In honor of the season I wanted to go back to a story that has become the stuff of legend in our family.Christmas has been a time of joy in our household but not without its, shall we say, traumatic moments. Our three older boys were about eight, six and four when the infamous incident took place.
My son Matthew wrote a description of the incident:
Housework was a charged topic at our house. The housework struggle was cyclical. It went something like this: we would become lazy and would perform our duties with less and less reliability. Mom picked up more and more slack (and toys, food, clothes, etc.) Her quiet resentment began to boil until finally she exploded in some sort of irrational (as perceived by young boys) fury.
One such outburst occurred not long after Christmas one year. As usual Christmas had been spectacular. Santa had provided a wonderland of action figures, sports equipment, and brilliantly shining cities of Lego blocks. We feasted our fancies on these newfound delights, playing for hours on end without a care in the world. The house was left in shambles each night before we went to bed. Magically the next morning we would find our toys neatly displayed and put in order.
I’m not sure which morning it occurred, but some days after Christmas while all were still on vacation from school, we came down to our neatly arranged battleground only to hear Dad deny us access to it. “You boys need to play outside for an hour or so to give Mom a break.” I remember there was no snow on the ground that year. It was unusually warm for Michigan. Eventually, however, we grew tired of the outdoor air and longed again for our Lego creations. As we ventured into the house, slightly before our sentence was up, we snuck into the family and discovered…terror! There before our shining eyes was decimation so complete that we could scarcely comprehend what supernatural force had invaded our house during our absence. Our toys had been recklessly scattered everywhere. Couch cushions were overturned, Lego ships destroyed in what was sure to have been the bloodiest battle the galaxy had ever seen. We were stunned.
As I surveyed the scene, I could not conceive of what had happened. In my mind I replayed a number of possible scenarios replete with robbers, ghosts, goblins, and villains of every kind. Who could have done this?
Next week: The answer to The Christmas Mystery!!!
Ellen Toronto is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Spring, Texas and has been practicing since 1980. In 2017, she was elected a Fellow in Psychoanalysis by the American Psychological Association. In 2016, Dr. Toronto's practice was recognized as one of the top Ann Arbor Psychology practices. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Toronto is married to Robert Toronto, Ph.D., and together they have four sons and eleven grandchildren.