Oliver Conquers the Mall

Yesterday’s Christmas shopping with Oliver was postponed, due to my grandson not feeling well. With Christmas fast approaching the time was limited for a future excursion. I was prepared to become Oliver’s personal shopper this afternoon, communicating via cell phones, and picking up his selections for him. However, Oliver rallied enough to venture out. The Yaya & Grandchild shopping trip was on!

It was obvious, after I picked up this normally energetic boy, that he was still recovering from sinus congestion and drainage. Minutes after we left his house, he was asleep in the car. Is there anything more precious than a sleeping child? It doesn’t matter how old they are, slumber surrounds the child with an aura of beautiful innocence.

I let Oliver sleep. When we arrived at the mall, I sat quietly with him and left the car running. I considered whether I should take him back home, pick up another adult to stay in the car with him as I did a quick shop, or wake him and see what he wanted to do.

I chose to wake him and ask his opinion. He is ten years old now, after all.

Although he was a bit groggy, and asked if he could sit if he needed to, he wanted to shop. I had to admire his spirit and his determination. The ibuprofen he took before leaving the house seemed to be kicking in.

Oliver accomplished his goal…shopping for Christmas gifts for his family…in record time. He made great decisions, in two stores, so that 30 minutes later, we were headed to my house to wrap. His talkative nature and wonderful curiosity had returned, and we chatted during the brief drive and while he wrapped the presents.

This young man always has a question or two for me about real estate. After we talked business, Oliver wondered which animal is my favorite and what song I liked best today.

My heart was full of compassion this afternoon for my grandson, knowing he wasn’t feeling his best. I enjoyed our time together, brief as it was. And when he feels 100% himself again, and has regained his appetite, we will have a Yaya & Grandchild meal together, to make up for the one he passed on today.

I learn so much from my grandchildren. Each one is unique, each has talents and gifts and delightful quirks, each one has much to offer to the world. I won’t see the four younger grandchildren until after Christmas. However, I am grateful that I got to spend one on one time with each of them, shopping, listening, sharing, and laughing.

It has been the merriest of Christmas seasons.

Gifts of the Season

This afternoon I had the privilege of accompanying grandson Joey on his Christmas shopping trip. The day was overcast, chilly and dreary, however within our car there was joy and light and anticipation as we drove to Joplin.

We quickly established what our stops would be, and tossed around gift ideas for his family, calling in a little additional help from my daughter-in-law, Megan. By the time we had arrived in the first store’s parking lot, Joey had a clear game plan. From there this young man never wavered, finding each item on his mental gift list, and checking it off.

I give the kids an approximate budget, and two things amaze me as they shop. The kids are extremely fair in their purchases. They do their best to spend the same amount on each family member. This practice is the grandkids’ way of showing that they value the people in their lives and see their worth.

And, we find the items that the children have in mind, at the price they want to pay. This form of synchronicity happens over and over…getting an item on sale, finding the last such item at the exact right price. I love the delight that sparkles in their eyes as they exchange knowing looks with me. These shopping trips not only allow my grandchildren to give gifts to their loved ones, they teach them wonderful lessons about the incredible way life can flow.

Joey and I had such fun shopping and talking non-stop, that this Yaya totally failed to capture any of that part of the experience by way of photos! As we arrived at On the Border, the Mexican food restaurant that Joey selected for our meal, I lamented my lapse. Joey teased me about falling down on my one job today, and then laughed it off. He was gracious in allowing me to take extra photos in the restaurant and during our gift wrapping session.

Preparing to leave, after a delicious lunch, and I find my grandson settled in, watching football on a big screen tv.

Joey decided to actually wrap his gifts, rather than drop them into bags and stuff the tops with tissue paper. There is a knack to gift wrapping, and I let Joey experience cutting the paper to size and helped him learn to fold and tape up the ends. He did a great job. We talked about each family member as he wrapped their gifts and how surprised they would be by his selections.

These are special times, shopping with the grandkids. They enjoy selecting and giving the gifts. And they receive beyond getting a gift in return, perhaps without realizing it fully yet. They are learning the value of money, and more importantly, the value of their family members. They learn to make decisions, carry them out and adapt if necessary. There is a sense of accomplishment that each child feels over their little stack of gifts, and the delicious thrill of anticipation as they imagine the recipients opening their surprises.

There are sweet gifts to me also, watching the bright, earnest faces of my grandchildren as they make decisions and purchases. I receive the gifts of their conversations and laughter, their love and gratitude, and the joy of seeing their awareness and mindfulness grow.

It truly is the season of giving…and receiving…and I love sharing it all with these beautiful souls.