With Santa missing in April, it’s all up to Gigi

Sherri Gardner HowellBlount, Farragut, Kitchen Table Talk

Back in January, I told you about the angst I was having over my youngest grandson, Gardner, not being able to have the Santa toys he received at my house transported to his home in Seattle.

We were blessed to have the Seattle family with us at Christmas this year. Santa found Gigi and Granddaddy’s house without problem, leaving some rather large toys for Gardner that would not fit any boxes or suitcases to go back to Seattle.

No one was concerned about it except me. And I tried, really tried, to get those gifts to him. The price tag for shipping the $140 worth of toys ranged from $244 to $1,600.

My son Brett, who loves Christmas Magic better than anyone except me, said it was all good. “He has so many toys, and it’s only those two that aren’t making it home. He’ll forget about them in a couple of weeks.”

I finally let it go, put the toys in the playroom and moved on.

Now, however, we are going to Seattle. Gardner has been so excited it has melted my heart. We told him about the trip way to early, as he only really understands “today and tomorrow” as far as time.

“How many days, Gigi?”

“It’s 12 days, Gardner. Gigi will be there in 12 days.”

“Can you just come tomorrow?”

Twice in those phone conversations he has asked: “Are you bringing my crane and racetrack, Gigi?”

I sent a text to Brett immediately after the first time: “Forget about it in two weeks, huh? I have to find a way…”

Brett’s response was: “Hahahaha. It’ll give him something to look forward to when he comes to Knoxville. Just can’t be done.”

My husband said, “Forget it. Just buy new ones and ship them there. They are too bulky, too hard to take apart and too expensive to box up for the airplane. Just can’t be done.”

Now here is a word of advice for sons and husbands, alike. Do Not tell a Gigi that it can’t be done when it will make her grandson happy AND help keep Christmas Magic alive.

Santa and the elves, however, just aren’t easy to find in April.

The first challenge was getting hard plastic toys that snap together apart without breaking/bending them. I didn’t need them completely apart, just enough to take the 4-foot-tall crane down to shorter size and the 36-inch-wide racetrack into a smaller footprint.

It took days. I broke the tip off my favorite kitchen knife, used muscles I didn’t know I had, wiggled parts, shined flashlights underneath to see how they fit together, pulled, pushed, slid and did a lot of groaning.

But I did it. My neighbor John Retinger came through with a giant, heavy-duty duffle bag. Sam’s Club came through with affordable bubble wrap. Southwest Airlines came through with “2 bags per person fly free.”

Today we leave for six days in Seattle with one large suitcase, three large duffle bags and two carry-ons.

The unknown, of course, is whether or not the crane and racetrack will arrive in broken pieces from heavy suitcases on the plane being tossed on top of them. I put a sign on each, which brought peals of laughter from my husband:

“Please do not put anything heavy on top of this duffle bag. Contains grandson’s toy, and it will break.”

I know it is unlikely that a grandmother will be loading our baggage. But maybe a young man or woman who remembers his/her own Christmas Magic will see it and take care.

Sherri Gardner Howell has been writing about family life for newspapers and magazines since 1987. She lives in West Knoxville, is married to Neville Howell and has two sons and three grandsons.


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