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24 December 2007

Need Help Pre-Planning Santa?

As a parent to a newborn and an awesome 11 year old, I have spent many soulful moments pondering my luck, my joy and my amazement. Of course, none of it could have been possible without my bride Tonya and I hope I do a decent job of reminding her how fortunate I am to have her in my life.

As I have opined before, having a stepchild is a unique experience and I have found that even the most well meaning folks don't fully understand or appreciate the uniqueness of being involved as a step parent until, well, they are a step parent themselves.

Certainly one of the features of living with a child that you did not actively participate in bringing into this world is the apparent lack of common DNA between step parent and step child. After all, even when you create a wonderful blend like cookies and cream, you can still taste the cookies and the cream.

So with all of that said, I am the most taken aback by the number of things that crop in Emily's repertoire that seem to favor her dear old step dad, moi. We have even been told that we look alike, in which we just giggle to ourselves.

One trait that that drives her mom nuts is Emily's sophomoric sense of humor that Tonya claims she gets from me. Emily and I can - and do - together or individually find a joke over the simplest of things and laugh our heads off. Tonya's eyes roll.

Her teacher's tell me that Emily has developed a penchant for creative writing and poetry also, two things that I enjoy; and what an honor if she decides to expand upon that talent in her life.

Because of my work, I have been fed - and therefore I have adopted - a steady diet of Pre-Planning. Tonya and Emily enjoy telling their friends and family about our family vacations where I present them with a binder that outlines our trip, our stops, our budget, our activities, and a back-up plan for each. I sleep like a baby. They both roll their eyes.

So this Christmas, you can see the irony - and my hidden joy - when yesterday Emily presented me and Tonya a printed Pre-Plan for Christmas morning. It includes a seating chart, a radio call system from her room to our room, a camera/video plan, a list of responsibilities, name tags, a staging area for presents, trash removal plan, a bow recycling plan and a badge (signed by the AHJ -Agency Having Jurisdiction: - us, her parents!) anointing herself as the "Official Christmas Gift Deliverrerrrr". No way could I make this up.

A printed seating chart for Christmas morning, with a trash removal plan? What more could a proud papa ask for? I am getting choked up just thinking about it!

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