I had the unfortunate need to go to a store today. I very rarely shop, and when I do, it's in and out...no fooling around. I was looking for a specific thing, and found myself wandering around the Halloween costume department.
First of all - really???? Has Halloween become such a huge commercial enterprise? I guess I should have been clued in by the four or five Halloween stores that popped up the last month or so, and that's just in my hometown. What happened to the days when kids made costumes out of old bed sheets and second-hand clothing castoffs?
But I digress.
As I wandered around, I was awestruck by the amazing amount of stuff. Just stuff and stuff and more stuff. Do we really need all this stuff? Must we have it? A retro hotdog and bun toaster? Really?
And it reaffirmed a decision that Hubby and I made to give our grandchildren memories instead of gifts.
It started with our niece. She's the only young one left of our nieces and nephews, so she gets the honor of being the one whose birthday we still celebrate. Four or five years ago, we decided to take her out for her birthday rather than give her a gift, since her birthday is December 16. It was a huge hit. Since then, we've taken her to the movies, to a play, to the Science Museum, and to the Planetarium.
This year, she's turning 13. Last time we saw her, I told her she should start thinking about what kind of outing she'd like to go on with us this year. "Unless," I said, "you're getting too cool to go out with Auntie and Uncle". "Oh no," she says, "I love hanging with you guys."
I'm so happy that she still loves our adventures, and that we seem to be a pretty cool Aunt and Uncle.
Now we've decided to carry on the tradition with our grandchildren. In August, we took Emily to York Beach Animal Farm for her 5th birthday. We all had a ball. And now we've decided to take Noah on a train ride this Saturday for his 4th birthday.
We hope that spending the day with Memere and Pepere will be a memory that they'll hold in their hearts forever......and will mean more to them than the toy that gets played with for a week and then gets shoved under the bed.
The memories for Pepere and I are priceless.