my egoscentric 4 year old… or …”but mommmmm Christ gets a special name for his birthday”

Let me start off by clarifying a few of points. One, I do not think my 4 year old is any more egoscentric than any other child her age… I think she has a rather good grasp of the importance of our culture and world… but at the end of the day children have a small pool of experience to draw from. Two, I am not what you would call religious, Christmas is more of a custom to me than a religious practice but it is the custom I was raised with so it is the one we follow. Three, K has had some religious education so she knows more about Christianity than this story lets on.

Last night K asked me why songs about Jesus sound so “christmassy“. I replied very simply that Christmas is originally the celebration of the birth of Christ. Upon hearing that she wanted a holiday for her birthday, when I said her birthday is her birthday and is already special she said “but mommmmmmm Christ gets a special name for his birthday” and moped out of the dining room.

It made me think how amazing it is that a child can see things so simply. Maybe it isn’t egoscentric. Maybe it is egosheltered. She will grow up following the traditions of our family for the holidays just as I did. We will celebrate our family and Santa more than Christ because that is what we tend to do. We will all gather together and have a great big dinner on Christmas Eve, read stories and cuddle by the fire, drink hot chocolate and leave cookies for Santa while my daddy reads The Night Before Christmas.
On Christmas morning I will wake up at least 30 minutes before she does and sit and stare at her willing to wake up so I have an excuse to wake the rest of the house. It is the only day of the year I am capable of jumping out of bed and being wide awake. I think everyone in my family knows this about me. I will make coffee and we will sit and open our stockings quietly until everyone is awake enough to continue and K is staring at the tree with wonder and anticipation. With the presents passed out and opened we all eat together and play and talk until it is time to move on to the next family event. With Mike’s family there will be more food, more talk, more presents and play and then we will head home for a quiet evening curled up once again in front of the fire. That is my Christmas. It’s all about the family (okay and the presents. Everyone in our family, both sides, loves to spoil the kids). Don’t get me wrong, we make donations to local charities, food drives and toy drives. We have K help us so that she too knows it is important to share what we have when so many others go without. But still it is tradition and caring not religion that is the driving force in our actions.

Maybe she will grow up like me, uncertain but comfortable in her uncertainty. Maybe she will grow up to have great faith in her religious convictions. Maybe she will grow up like others in our family, certain that there is nothing out there at all. As this age who is to know?

All I know is I won’t be surprised if come March K has changed her birthday to “Pirateprincessday

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