Mom? Dad? How many days left until Christmas? I'm sure for any and all who have kids, this question is asked a hundred times a day, until Santa and his reindeer finally arrive.
I remember as a kid, my brother and I use to make a paper chain and each day one chain link would disappear.
It made the countdown to Christmas more exciting. The anticipation consumed us. Plus, we knew how many days we had to behave like 'perfect angels' to make sure we didn't get coal in our stocking. After all, we never knew when Santa was watching.
Now, even though I'm a little bit older and Santa and I are a little bit closer, the count down to Christmas still consumes me-just in a different way.
With Christmas just six days away and none of my Christmas shopping down, I can feel the stress coming on.
Stress and Christmas, who knew that one day I would associate the two?
The other day, as I was hanging up the two stockings in my little apartment, getting into the Christmas spirit by listening to "Thistle Hare the Christmas Bear," it suddenly dawned on me: I still had to get presents for my brother, dad, and mom. Shoot!
My dad would be easy, I know he loves Carhatt stuff and North Face gear. Done.
My brother is a grill-man. Perhaps a new recipe book for the grill would work. Done.
But my mom. Oh, what to get my mom. I know she should be the easiest to shop for. We are practically the same person, so all I would really have to do is go into a store and get something I would like. Nevertheless I wanted it to be something she would for sure like.
After wracking my brain with possibilities, I decided to give her a call.
"Mom. I'm at a loss. What do you want for Christmas this year?" I asked frantically.
"Chelsey, all I want for Christmas is for you to come home," she answered.
I was speechless. Here I was, going up and down the isle searching for the right size, the right color, the perfect gift. And all my mom really wanted for Christmas was to have my brother and I all under the same roof.
I guess I never really thought about it, but this is the one time of the year when Eric and I are actually home at the same time for more than a day.
Sometimes the perfect gift can't be wrapped up and put on the Christmas Tree.
Editor's note: Chelsey Roath is a student at Northern Michigan University. Her weekly column on college life in Marquette runs on Sundays. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.