Declan has been wearing a very fashionable, well for a first-grader, bright red Angry BirdsⓇ snow-cap nearly non-stop since Christmas day. He even has matching red gloves, all courtesy of a gift package from his mother. The hat is quite soft, made of a plush material with "wings" that hang down the side of his face.
After touching it I quickly understood why he didn't want to take it off and the smiles from everyone that saw him skipping through the grocery store were priceless.
I remember being affected similarly by gifts during my youth, wanting to lug my new G.I. JoeⓇ jet everywhere I went. My mother was not so keen on the looks I received from strangers, understandably so; it was not a particularly small toy jet.
That year Santa also brought me the G.I. Joe base, it was a grand haul. One of my younger brothers was equally excited, having received a massive contribution to his He-ManⓇ collection.
The He-Man action figures were bigger and much more muscular than my G.I. Joe men. So muscular, in-fact, that when my G.I. Joe assault team arrested one of my younger brothers He-Men and imprisoned him in their brand-spanking new jail, which only the G.I. Joe base came equipped with, he quickly used his brute strength to escape.
I remember how excited I was to get that base, I remember it had a jail section equipped with three walls of thin plastic bars and I remember my little brother breaking out every single plastic bar in that jail cell the morning I unwrapped it.
"What are you doing?!" I yelled as I watched him ever-so-easily snap off the last of the jail's plastic bars.
"He is breaking out," Mike replied, with an isn't it obvious look on his face.
I'm certain I was quite the jerk of an older brother after that, but in my defense I don't remember, so it doesn't count.
I was reminded of that silly encounter as Declan and Shawn lay sprawled across the living room floor on Christmas day, arguing over whether B6 had been previously declared a hit or a miss. They were playing none other than the classic BattleshipⓇ board game.
Shawn was reluctant to play at first, but after three "tie" games they were beginning their fourth round. Their Battleship arguments, ironically, had been minimal and seemed to be resolved quickly with minimal intervention from dad.
Especially considering all of today's gadgets, electronic games and talking toys, to see Declan and Shawn enjoying the $8 classic board game I got for them more than anything else, well that was by far the best gift I received this year.
I am still uncertain how a game of Battleship ends in a tie, but whatever prompted that result multiple times left both of them satisfied, which was more than good enough for me.