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Putting it into perspective

About four years ago, I wrote about how my nephew, then age 4, taught me a huge lesson during the holiday season. I came across the column last week and thought it was worth sharing the story again. It's a good reminder as we rush through these last two weeks of juggling sundry tasks to make Christmas, well, Christmas.

One night, my sister and I were shopping from store to store, crossing off items from our lists of "necessities." We had my nephew Greg with us, and we were in Target on Route 31 in Clay. As I passed my cell phone to my sister, it dropped to the floor, in pieces. I wasn't happy. Inevitably, our spree stopped short and we were back at the Great Northern Mall, where I waited, eh hem, patiently, at Verizon to replace my shattered device. After the unexpected and costly transaction, we made our way through the crowded parking lot, back to the car and drove home. On the way, my disgruntled conversation with Elaine must have gotten the best of my baby nephew, who was secure in his car seat, silently absorbing the swift change in mood.

"Tata?" (that's what he calls me).

"Yeah, Greg?"

"You shouldn't be mad," he told me. "You are loved."

Wow. He said it, with all the wisdom of a 4-year-old boy. My sister and I looked at each other, each feeling the about the size of a small child - but without the big words. He put Christmas - what it really is meant to be - back into our hearts and minds.

Why do we make things so complicated during what is supposed to be the most joyous time of year?

Greg's reminder made me realize just how simple it can be to find happiness. All the pressure, tight schedules and material gifts aside, the basic meaning of Christmas comes down to what matters most.

"You are loved."

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