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10:15 a.m. - 2011-12-29
I Got What I Wanted.

It was a perfect Christmas. The days before and since haven't been so great, but Christmas was perfect. Mick gave me some wonderful goodies and our gifts to him weren't too shabby either, but Wolf's gift? Rocked his world. And isn't that what every parent wants to do at Christmas? Give their kids something amazing and magic and totally unexpected?

It went down like this:

On Christmas morning we opened stockings and had a good giggle. Mick and Wolf got kazoos and I got a slide whistle and we tried a little harmony. Our stocking stuffers tend to be on the silly side, though the astounding assortment of Olay products Mick had tucked into my stocking was awesome! So after kazoos, whoopie cushions and other goofiness it was time for the big presents.

I handed Wolf a small rectangular package. He tore into it pleased as punch thinking it was the Wii games he'd asked for. But when the paper came off he saw it was a bundle of Playstation3 games. Without missing a beat he said thanks and he looked forward to playing them next time he went up to Alex's. Feigning innocence I said, "Oh? Those don't work on your Wii?" Wolf shook his head and started to tell me it was fine anyhow, trying to spare his poor clueless mother's feelings, you see. I nodded and pulled out a big box which had been hidden in the dining room. "Well, maybe the games will work on THIS!"

His jaw hit the floor. "What??? No way!!!" Wolf lept across the room and tore at the wrapping paper. He was stuttering and exclaiming and grinning from ear to ear. Yup, Santa Mom and her elf Mick had gotten their boy a Playstation3. Wolf got the box out of the wrappings and saw right away it was the fancy-schmancy PS3 with the larger memory and came with some zippity-doo-dah controler and was bundled with a cool game (it was the third in the series, the other games in the first package were the first two and 'Tomb Raider'). The 'WOW' factor of this present was off the charts. Wolf was as bonked out and flabbergasted as I'd hoped.

But what I keep thinking about was his reaction to what he'd assumed were the 'wrong' games. No pouting, no anger, no demanding they be returned on the instant. Just a sweet thank you and an honest attempt not to disappoint me or hurt my feelings. This was my best present. Ever. I think about the relentless grind of his younger years, the suspensions and expulsions, the ripped up books, the thousands of messes, the tantrums and the nine straight days of "Yellow cup. Yellow cup." The meds and the meetings. The phone calls, goddamn, the phone calls. The couple years when I couldn't keep clothes on him. The time he got thrown off the bus for threatening to kill the driver. The thousands of dirty looks from strangers as my wild child tore around, tantrummed, shouted and swore and screamed. Wincing from the casual cruelty of those who mock the 'short bus' riders and special ed students in general.

I think about the years and years of hard work on both our parts so this year he could be just another dorky freshman at Podunkville High. Handsomer than most, more mannerly too, but mostly just a regular guy. Just one out of a hundred scrawns with unpredictable voices and a smattering of zits. A long shankbone of a kid in skinny jeans and a snarky t-shirt. Just a regular guy to the casual observer, but extraordinary to me.

I love you, kiddo. And thanks for the Christmas present.

Thanks to you guys too for being out there so I can brag on my son. ~LA

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