - I have not owned a tea pot of any kind in more than twenty years.  And ordinarily it might be less than ideal to receive two of them within a span of five minutes, but in OUR case, it's actually quite helpful, because Cayley has decided that she does not like Japanese imperial green tea.  She thinks it smells like lawn clippings (many connoisseurs would bust a gut laughing over that comparison, given that it costs about $160 per pound!).  Therefore, when I brew tea for us, I need to make two small pots:  one green, and another of a flavor that she does like.

Compound moral of the anecdote:  Money is a much better gift than popular opinion makes it out to be.  It's not cold and thoughtless - it actually facilitates the maximum potential for expression and creativity. 

I actually perceived that for the first time last year, when I gave twenty dollar bills to each of Cayley's closest friends and then turned them all loose in the shopping mall so that they could indulge themselves.  One of the girls squeezed her twenty until it screamed, managing to buy little gifts for every one of her many siblings and absolutely nothing for herself.  I was absolutely floored to see that depth of selflessness and caring in an eleven-year-old, and I'm so glad that I gave her cash instead of buying her some Cheap Shit From China.  Cash is what fulfilled her because she didn't have any of it and it allowed her to treat her sisters in a way that she would not otherwise have been able to do. 

Similarly, I've witnessed something profound in Cayley's use of her cash, and it's something I obviously needed to learn.  I don't think I deserve that expensive tea set, but maybe if I scarf enough green tea, I'll live long enough to make good on what I owe to the beautiful Cayley but perhaps have not been totally providing thus far. 

Happy holidays to all.

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