Not even my best Christmas as a child could replace what I saw on Christmas morning with my own 3-year-old daughter.
It was pure and absolute delight.
Watching her open all of her presents was equally delightful for her mom and me.
Of course, there was that one gift that really sets off the little ones. The thing they see on TV throughout the season. The present they really clamor after.
For me as a kid, that gift changed every year. Some years I would get it, some years I would not.
It could have been a bike, or a race car set. One year I remember desperately wanting this elaborate set of dump trucks that hauled metal beads around a track. I don’t even know why I wanted it that badly but it just looked really cool.
Board games were always a great find, too, on Christmas morning.
Candy Land would give way to Hungry, Hungry Hippos, to Operation, Life, Connect Four and eventually Trivial Pursuit. We could truly track our childhood by the board games we played.
For my Addy this year, though, it was a princess castle.
Forget the fact that Santa had a Barbie big wheel waiting for her…she wanted this princess castle device that featured girls riding horses down a ramp.
I only remember seeing it on TV a handful of times, but my kiddo never missed it.
And on Christmas morning, it was there – the biggest thing under the tree (the big wheel was hidden in the back room after hours of anguishing assembly).
One thing I’ve learned, and maybe I will have years ahead of me with this, is that 3-year-olds aren’t interested in immediately playing with anything they open. They are only intrigued by what is next to open.
That is, until they find that perfect present.
By about the third rip of the wrapping on this particular gift, Addy knew exactly what was hiding inside – the coveted castle and horses.
I’ve seen this kid in just about any state of mind you can imagine. This was totally new.
Shrieking and screaming, she pulled every remaining inch of wrapping paper off the box to reveal her dream gift.
It was honestly a blast to watch. I had no idea how excited she would be.
I have to believe it was her best Christmas she’s had. So far at least.
And I know for a fact it was the best for her dad.
John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Cass County Democrat Missourian. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.