My best holiday ever
As I sit down to write this column, another Christmas holiday has just passed.
I didn't do anything special during the holiday.
I didn't go on vacation. I went to work on both days before and after Christmas. The office was dead quiet.
As usual, I spent several hours on Christmas Eve preparing my annual Christmas treasure hunt for my kids.
I went to bed long past midnight so I got up really late on Christmas morning.
My kids had fun with the treasure hunt while I was still sleeping.
In the afternoon after lunch, I went out for a walk by myself in the neighborhood.
It was cold, and again dead quiet. I could not see a living soul. I hadn't had a walk outside for a long time. It felt refreshing and good.
I didn't go out to a fancy restaurant or a party. I didn't have any expensive presents. None of these mattered.
I simply had a very peaceful, relaxed time which I enjoyed. That was really all I needed.
This Christmas holiday could be easily one just like any in the past, nothing extraordinary happened that it would easily slip from my memory.
But thanks to my kids, they made this year's holiday my best one ever. I know I will always remember it.
On the last school day before the winter break started, my nine-year-old daughter Amy brought home a poem she wrote for me as one of her Christmas presents.
Then in the evening, she also wrote a poem for her Dad, a poem for her brother and a poem for her Grandma.
I was so happy and proud of her for writing those poems. I gave her a journal as her poem book so she could keep the poems in one place.
Unbeknownst to me, this was just the beginning of her poetry fever.
Somehow, Amy and, under her influence, my 10-year-old son Andy both got caught by the poetry bug. They started to write poems together.
On Christmas Eve, the first no school day, they built a poetry fort in the corner of the play room.
They stick one side of a big towel in the door to hold it and another side on the sofa close to the door.
This served as a curtain.
They put a few pillows and towels on the floor. They hid themselves behind the curtain in that tiny corner for hours thinking and writing poems.
They were on a serious mission. They didn't allow anyone to look what they were doing.
They used a rhyming booklet, the Lucky Pocket Rhyming Dictionary, to help them brainstorm ideas and find rhyming words.
They scribbled their poems on sticky post-it notes first. Then they transferred them to the poem book.
Amy had a tiny bottle with candies shaped like pills. She called the candies her "thinking pills."
On the first day, they wrote more than 30 poems. Some of the poems are really good, by my layman's eyes. I cannot write so well myself.
They became two poets over night. I was excited, to say the least. I was kind of in shock.
I suggested that they should submit their poems to Woodbury Bulletin's monthly kids' section --Sprouts.
If they submit two poems a month, they could keep it going for a while. And hopefully they will continue writing poems that they can contribute on a regular basis.
For the next few days, Amy and Andy kept their poetry writing going back and forth.
So far, as I am finishing up this column on the night of Monday, Dec. 29, 2008, Amy and Andy have written more than 100 poems.
I should add, most of them are silly nonsense verses, some are Haiku.
Nothing could make me happier than seeing my kids so excited in their new poetry adventure and so productive in what they are doing.
I am also glad that they found something to do during this winter break that is so much fun and better than playing computer or Wii games.
My heart has been full of gladness and joy since my daughter showed me the poem she wrote for me on Dec. 23.
With so many poems my kids wrote in the last few days, they have really made this holiday the best and the most memorable one I have ever had in my life.
Here I would like to share this poem Amy gave me for Christmas:
By Amy Guo
My mom is the best mom you can meet.
She's the best when you eat.
She's the best when she gives you more.
She's the mom I adore.
She's the one who lets me play.
Look there she is on Christmas Day!
For more of Amy and Andy's poems, please read future issues of Sprouts in this paper.
I know I am far away from the "best mom" I should be. But I am glad my daughter says so. I was surprised by "She's the best when you eat."
Amy and I fight almost every day during meal time, because I make her to eat vegetables for every dinner which she doesn't want to.