The sandbags actually put more pressure on the metal…
This year’s first runner up holiday card…
Last year Daddy asked the kids to guess who forgot to get them each a gift. They couldn’t. Daddy had to tell them “each other.”
F (in about September): Daddy, you haven’t paid us our money in a while.
D: That’s right. Funny thing is, neither of you has noticed much.
C: I noticed, Daddy.
D: No, you didn’t, you goose. Not until Fisher just said something.
F: Can you pay us our money now?
D: Well, I can, but I was keeping it for a reason.
D: Well, in November you have birthdays and in December you have Christmas. And, remember that because you are twins, that’s a time not just to get gifts, but to give a gift, too. (Blank looks.) Remember, guys, this year, you are each going to have to buy each other a gift.
C: Uh huh.
F: And we have to pay money to buy each other gift?
D: Yes. When the store clerk asks you to pay, what are you going to use?
F: Your money?
D: How about you use your money? I’ll save up your allowances from now until Christmas, and then you’ll have money to spend on a gift for each other.
F: That’s a good idea, Daddy! You have a really good brain!
Cory looks like she’s contemplating whether to ask to keep the money herself. Apparently, she decides to go with Daddy’s approach. Not wanting to go through the gift exchange thing twice, Daddy waits for Christmas. They each go shopping solo with Daddy. Daddy hides the results from the other. On Christmas Eve, after everyone else has fallen asleep (at around 8:15, ahem), Daddy gets to work. Cookies eaten. Milk drunk. Food-colored Rice Krispie treats chucked. (The reindeer ate them.) Fireplace decked out. (The Santa who visits the house has a flair for middle-of-the-night decoration.) Santa packages wrapped. Papa packages wrapped. Sibling packages wrapped. Santa note written (in a foreign “font”), with a challenge for the twins by Christmas 2015: “I ALSO WANT YOU TO LEARN TO READ. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT, AND I KNOW YOU CAN BOTH DO IT!”
Amid Christmas morning mayhem, Cory goes wild for the Doc McStuffins Housecall Supplies that Fisher picked out for her, but then he faces her gift for him. She passed up every toy on every shelf in every aisle for a minion backpack that she found discarded in the light bulb aisle on the way back from the bathroom. “Daddy, Fisher will LOVE this.” Daddy is not convinced. It was lying discarded in a random aisle. It has a clearance price on it for less than $15. Are minions really in right now? She is adamant, and in the face of the gift giver’s confidence, what do a bystander’s reservations matter? For her, it’s settled: “He will LOVE this, Daddy. He will.” All the way home that night, she tries to teach Daddy how to speak “minion gibberish.” Daddy can speak gibberish with her, but this particular dialect is a challenge. She laughs and keeps at it, a patient instructor.
F (picking up the very big box in which Daddy wrapped the minion): Oh, thanks, Cory! Thank you very much for the biggest present, Cory! That is so big! Thanks so much, Cory.
It’s a recycled box, and it is very big. Cory smiles as he starts to open it.
F (breaking through): A MINION! (Unspellable scream.) A MINION! (More primal joy, delivered in unspellable sounds.) I got a MINION! (Hugging it to him.) Cory, thank you so much!
He and the minion slam into her. Tears well up watching him shoot so thoroughly to cloud nine while his twin sister beams. No one gets these things right all of the time, and they will be back to bickering before breakfast, but this once, her very first time out of the gate, Cory Bee nailed it.
She knows her brother, and she absolutely nailed it.
A side benefit to being away from home for a week before Christmas is returning to a pile of holiday cards, which are used to decorate a huge art piece called The Tree of Life.
F/C: Who is that? Why does that person have a…? I don’t know that person… Oh, there’s…! Daddy, I like…! What does that say?
D: Sound it out…
The process feels like the low-tech, old-tech version of logging into Facebook.
F (holding up a penny): Daddy, can I throw this in there?
D (pushing the restaurant door open): In where?
F: In that fountain?
D: Yes, but only if you make a wish.
F: Okay, Daddy.
He runs over to the edge, stops, and chucks the penny in. Cory watches. Daddy reaches into his pocket.
C (turning): Ah, Daddy, I didn’t get…
She stops when she sees Daddy holding out a penny to her. She smiles and takes what’s offered.
D: But only if you make a wish, Cory.
Daddy watches her hold the penny in her palm. Her mouth moves over it, but Daddy is too far away to hear what she’s saying. She catches back up.
C: Daddy, it’s okay if you tell your family what your wish was, right?
D: You really aren’t supposed to tell anyone.
C: But, I can tell you because you are my family. I wished that Santa would bring us another Kohl Peppy-Snorter.
D (squeezing her hand): You did?
C: Yes, I miss Kohl Peppy-Snorter.
D: That’s very sweet. But, there really is no other dog exactly like Kohl was.
F: I wished for a Harry Potter wand.
After two quiet steps, she lets Daddy’s hand go and runs back to the fountain, stands there with her back to Daddy for a couple seconds, and runs back to resume walking away.
D: Cory, why did you do that?
C: Because I wanted to fix my wish. I said that I want Santa to make Kohl Peppy-Snorter a puppy again and bring him back, the same Kohl Peppy-Snorter.
D (squeezing her hand again): That’s a very good fix, Cory Bee.
F: I like that wish. I like that wish a lot, Cory.
A few days later, back at home, running errands, after seeing a Scottie on a bag in a store, Daddy listens to them over the music in the car.
F: Oh, Kohl is my best snuggly dog. I miss Kohl.
C: That’s why I wished for Kohl Peppy-Snorter to come back from Santa. As a puppy, though.
F: But, Cory, I don’t think Santa can do that. I don’t think Santa can just make a dead person, I mean, a doggie that died be alive again. I don’t think he can do that.
C: Well, that’s my penny wish.
F: That takes magic. That’s why I wished for a Harry Potter wand. It can do magic. So, I could use it to make that cancer never go in Kohl Peppy’s body, and so his body could be alive again. That would be magic.
C: Santa has magic.
F: You are right, Cory, but I don’t know if he has that kind of magic.
A little sad to do it, Daddy dispels them of the idea that there exists magic enough in Santa’s hand or Harry’s wand for that. Daddy is sure that Fisher never intended, when he made his wish for a wand, to spell Kohl back to life, but there is a little bit of magic, the tiniest touch, plenty enough actually, in the influence of a twin sister to refine a wish.