Sunday, January 3, 2010

All She Wanted for Christmas

This was the first Christmas in many, many years that I was able to spend some of the holiday with my grandmother. For the last decade she's spent her winters in Kansas with my uncle, her eldest son. This year, however, her visit was delayed. This year, she was a part of my holiday traditions, and those of my children.

My two youngest kids are only a little more than a year apart in age. Like puppies in a litter, they bicker and brawl, snap and snarl. It is rare for a day to pass without the two of them getting into an argument. Usually, the disagreement is over something stupid or trivial, like whether Duracell or Energizer batteries last longer. Neither of them knows the answer. Neither of them cares. Not really. But they each have the urge to have the last word. They each want to prove their superiority over the other.

There are days when they drive me 'round the bend.

But Mammy had a request for Christmas. When asked by my daughter what she would like for a gift, Mammy told her that all she wanted was a photo of the two of them. Together. Smiling.

Lordy, lordy, lordy...

I envisioned The Photo Shoot From Hell. My son hates to have his picture taken, and when I do manage to get him to stand still for a moment, he's usually scowling. And my daughter is convinced that she is The Boss. She has the urge to control her brother, and she drives him (and her parents) crazy as she tries to direct his every action, word and and expression. Which makes him grumpier, of course, and that causes the frowns to grow in size and frequency.

So I thought that getting a decent photo of my two youngest children was going to be a royal chore.

Instead, I didn't have to lift a finger. Not only that, but the two of them didn't fight, at all.

My daughter asked to borrow my camera. She told her brother that his great-grandmother had only one request for Christmas, and that was to have a picture of the two of them smiling for her. And that's all it took. She held the camera at arm's length and snapped away. My son smiled for every shot. They laughed together, and they acted a bit silly. Oh, they squabbled. They had to! It's a long-ingrained habit, and an addiction, of sorts. But they had fun and even though most of the pictures were a bit blurry or fuzzy or the lightning was wrong, they managed to find one they both liked, and they framed it and wrapped it and gave it to Mammy. She was ecstatic with her photograph. And I have twenty pictures which prove I am the mother of some of the most awesome teenagers on the planet.

Yes, my ninety-three year old grandmother made Christmas special for us this year. In more ways than one.

Thank you, Mammy.

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