The Gift of Laughter

“I want this,” said my son. He was marking off toys in a holiday catalog per a request from his grandmother.

“We can share it,” added the other.

“We can share the toys,” replied his brother, “but I’m not sharing underwear.”

“Fair enough,” I said.

And so it went, page by page, an item here, and an item there. One wanting. One sharing. Their list grew longer and their plans all the grander.

“This is too expensive,” said one. “But maybe Santa can bring it.”

“Maybe,” I said as I looked at the price tag. It was doubtful that Santa could swing it this year.

“I like this better,” he said.

“And there is a coupon,” said the other.

“What does Nana want?” they asked.

“I don’t know,” I answered. “I haven’t asked her yet.”

“We should probably find out.”

“I’ll look for something she might like,” said one.

“It can be from both of us,” said the other.

And so it went, page by page, an item here, and an item there. One pointing out things that others might like. One pointing out things that could be from the both of them.

By the time they were done the list of gifts to give far exceeded those to receive.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to get everything on the lists,” I told them.

And so they retraced their steps, page by page, and when they came to an item here and an item there, one would say, “I don’t really want this present.”

“I don’t want it either,” said the other, “but I think that Nana would love it.”

And soon the lists were one, and the boys were proud and happy.

“How is that?” asked my son.

“If we can’t buy it, we’ll make it,” added the other.

“Like an elf,” agreed his brother.

Then the catalog was closed and they went downstairs to play. The sound of laughter bounced recklessly up the stairwell. It was loud and it was sometimes sudden. It was a gift they didn’t know they were giving.

And it came from the both of them.

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