When Your Life Is a Video Game

ImageFor a break from the usual, I thought I would share a couple of Christmas memories today.

This will be our first Christmas since our son moved out on his own, and Rich and I don’t really care if we have any hoopla around us or not. Christmas with family will be at our nephew’s house this year, so we’ll enjoy the decorations, food, and festivities there.

Our son has had some pretty memorable Christmases. I was always like a kid at Christmas, so in essence, we were like two kids, and Rich had to be the adult.

The first memory comes from when Rich used to work afternoons, and for several years, he worked on Christmas Eve, which took away that evening and also the next morning.

Our son was twelve at the time, and, of course, he played NintendoImage quite a bit. We were all enjoying a goofy old game called Snake, Rattle, and Roll. One of the best parts of the game was warping to other levels. If you have never warped to another level, it’s basically finding a secret place on one level (like level three) that will automatically send you up to another level (like level six), so you can bypass some of the game.

This particular year, our son also bowled in a league on Saturday mornings. Two weekends before Christmas, I took him to the bowling alley as I always did. I told him I would pick him up in three hours, and if he was done early to stay inside and wait for me. I usually stayed to watch.

The minute I left the house, Rich put a ham in the oven and started decorating. The tree went up and presents were loaded beneath. Other decorations were placed around the house. Christmas music was turned on. The minute I came home from dropping the boy off, I started fixing Christmas dinner. Rich made a banner for across the wall in the kitchen.

When it was time to pick him up, Rich drove down to the bowling alley. He probably told our son something lame like Mom wasn’t Imagefeeling good. When they walked through the door, a huge Christmas dinner was on the table, the house was decorated, gifts were under the tree, and along the wall was a banner which read:

The boy couldn’t believe it. He was living a video game. He kept asking, “Is this for real?” He had two full days that weekend to play with Dad, the neighbor kids thought he was the coolest thing ever, and it made Christmas that year so much nicer for all of us.

The second memory is from a couple years later when our son and I were sitting in a Starbucks late one afternoon. Once again it was about two weeks before Christmas. I asked him if I was getting something in particular, but I can’t remember now what it was. He said, “I’ll tell you if you tell me something I’m getting.”

Well, there we were, not one kid and one adult, but two kids. Before you knew it, we were telling Imageeach other everything. Rich was at work, and we dashed back to the house and dragged all of the boy’s gifts out from their hiding places and looked at everything. There was a Sega Game Gear in the lot, and we played with it for the rest of the day. We messed with and/or played with his gifts every day after Dad left for work – right up until I had to wrap the stuff on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas day, our son acted wonderfully surprised with everything he opened – as did I. It was months – as many as eight or nine – before we confessed to Rich what we had done. We confessed in front of Grandma and Grandpa. They thought it was hilarious, but Rich absolutely couldn’t believe that I would have done such a thing. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. The boy and I had a blast.

So even if my house isn’t decorated this year, or Rich and I don’t have any hoopla, I still have a ton of fun memories.

I know I’m not the only one to mess with Christmas. Tell me what you’ve done!

58 thoughts on “When Your Life Is a Video Game

  1. The disclosing of Christmas presents reminds me of the same exchanges and negotiations my sister and I would have growing up — we would get to open one present on Christmas Eve (or sometimes a couple), but of course, how could you choose if you didn’t know what was in them? So, we negotiated, finding out the identity of certain wrapped boxes from our parents to disclose to each other, to help make that critical Christmas Eve choice! ~ Kat

  2. Great stories, that’s what makes Christmas fun, I remember one year my parents told me with stern straight faces to go tidy my room before I got any presents, I trudged off feeling low only to find a brand new racing bike propped up against my bed, that was a great Christmas 😀

  3. You are a cool mother, Ms Maddie! I don’t think we’ve done something as crazy as you did, but if I remember one, I’ll write about it, too. 🙂

    • Our son gave a bookmark to me one year for my birthday. It read, “You make life an adventure.” There was never a dull moment around here. If you remember something, please do write about it. I love your stories. 🙂

  4. I love the “Warp to Christmas Day” idea. Sounds so fun! I don’t celebrate Christmas, but it’s nice to see what other people are up to around this time of year. 🙂

  5. This one year I took my little dog down to a small town and we stole everyones gifts and decorations. No worries, it ended up hurting my heart and I gave them all back. No, wait a minute. That wasn’t me.

    • That is just like you, Marcus! You were the Grinch and then you weren’t. You are probably one of those guys who fills the toy bins for little children with tube socks so they can pull them up high. … Or nice trucks for them to play with. 😉

  6. You BAD ASS! LOL! That’s a really sweet, conspiratorial story, but I’ll bet your hubby was raging, I would have been! This is a great post and it’s totally inspired me to think of some of my own Christmas memories. So watch this space, missus! 🙂

    • Isn’t that funny! My husband was incredulous. When I have a secret, it’s usually all over my face, and I giggle at inopportune times. He couldn’t believe I not only did that with our son, but that I pulled it off! I can’t wait to read your stories! 🙂

    • The really funny thing about this is that when our son was out playing with friends, Rich and I were playing with the Game Gear, and hiding it quick if the boy came home. It’s still a laugh out loud moment for me when I think about this.

  7. I have not messed with Christmas. I wouldn’t dare. Should we be worried you’re so good at it? 😉

    I would, however, like to be able to warp ahead to a finished manuscript. Is that possible?

  8. Maddie, I’d give this post two likes if I could. It’s obvious that you’ve managed to hold on to those qualities the rest of us lose once puberty hits and can never recapture try as we might. Lucky girl. Thanks for sharing your memories. 🙂 🙂

  9. I can just see you, Maddie – I love the ‘kid quality’ you have! Your son is very lucky to have such a wonderful mother who loves games and surprises. These stories are just fantastic! 😀

  10. Pingback: Christmas Memories « beforeiforget

  11. Very, very funny. Their is no way I could have kept that a secret for so long, I would have been laughing everytime I thought about it, that alone would have given me away. You’re a great mom Maddie !!!

    • I’m catching up, Rita Kay! Thank you for the kind words. I’m missing our son this year, but he’s happy in his new apartment, and that is very good. He and I are going shopping together next weekend, so who knows what will happen. 🙂

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