Enough. It's a concept I've been struggling my entire adult life to get a handle on. It's a difficult one in a culture of advertising and competition where the center of our economy and our collective self worth revolves around the idea that there is no such thing. That's a hard lesson to undo and it's taken me years to get to the point where I finally think I am getting it.
Every year before the holidays I do a sort of informal inventory of the kids' posessions, looking to see what they have, what they use and what they might need. This year it became clear that the kids have reached the point of Enough.
Cheyenne and Isabella's room is a joyful little place. White wrought iron daybeds with pretty old quilts line either side of the walls, pillows and stuffed animals propped up for reading and snuggling and a basket tucked under each bed for books. There's a sweet little vintage school desk that holds their drawing pads and coloured pencil rolls as well as their "rock treasures" and other little baubles. There's a play kitchen with little pots and pans, play food and dishes, a doll bed and a miniature sized table with ice cream parlor chairs. There's a drawer in their dresser for dress-up clothes, one for doll clothes and one for Barbies and My Little Ponies. On their window seat there is a fully outfitted wooden dollhouse and a small basket of miniature animals and wooden snakes with baskets underneath for stuffed animals. There is a hook behind each of their beds for their mom-made nature walk backpacks and their binoculars and each of them have a wooden beanbag game they made with their Daddy. It's Enough.
Then there is James. How many times when the girls were 6 months to 18 months (the span of ages James will pass through in 2010) were they perfectly contented with nothing but a mixing bowl and a spoon to bang on it with or a box to explore?
It is with that in mind that we have instituted our No Toys in 2010 challenge. We want to put the focus on doing rather than on aquiring. The things the kids will really remember are our adventures; camping, daytrips, trying new and exciting foods, meeting new and exciting people and spending time with family and friends. That's the fun stuff.
For Cheyenne's birthday, the first birthday of 2010, she and her Dad are enrolling in karate lessons together and she and I are going to a "kicksledding in the full moon" event at the park. Grandparents will be paying for her summer knitting class.
As I was thumbing through the American Girls catalog, something I've daydreamed about having since I was a kid, it struck me. We spend a lot of money in this country imagining the fun and exciting things we could be doing. We'll buy the American Girl's doll a pair of cross country skiis instead of going cross country skiing or we'll buy Barbie a horse instead of going horseback riding ourselves. There's something a little off about that. Something I'm hoping to change for me and my kids.