Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This is Special

I bought this tiny Nativity scene from a tiny door-to-door salesman. A kid in the neighborhood, fund raiser for school. We've had it for a few years. Zach was about 4 years old the first time I set out this miniature scene. I had taken time to arrange the baby Jesus in the center, flanked by Mary and Joseph and then circled the others around them. I made sure each person was facing baby Jesus even though you wouldn't be able to see their faces. Drives me crazy to see a Nativity scene set up with the people facing out, like they are on stage or something.

But back to Zach and special. After setting it up just perfectly, I went on my way. The next time I passed by the Nativity, I gasped. Someone had flicked the family about, scattered the sheep and roughed up the others. And the angel was missing. I re-set the scene, everyone facing the baby Jesus, and recovered the angel from underneath a chair.

Next time through, same story. Frustrated I re-set the scene and found Zach. "No touching." Whatever.

Repeat this about 70 times and then feel relieved when I say January 1st rolled around and I packed up the mini nativity. Both Zach and I could relax. He could remove "wreck Nativity" from his to-do list and I could remove "fix Nativity" from mine.

Oh but the next Christmas I just had to try again. I'm sure Zach saw it all set up and thought, "Hmmm, I remember this. It's going to be a busy month for me and Mommy." We went round and round, neither of us giving in. Sometimes, if Zach were in a hurry, instead of going piece by piece on the knockdown, he'd just pull the fake snow out from under the whole scene. Done.

A third Christmas and it's deja vu for both of us. Just put it away, you say? But it's cute and I like it. Just punish Zach, you say? But he's cute and I like him.

The photo above is current. I set up the mini Nativity this year, same as the last few years. But something's different this year and I don't mean the R2-D2 beside the angel. Zach hasn't touched one single piece. Not one. The Nativity scene just sits there undisturbed with all the people facing in the right direction.

I'm sad. The routine of me setting up the scene and Zach knocking it down is no more. He's grown out of it. I should be proud of his self-control, his understanding, his development and I am but our routine was special. He is special. This memory is special.

Maybe just once for old times' sake, Zach will wheel by the Nativity and give the snow a quick yank. Just for kicks, for laughs. Just to say, "Hey Mommy, remember all those times I messed this up and you fixed it?"

Yes I remember.

Our resident Star Wars fan slipped R2-D2 into the scene (and faced him in the right direction.) Although I can't explain how I know, I know it wasn't done in sarcasm. My disclaimer. Didn't want to give the impression that we mock the Nativity around here. We don't.


  1. Great families memories can come from simply things, like your shared here. But your family will share a laugh and good time over that for many years. Good story. Have a Merry Christmas.

  2. I love it that even R2D2 takes time to worship the Lord.... I purchased a non-breakable nativity set so my kids could play to their heart content. I set it up, only to find everyone circled around baby Jesus. I set it back up, only to find a circle once again. I love it, and am so thankful that my kids know how precious Jesus is. Hopefully next year he will rearrange for you again.