The Idea Maker

When I was little I combed the JCPenney catalog toy pages circling and writing my initials like I had an initial-circle-making disease.

When my kids were little Target sent out the coveted toy catalog. My kids followed the initial-writing, circle-making tradition making me not only proud but a gift-giving goddess. (How could you get it wrong? The circles! The initials!)

But somewhere in between ages of ten and 15 the Target catalog stops being helpful and mysteriously ends up going straight from the mailbox to it's very UNhelpful new place in the recycle bin.

And mama gets left on her own to figure it out.


The new magic-making, idea-generating booklet arrived in my mail stash last week.

A booklet so alluring every male in my household from the 13-year old all the way up to THE HUSBAND took their turn leafing through the glossy pages.

The circles and the initials were resurrected and I was left with pages of circled ideas.

So I waited until they were done with the circles. Until they had initialed and gone through front to back and back to front. Then I took that glossy publication with all of its brightly colored pictures as delicately as one takes an empty bottle from the baby that has gone to sleep. After which, I snuck away and began perusing their circles to begin my holiday list-making. Only to realize............... HOLY MOTHER OF ORANGE AND CAMO THIS CABELA'S/BASS PRO SHOPS CATALOG DOES NOT PLAY!

I was left slack jawed as I stared at their multiple circles. Multiple??? What in the name of Saint Peter would make you people think you are getting multiple items from this satanic-money-sucking booklet??

What happened to those adorable $15 finds you all used to circle?!?

Why are all the 15's in this new catalog followed closely BY A ZERO?!?!

What started as a gleeful and useful page-turner rapidly spiraled down to bile-swallowing, what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-do-now pity fest.

This was not an idea catalog after all. More of a fantasy-dream-creator. This was the JCPenney catalog if the Care Bear page didn't just show the newest Care Bear but also gave an option to travel to Care-A-Lot for a three-day, two-night vacation with your favorite Bear. And of course, if that had been an option, I WOULD HAVE CIRCLED IT.

Oh..... now I get it. I get why they all had goofy smiles on their faces as they thumbed through page after page. Even the clothing and shoe pages in this over-glossed baby had circles and initials on them. These males of mine left no stone unwished for. This was their ultimate-if-the-world-was-my-oyster circle making.

I'm certain my male family members don't expect to get all or even any of these things any more than I expected to have all of my circle-wishes granted when I was doing similar wishing.

It's just that - a wish list.

I mean, an expensive one, but a wish list all the same.

And since I'm not a genie, nor made of money, most of their items will be left as just that - wishes. Wishes that never make it to reality status.

And I'm okay with that cuz - mama needs shoes too, you know.

So - as we encroach the holiday season Dear Mamas, let them circle. Whatever the catalog, let them circle. Who cares if it's something you never intend to buy. Who cares if you already have their gift bought. Who cares if they circle 12 things and you have told them repeatedly that they only get one present.

There is no circling law.

Let's face it, if Zappos put out a Mama Catalog - would any of you out there have enough self control to just circle one practical pair of shoes?


Admit you would circle those cute boots on page 3 and the leopard print booties on page 6 and holy moly who knew your favorite brand of running shoes came in that color?!?! And again, you would circle.

Would you expect to get all nine pairs of shoes under the tree? No. You know the shoe fairy isn't real.

Let your kids (and your husband if need be) know that they can circle all they want. It doesn't mean they're going to get those things, it's just there to give you ideas. Or maybe Grandma gets an idea. Maybe aunt Jolene gets an idea... Maybe that gol dern expensive publication is like the Oprah of ideas.

"You get an idea and you get an idea and everyone gets an idea!!"

So let it be just that. An idea generator. A fun few minutes where your kid isn't on a screen and has an actual writing tool in his hand. And remember how fun it used to be to circle and initial because - you could.