Having secured our bounty, we returned home to find a wrapping paper explosion had devastated the front porch. Wading through ankle deep debris, we discovered the ladies had nary a clue. (Initial observations: a. I was just glad it did not happen on my watch, as it usually does and b. who is going to pick this up?)
Two little boys, with grins as wide as watermelons, unearthed themselves from the refuse. Seeing our faces aghast, they explained, "We were just playing trash man." Cole and his cousin, Sean, having arrived at the "landfill" were spreading their layer of trash.
As parents, we find ourselves faced with these moments, when we question the genetic anomalies that came together to form these beings called our kids and neurons that produce the choices that they make. Earlier in life, I probably would have recommended evisceration or at least solitary confinement, but realise now that these are opportunities for unstructured fun and learning.
As we played "trash man" in reverse, picking up the mess, they got a kick out the crushing noises I made compacting the colorful paper and cardboard. One man's trash is another man's treasured moment.