Thursday, December 22, 2005

Fielder’s Choice
By Barry Burleson

Enjoy time with family

Christmas time with an almost 4-year-old in the house always adds fun, excitement and some challenges.

She will get out catalogs, turn the pages and circle what she wants.

Most of the many pages will have at least one item circled, some two and others three or four. And we will look through them over and over again.

She will be watching her favorite shows on television, and then comes the holiday-related commercials featuring the latest dolls, toys and such – particularly the Dora the Explorer ones.

“I want that; I want that,” Erin says repeatedly.

Santa Claus has narrowed it down to a few things, I think, based on her Letter to Santa in last week’s South Reporter and his preliminary visit to our house on Monday night, Dec. 12.

It was a step forward this year on Santa’s visit. Erin actually sat in his lap, alone, and told him just what she wanted for Christmas.

And, of course, we know there will be some holiday surprises, too.

And, as usual, there will be way too much, likely more than she will ever play with.

Hopefully, she will not come up with a new request at the last minute.

When Emma was about her age, we drove miles and miles a couple of nights before Christmas to get a doll house. That’s because she suddenly changed her mind, and that’s all she really wanted. We couldn’t let our first child down.

We do a lot for our children, perhaps too much when it comes to the material things.

And those material things have changed so much over the years.

My 11-year-old son Andy wants a cell phone. That’s amazing to me. I grew up in the country, where we used to have telephone party lines.

Today the question is – what did we do before cell phones? And just about every adult, teen, and some younger, have them now. And now you can take pictures with them, too.

My teen daughter Emma wants an I-Pod. Technology amazes me, too - like tiny instruments that hold thousands of songs.

I always got about everything I asked for when I was a child, too. But it was a cassette player, Hot Wheels and GI Joes and such.

And I particularly remember sneaking around early Christmas Eve morning, trying to catch a look at Santa or get a preview of what he left under the tree.

Actually, my two older sisters put me up to it.

I remember many of those Christmas presents from Christmases past, but most of all, I recall the good times with family and friends.

And that’s what I continue to cherish the most.

The thing I look most forward to during the holidays is simply spending time with family, Pam, Emma, Andy, Erin, along with our extended family on my side and Pam’s.

The newspaper business is demanding, plus our lives away from work are so busy.

Days off are rare.

Taking a well-deserved break at Christmas to be with family is special.

We don’t get to spend enough quality time together, and that’s something we have to work on, year-around.

One thing I would urge you to do this holiday season is hug your family members, and tell them you love them.

Make the best of the time together.

Make precious memories.

Life is short.

Those hugs, those meaningful words, those memories mean far more than what’s wrapped up in those boxes.

From the Burleson family to your family, Merry Christmas!

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