I’ve had my Oprah “Mommy aha moment” this Christmas season.

Karma. It’s all about life lessons, my friends.  I’ll admit it, my pre-mom days were filled with judgement. Everywhere I went I sat in judgement of my fellow “sistas”. Especially if I was with my best friends.

“OMG, what was she thinking when she bought those earrings?”

“Obviously she wasn’t thinking. Maybe they were on sale.”

“They could have been free and come with a matching car and I wouldn’t have taken them!”

“Maybe her seeing eye dog picked them out for her.”

Hard to admit but owning it is part of my redemption and warning to all you young girls out there. Learn from my mistakes…

Oh, Christmas tree, oh, Christmas tree...here comes trouble times 2.

Christmas came with all the usual rituals. Tree trimming, house trimming and hair trimming.  Mark and I promised each other that we wouldn’t go overboard like we did last year and the year before that…and the year before that…infinity. I even arranged a toy swap with the other Moms in Celebration so we would be getting rid of the same amount of toys we were bringing in. It was a huge hit and so much fun.

1st annual toy swap...free, free, free!

Leapsters and t-balls and bears...oh, my!

Lots of snacks, wine and music by DJ Wendy. And did I mention the free toys?

I thought my Christmas shopping was done, then Nate left his “10 favorite Star Wars Galactic Heros” on the airplane when we went to Wisconsin to visit Mark’s family. When he sat on Santa’s lap, all he wanted was “My bag of my most favoritest Star Wars characters back.” Santa looked up at me and said with his eyes, “So what do you want me to say, Lady?” I was quite impressed with his ability to transport such an intricate message with just the twinkle in his eyes. I nodded, giving Santa the green light. “Don’t worry, Nate. I’ll put my Elves on it right away. They’ll find your missing Star Wars Guys.” {sigh} So the shopping continued.

And history repeats itself. Hello, excessive.

Usually, Mark and I will take Nate to the store separately and steer him towards a gift for each other. “Wouldn’t Daddy love this new ratchet set, Nate?”  “Nate, don’t you think Mommy wants a new aquarium to keep all the lizards we catch in?” eh, hem…

But this year was different. Nate told me that he wanted to buy us presents “all by myself, with my own money that I saved in my piggy bank.” Are you kidding me? I almost did an actual spit-take.  “OK, Nate. I have the perfect place for you.” I explained to him that I had read in our town newspaper that they were sponsoring a “Kid’s night of shopping” at the community center.  When we got there, I signed him in and gave him $20.

“You have $10. to spend on Mommy and $10. to spend on Daddy, OK, Nate?”

“OK, Mommy.”

“Do you want me to go in with you?”

“NO! I’m a kindergartener, I can do it all by myself.”

“I know, Nate. You’re a very big boy. I’ll be right outside this door, OK?”

“Mommy, go talk to someone…I need a little privacy.”

“What the…? {sigh} OK, Nate. Have fun.”

He turned and walked away from me with his head held high and a bounce in his step.  I burst into tears. I felt like I had just sent him off to college. It was the weirdest thing. I couldn’t stop sobbing.

“Are you alright, Maryellen?”

{through sobs}”Yup. Just a proud Mommy moment, I guess.  Either that or I’m suddenly bi-polar.”

Nate shopping for me. OK, so I followed him...he never saw me...I have a very strong zoom, people.

I overheard Nate telling this guy, "My Daddy likes gadgets. Do you have any gadgets?"

The next room was the wrapping room. Volunteers helped the kids wrap their gifts. I don't know what Nate was saying but this woman couldn't stop laughing. That's my boy!

Nate's shopping done in under 30 minutes! Including the cookie/hot chocolate break.

I can’t remember when I’ve ever seen Nate that proud and excited. He rushed into the house yelling, “Daddy, Daddy! I’ve got a present for you but you can’t open it until Christmas. You better be good for goodness sakes!”

Christmas morning and Nate dives under the tree looking for his presents for us. “Here ya go, Mommy! This is the present I got for you with my money from my piggy bank that I picked out all by myself and you were crying happy.” I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to see what my son had picked out for me. What does he think I like? How does he think of me?

He was so excited he ripped the package open for me.

Not one, but 2 presents!

So next time you’re at the grocery store and you see a woman wearing big, green-glass ball dangling earrings and a faux-silver ring with a pink-beaded elastic band on her finger…don’t mock. Be jealous…be very, very jealous. You can only hope to be loved so much by a little boy that he spends every last cent in his piggy bank buying you “the most beautiful ring and earrings in the whole wide world.”

I hope your holidays were as stylishly happy as mine were.

Looks like my dear friend, Julia is to be envied as well! Check out how much her son loves her!